In This Review

A Very Short War: The Mayaguez and the Battle of Koh Tang
A Very Short War: The Mayaguez and the Battle of Koh Tang
By John F. Guilmartin, Jr.
Texas A&M University Press, 1995, 238 pp.

On May 12, 1975, shortly after the fall of Saigon, Cambodian communists seized an American merchant ship and ignited a brief, sharp clash with American marines, who came to the rescue a few days later. The author, a veteran U.S. Air Force search-and-rescue helicopter pilot and a distinguished historian of military technology, takes the Mayaguez episode and makes it into a case study on the impact of communications on warfare. The result is a brilliant and exceptionally clear tactical study that offers a point of departure for broader reflections on the nature of contingency and uncertainty in all military operations.