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A quick and dirty guide to war: Briefings on present and potential wars Paperback – 1986

4.1 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James Dunningan is an adviser and lecturer to the State Department, Army War College, National Defense University, CIA, and many other institutions. Author of the classic military manual, "How to Make War, "Dunnigan served as NBC's Gulf War analyst and is the author of fifteen books. He lives in New York City.

Austin Bay is a U.S. Army veteran, an acclaimed military historian and analyst, and a designer of war-game simulations. He writes a syndicated national security column and has appeared as a guest commentator on CNN, C-SPAN, Nightline and NPR.

Actor Stephen Hoye is a graduate of London's Guildhall and a veteran of London's West End. An award-winning audiobook narrator, he has won thirteen AudioFile Earphones Awards and two prestigious APA Audie Awards. --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 415 pages
  • Publisher: Quill; Updated ed edition (1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688062563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688062569
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,853,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on February 8, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
On their Strategy Page website, analyst James Dunnigan and (retired) Colonel Austin Bay state their mission: to view news as history. In this spirit they give us the fourth edition of A Quick and Dirty Guide to War.

It is a compilation on the many wars, conflict, tensions, and potential tensions around the world today. They provide the necessary history, the driving issues today, and a complete list of the various actors, state and non-state including people, political parties, "popular" movements, and terror and criminal organizations. Charts (in a uniform format) describe economic, political, and historical interest of the parties involved, near and far, as well as their ability to intervene. They follow these with predictions: not single predictions, but possible outcomes with ranges of probability. And their record on predictions, from the first three editions, is quite good.

Most readers (excluding perhaps professional analysts and foreign affairs experts) will find here much they have never heard of and much that was mentioned once or twice in the news years ago, but never given follow-up. For them--for us--this book is the cure for our popular education and haphazard news media.
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Format: Paperback
This is more than a book on weapons and wars. It is also one on strategy, politics, ideology and power. It concentrates on the military end but does not neglect all the accompanying subject matter.
Several of the conflicts are still ongoing - in fact almost all of them are: Sri Lanka, India-Pakistan, Burma, the almost endless conflicts in Africa (the Sudan and Zairre lead the pack with total deaths so far), the Mideast conflict. This is pre-breakup of the Soviet Union though that was strongly suggested.
He also discusses future possiblities of outbreaks, many of which are still pertinent today. What is missing is ideology, the driving force behind the greatest mass murders in human history - China, Russia, Germany, Zairre, Sudan, Rwanda...in some ways the problems are unsolvable, dependent upon geography and resource allocation. One only wishes that the book could be updated to the presetn.
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The Authors have a clear grasp of what is going on in the world and how we as a people are effected by the events all over the world. I started reading this series in the 1980's and found their predictions on where a war was going to break out to be on target about 80% of the time.

The author's cover the ethnic and historic causes of conflict a which group and where they are located and how they effect a conflict. They explain how certain thing will effect the way and reason for a conflict, like negative growth. After the quick history section they explain the events that could happen most likely to least likely. Some are chilling, see Russia, some are just eye opening, see Sudan.

In all this book is a good read for the Armchairs Strategist, the pacifist and a person who wants to join a NGO overseas. Reading it you get an idea of what the CIA is telling the Government. In other words BUY II!!!
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A Quick and Dirty Guide to War is an outstanding book that looks at the background of various possible major and minor areas of conflict around the globe with ample amounts of history and analysis. It and its subsequent updated editions do a fine job of rendering the background of various conflicts, including those with thousands of years of history in an understandable and often humorous manner.

In particular the book is very clever when it comes to listing the various participants and their goals "The U.S. wants a lot." and "Once again the U.S. is probably dreaming".

The parts that will probably interest readers the most are the outcome projections which are given in various percentage terms. I would advise readers to get the original 1985 edition and the most recent edition from 1988 to see how various situations and how they were projected have resolved themselves (or remained the same) over the course of nearly a quarter century.
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This is a book about future wars. Who will fight, where, over what, how it will probably turn out, and when it might happen, for fifty or more perpetual hots spots around the world. People fighting in the Balkans have been repeating the same war for 1300 years and nobody ever wins. Roughly the same for Iraq and Iran, England and France, France and Germany, Japan and Korea... you name it. Peace is only an interlude while the endless war sleeps for a while. It will break out again, in the same place, over the same issues, with the same results. It is only a matter of time.
I wish they had taught us about this in high school. Every American should read this book and keep it handy.
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Outstanding book on the theory and practice of War in the 21st Century. Always find books by James F. Dunnigan to be so finely written on military/political subjects to be of this very high quality. Some people may find the book boring due to it's charts and tables backing up his research, but he is much better than Nostradamus in predicting present and future world war/political trends.
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Format: Paperback
This book when I first read it as a young analyst seemed like fiction, but as the events in especially Africa have unfolded in the last decade, it seems now almost prophetic in its nature. I have read this text again and again, each time I extract something that is relevant today as well as possibilities for our world tomorrow. I also reccomend Race to the Swift, by Simpkin.
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