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Comparing earlier wars with contemporary “fights to the finish” allows Whitman to ruminate about the possibilities for restraint in war and to challenge international lawyers to develop a “law of victory” that would support agreement on who had won a war and what was gained as a result.
Boot's conclusions confirm that although guerrillas, insurgents, and terrorists have had their successes, the strong normally prevail over the weak. Invisible armies work best when they are able to build up visible political support and link up with (or become) even more visible conventional forces.
In narrating the history of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, Gordon and Trainor finish the job they started in Cobra II, their 2006 book on the origins of the Iraq war. Their Iraqi and American sources are extraordinary, allowing them to describe events with an enormous, and sometimes overwhelming, amount of detail.
This superb book is Kennedy’s best. His simple but striking proposition is that the Allied victory rested not only on the work of grand strategists in presidential cabinets and high military commands but also on the efforts of middle managers, such as the logisticians, engineers, and operational analysts who addressed the major obstacles to success.