Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on April 29, 2019
As a military historian/researcher (35 years with Robert Asprey) and a logistics engineer, I was curious to see if Hanson would be able to answer the question posed in his opening sentence: "How are wars won or lost?"

He does and did with excellent research, clear and concise writing, and by bringing to the reader's attention some very brash ideas that will make military men and women pause and rethink the dogmas they have been subjected to for their entire careers. There is one statement Hanson makes in the book that sends shutters through all training and doctrine empires of the combat services: "Prewar education, reputation, influence, and rank matter little when the enemy is gaining ground and very few know how to turn him back."

That alone needs to be reminder that the "mavericks" in times of combat may be better suited for "saving" a battle than those generals/admirals who spent much anguish pouring over plans drawn up years earlier, practiced and trained to death, and then only to have the "plan" completely disintegrate upon employment.

Hanson's book is not a quick read, but it is an important read. One will find him/herself underlining, making notes, checking his sources, and pouring over the bibliography for even more reading choices. Even though this book was published in 2013, it behooves those planning future engagements in the continuous Middle East wars, to read, re-read, and then read it again. I know I am going to because to this day I cannot figure out General Petraeus...before, during, and after the wars and commands he bore such heavy responsibility.
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