- Hardcover: 387 pages
- Publisher: Knopf; First Edition edition (October 28, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0375400532
- ISBN-13: 978-0375400537
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 85 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #280,430 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Intelligence in War: Knowledge of the Enemy from Napoleon to Al-Qaeda First Edition Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
According to Keegan (The First World War), there is a good reason why "military intelligence" is so often described as an oxymoron: inflicting and enduring destruction often has no room for reflection, just retaliation. But retaliation tends toward attrition, and attrition is expensive; thought, for Keegan, offers a means of reducing war's price, taking commanders and armies inside enemy decision-action loops, helping identify enemy weakness, warning of enemy intentions or disclosing enemy strategy. Keegan offers a series of case studies in the operational significance of intelligence, ranging from Admiral Nelson's successful pursuit of the French fleet in 1805, through Stonewall Jackson's possession of detailed local knowledge in his 1862 Shenandoah Valley campaign, to the employment of electronic intelligence in the naval operations of WWI and its extension and refinement during WWII. For that conflict, Keegan expands his analysis, discussing intelligence aspects of the German invasion of Crete, the U.S. victory at Midway and the defeat of the U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic. To balance an account heavily focused on technology, he incorporates a chapter on the importance of human intelligence in providing information on the Nazi V-weapons. Keegan concludes with a discussion of post-1945 military intelligence that stresses the difference between a Cold War in which the central targets of intelligence gathering were susceptible to concrete, scientific methods, and more recent targets that, lacking form and organization, require penetration through understanding. That paradigm shift in turn is part of Keegan's general argument that intelligence data does not guarantee success. This book shows that the British need not have lost on Crete; that the American victory at Midway was not predetermined. At a time when armed forces tout the "information revolution," Keegan writes in the belief that the outcomes of war are ultimately the result of fighting.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Results in war, in the last resort, are an affair of body, not mind; of physical force, not plans or intelligence." This is renowned military historian Keegan's analysis of 1942's Battle of Midway. Discounting the value of military intelligence is just one of the paradoxical conclusions drawn in the eight case studies comprising this work. With his usual shrewdness about the highly confusing world of war, Keegan subtly weaves into his narrative the disruptions that seem to hex intelligence collection and analysis. In only one case does Keegan grant primacy to a commander's use of intelligence--Stonewall Jackson's 1862 campaign in the Shenandoah Valley. In all of the other examples, Keegan ascribes the outcome to another factor: at Midway, it was luck; during the 1941 invasion of Crete, it was "berserk" German determination. Within each episode, Keegan uncovers a communication breakdown, an analytical mistake, or a tactical blunder that turned even golden military information to dross. Throughout, Keegan projects a deep empathy for battle victims, who were swept away by the thousands. This humane sensibility, on display in book after book, explains why the author is the most popular, and perhaps the best, contemporary writer of military history. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
In a series of case studies starting with the naval operations of Lord Nelson, Keegan argues: "Intelligence, however good, is not necessarily the means to victory; that ultimately, it is force, not fraud or forethought, that counts" (p. 334). Two of the most striking examples he uses are the battles of Crete in 1940 and Midway in 1942. At Crete, the British had accurate signals intelligence telling them what the Germans were going to do and they still lost. At Midway, the Americans had equally good information on what the Japanese intended, but random chance was the key to U.S. victory. The American planes that sank three of the four Japanese carriers were lost and found the enemy fleet by accident at a time when their defenses were ill prepared for another attack.
These arguments are important. We use this book at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College where I currently teach. Keegan's ideas are revisionist but also seem straight forward. The title is accurate. This book focuses only on military intelligence in war. The subtitle is a bit misleading. There is next to no mention of al-Qaeda in the book. Keegan is an exceptionally easy read, but he raises some significant questions which is always a good combination.
Keegan's book sparked some vigorously dissenting opinions on the value of his argument, as can be seen in other reviews. It has been noted before that Keegan's undoubted powers of description are sometimes stronger than his ability to interpret their meaning. To the extent that Keegan breaks no new intellectual ground in this book, those dissenting opinions are perfectly valid. The effect of "Intelligence in War" to strip away some of the mystique of intelligence in war is likely of value for the general reader, as opposed to the dedicated student of conflict or intelligence. His selected examples place intelligence firmly in context in the chaos that accompanies battle. His point, that intelligence can facilitate success but does not mandate it, may be far less obvious to the general reader than to the dedicated student.
Keegan's prose, as always, is imminently readable. His accounts of the Battle of the North Atlantic and of Crete, including his analysis of the outcomes, are superbly concise, with much nuance. Keegan includes an excellent selection of maps and photographs.
This book is recommended to the general reader looking for a entertaining discussion of just how intelligence can fit into the bigger picture in conflict. Dedicated students of intelligence in warfare will find more challenging fare elsewhere.
His point that intelligence is a tool and not a decisive victory is well made. As is his secondary point that covert action needs to be separated from intelligence gathering.
The only part I disagreed with was his analysis of subversion. He does a solid job analyzing the conflicts he already had, but failed to see the impact and effectiveness of subversion throughout the last 50 years. He honed his scope too thin to really see the impact of subversion (especially with the analysis being near its beginning).