The rhetorical formula is familiar: breathless paragraphs (a few of normal length followed by an ominous one-sentence kicker), interviews with odd and interesting experts (war heroes dying of cancer, special forces veterans who have seen it all, hyperkinetic journalists on the electronic warfare beat) and scads of seemingly recondite facts (e.g., the number of shells fired by the British against Egyptian forts in 1881). When applied to the topic of war, the result is a book that contains any number of inaccurate or sloppy generalizations (an F-117 with one bomb can supposedly do what it took 4,500 B-17s to do in World War II) about war's past and present and probably, therefore, about its future. U.S. soldiers in remarkably large numbers, however, are reading the book, which suggests two things: first, military people sense that some large change is afoot; second, the usual constellation of defense analysts has not yet characterized it very well.
Enjoy more high-quality articles like this one.
Become a subscriber.
- Paywall-free reading of new articles posted daily online and almost a century of archives
- Unlock access to iOS/Android apps to save editions for offline reading
- Six issues a year in print, online, and audio editions