For an elite team of SEALs, the mission seemed straightforward enough: take control of a towering 10,240-foot mountain peak called Takur Ghar. Launched as part of Operation Anaconda–a hammer-and-anvil plan to smash Taliban al Qaeda in eastern Afghanistan –the taking of Takur Ghar would offer U.S. forces a key strategic observation post. But the enemy was waiting, hidden in a series of camouflaged trenches and bunkers–and when the Special Forces chopper flared on the peak to land, it was shredded by a hail of machine-gun, small arms, and RPG rounds. A red-haired SEAL named Neil Roberts was thrown from the aircraft. And by the time the shattered helicopter crash-landed on the valley floor seven miles away, Roberts’s fellow SEALs were determined to return to the mountain peak and bring him out–no matter what the cost.
Drawing on the words of the men who were there–SEALs, Rangers, medics, combat air controllers, and pilots–this harrowing true account, the first book of its kind to chronicle the battle for Takur Ghar, captures in dramatic detail a seventeen-hour pitched battle fought at the highest elevation Americans have ever waged war. At once an hour-by-hour, bullet-by-bullet chronicle of a landmark battle and a sobering look at the capabilities and limitations of America’s high-tech army, Roberts Ridge is the unforgettable story of a few dozen warriors who faced a single fate: to live or die for their comrades in the face of near-impossible odds.
From the Hardcover edition.
As with other classics, many of its themes are timeless and quotations from the work can be meaningful apart from the thousands of years which separate us from the time and place of its creation.
The present work is a new edition based on the original translation of James Legge. The 19th century English prose of Legge is awkward to our modern ears, and slows down our reading and appreciation of this classic.
The Art of War is not a long book, but historically it has always been sold along with hundreds of pages of introduction, commentary, and analysis. More often than not that commentary itself is hard to understand, as much of it is hundreds or thousands of years old, and translated into the same awkward English prose.
This modern edition is meant to communicate the authentic essence and meaning of this work in modern, accessible English prose, focusing only on what can be clearly conveyed and understood, and jettisoning the rest.
Beevor's latest book Ardennes 1944: The Battle of the Bulge is now available from Viking Books
Historians and reviewers worldwide have hailed Antony Beevor's magisterial Stalingrad as the definitive account of World War II's most harrowing battle.
In August 1942, Hitler's huge Sixth Army reached the city that bore Stalin's name. In the five-month siege that followed, the Russians fought to hold Stalingrad at any cost; then, in an astonishing reversal, encircled and trapped their Nazi enemy. This battle for the ruins of a city cost more than a million lives. Stalingrad conveys the experience of soldiers on both sides, fighting in inhuman conditions, and of civilians trapped on an urban battlefield. Antony Beevor has itnerviewed survivors and discovered completely new material in a wide range of German and Soviet archives, including prisoner interrogations and reports of desertions and executions. As a story of cruelty, courage, and human suffering, Stalingrad is unprecedented and unforgettable.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
From the bestselling author and master of narrative nonfiction comes the enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania
On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack.
Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.
It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love.
Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history.
The Proud Tower, the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Guns of August, and The Zimmerman Telegram comprise Barbara W. Tuchman’s classic histories of the First World War era
In this landmark, Pulitzer Prize–winning account, renowned historian Barbara W. Tuchman re-creates the first month of World War I: thirty days in the summer of 1914 that determined the course of the conflict, the century, and ultimately our present world. Beginning with the funeral of Edward VII, Tuchman traces each step that led to the inevitable clash. And inevitable it was, with all sides plotting their war for a generation. Dizzyingly comprehensive and spectacularly portrayed with her famous talent for evoking the characters of the war’s key players, Tuchman’s magnum opus is a classic for the ages.
Praise for The Guns of August
“A brilliant piece of military history which proves up to the hilt the force of Winston Churchill’s statement that the first month of World War I was ‘a drama never surpassed.’”—Newsweek
“More dramatic than fiction . . . a magnificent narrative—beautifully organized, elegantly phrased, skillfully paced and sustained.”—Chicago Tribune
“A fine demonstration that with sufficient art rather specialized history can be raised to the level of literature.”—The New York Times
“[The Guns of August] has a vitality that transcends its narrative virtues, which are considerable, and its feel for characterizations, which is excellent.”—The Wall Street Journal
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Until the war in Iraq, Special Forces were the military’s counterinsurgency experts. Their specialty was going behind enemy lines and training insurgent forces. In Afghanistan, they toppled the Taliban by transforming Northern Alliance fighters into cohesive units. But since that time, Special Forces units have focused on offensive raids.
With time running short, the Green Berets have now gone back to their roots.
Award-winning journalist Kevin Maurer traveled with a Special Forces team in Afghanistan, finding out firsthand the inside story of the lives of this elite group of highly trained soldiers. He witnessed the intense brotherhood, the rigorous selection process, and the arduous training that makes them the best on the battlefield. Here, Maurer delivers a compelling account of modern warfare and of a fighting force that is doing everything in its power to achieve victory.
Today, hundreds of military cemeteries spread across the fields of northern France and Belgium contain the bodies of millions of men who died in the “war to end all wars.” Can we ever avoid repeating history?
The ‘Great War’, from July 1914 to November 1918, was without parallel. It brought to an end four dynasties, ignited revolution, and forged new nations. It introduced killing on an unprecedented scale, costing an estimated nine million lives. It was the war that destroyed any notion of romance or chivalry in battle; it pulled in combatants from nations across the globe and shattered them, body and mind.
The War involved all of the world’s great powers – the Central Powers, dominated by Germany and Austria-Hungary; the Triple Entente, lead by Britain, France and Russia; and America. World War One: History in an Hour explains the unprecedented battles on land, sea and in the air and describes the Home Front, espionage, and the politics behind them. This, for the first time in history, was ‘total war’.
Love history? Know your stuff with History in an Hour...
Latin for “Of Their Own Accord”
The 75th Ranger Regiment’s Motto
Army Rangers are not born. They are made. The modern 75th Ranger Regiment represents the culmination of 250 years of American soldiering. As a fighting force with our nation’s oldest and deepest tradition, the Regiment traces its origins to Richard Rogers’s Rangers during the prerevolutionary French and Indian War, through the likes of Francis Marion and John Mosby, to the five active Ranger battalions of the Second World War, and finally, to the four battalions of the current Ranger regiment engaged in modern combat.
Granted unprecedented access to the training of this highly restricted component of America’s Special Operations Forces in a time of war, retired Navy captain Dick Couch tells the personal story of the young men who begin this difficult and dangerous journey to become Rangers. Many will try, but only a select few will survive to serve in the 75th Ranger Regiment. Sua Sponte follows a group of these aspiring young warriors through the crucible that is Ranger training and their preparation for direct-action missions in Afghanistan against America’s enemies, anywhere, any time, and under any conditions.
Jesse Ventura reviews Major General Butler’s original writings and brings them up to date, relating them to our current political climate. Butler was a visionary in his day, and Ventura works to show how right he was and how wrong our current democracy is. Read for the first time Butler’s words with Ventura’s witty, yet insightful spin on this relevant work that will appeal not only to military historians, but also to those interested in the state of our country and the entire world.
Mao Zedong used it to defeat Chiang Kai-shek. Colin Powell thinks every US soldier should be familiar with its principles. New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick built a football dynasty out of lessons learned within its pages. Even Gordon Gekko and Tony Soprano are fans.
In the twenty-five hundred years since it was composed, The Art of War has been applied to just about every field of human endeavor. Sun Tzu’s shrewd advice is indispensible to anyone seeking to gain an advantage over an opponent.
It explains the underlying truths necessary for a full understanding of Musashi's message for warriors. The result is an enthralling book on martial strategy that combines the instincts of the warrior with the philosophies of Zen Buddhism, Shintoism, Confucianism and Taoism. It is a crucial book for every martial artist to read and understand.
Like the original, this classic book of strategy is divided into five sections. The Book of Earth lays the groundwork for anyone wishing to understand Musashi's teachings; the Book of Water explains the warrior's approach to strategy; the Book of Fire teaches fundamental fighting techniques based on the Earth and Water principles; the Book of Wind describes differences between Musashi's own martial style and the styles of other fighting schools; while the Book of No-thing describes the "way of nature" as understood through an "unthinking" existing preconception.
Famed martial artist and bestselling author Stephen Kaufman has translated this classic without the usual academic or commercial bias, driving straight into the heart of Musashi's martial teachings and interpreting them for his fellow martial artists. The result is an enthralling combination of warrior wisdom and philosophical truths that Musashi offered to other warriors who wished to master the martial way of bushido.
Victory Point reveals the complete, as-yet untold, story of Operation Red Wings (often mis-referenced as "Operation Redwing"), and the follow-on mission, Operation Whalers. Together, these two U.S. Marine Corps operations (that in the case of Red Wings utilized Navy SEALs for its opening phase) unfurl not as a mission gone terribly wrong, but of a complex and difficult campaign that ultimately saw the demise of Ahmad Shan and his small army of barbarous fighters.
Due to the valor, courage, and commitment of the 2nd Battalion of the 3rd Marine Regiment in the summer of 2005, Afghanistan was able to hold free elections that Fall. Here is the inspiring true account of heroism, duty, and brotherhood between Marines fighting the War on Terror.
On August 5, 1942, giant pillars of dust rose over the Russian steppe, marking the advance of the 6th Army, an elite German combat unit dispatched by Hitler to capture the industrial city of Stalingrad and press on to the oil fields of Azerbaijan. The Germans were supremely confident; in three years, they had not suffered a single defeat.The Luftwaffe had already bombed the city into ruins. German soldiers hoped to complete their mission and be home in time for Christmas.
The siege of Stalingrad lasted five months, one week, and three days. Nearly two million men and women died, and the 6th Army was completely destroyed. Considered by many historians to be the turning point of World War II in Europe, the Soviet Army’s victory foreshadowed Hitler’s downfall and the rise of a communist superpower.
Bestselling author William Craig spent five years researching this epic clash of military titans, traveling to three continents in order to review documents and interview hundreds of survivors. Enemy at the Gates is the enthralling result: the definitive account of one of the most important battles in world history. It became a New York Times bestseller and was also the inspiration for the 2001 film of the same name, starring Joseph Fiennes and Jude Law.
In 1914 the world changed. Europe’s great powers were dragged, one by one, into a war by Serbian conflict which affected very few of them directly. At least it would resemble the short sharp battles of the previous century, many thought – fought with military bands, horsemen, and swift victories. But 1914 proved to be different, a watershed, as old notions of war were trampled in the mud.
‘1914: History in an Hour’ is the indispensable overview of the year that marked the end of the Belle Époque and the shocking birth of modern mechanised warfare. It became a war of unimaginable horror, fought with terrifying new weapons that produced death on an industrial scale, a war that involved so many nations and reached into the fabric of their societies. 1914 shaped the First World War, and the years beyond.
This deluxe edition of this classic work, includes a 21st century study guide filled with practices and exercises that will help you dig deep into the inherent wisdom of this powerful text.
From Robert Leckie, the World War II veteran and New York Times bestselling author of Helmet for My Pillow, whose experiences were featured in the HBO miniseries The Pacific, comes this vivid narrative of the astonishing six-month campaign for Guadalcanal.
From the Japanese soldiers’ carefully calculated—and ultimately foiled—attempt to build a series of impregnable island forts on the ground to the tireless efforts of the Americans who struggled against a tenacious adversary and the temperature and terrain of the island itself, Robert Leckie captures the loneliness, the agony, and the heat of twenty-four-hour-a-day fighting on Guadalcanal. Combatants from both sides are brought to life: General Archer Vandegrift, who first assembled an amphibious strike force; Isoroku Yamamoto, the naval general whose innovative strategy was tested; the island-born Allied scout Jacob Vouza, who survived hideous torture to uncover the enemy’s plans; and Saburo Sakai, the ace flier who shot down American planes with astonishing ease.
Propelling the Allies to eventual victory, Guadalcanal was truly the turning point of the war. Challenge for the Pacific is an unparalleled, authoritative account of this great fight that forever changed our world.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
This new edition takes account of the expanding literature in the field of intelligence and deals with the consequences for intelligence of vast recent changes in telecommunication and computer technology the new "information age." It also reflects the world's strategic changes since the end of the Cold War. This landmark book provides a valuable framework for understanding today's headlines, as well as the many developments likely to come in the real world of the spy.
From the Paperback edition.
• Poisonous snakes and lizards
• Edible plants
• Cloud formations as foretellers of weather
• And more!
With detailed photographs and illustrations and an extensive set of appendices, U.S. Army Survival Manual is your ultimate guide to survival in all conditions and environs.
His first non-fiction book, Submarine, captured the reality of life aboard a nuclear warship. Now, the #1 bestselling author of Clear and Present Danger and Without Remorse portrays today's military as only army personnel can know it.
With the same compelling, you-are-there immediacy of his acclaimed fiction, Tom Clancy provides detailed descriptions of tanks, helicopters, artillery, and more -- the brilliant technology behind the U. S. Army. He captures military life -- from the drama of combat to the daily routine -- with total accuracy, and reveals the roles and missions that have in recent years distinguished our fighting forces.
Armored Cav includes:
Descriptions of the M1A2 Main Battle Tank, the AH-64A Apache Attack Helicopter, and more
An interview with General Frederick Franks
Strategies behind the Desert Storm account
Exclusive photograph, illustrations and diagrams
PLUS: From West Point cadet to Desert Storm commander . . . an interview with a combat cavalry officer on the rise.
The Japanese defeats at Midway and Guadalcanal decided the outcome of the Pacific War. Guadalcanal was the classic three-dimensional campaign. On land, at sea, and in the air, fierce battles were fought with both sides stretching their supplies and equipment to the breaking point. The campaign lasted six months, involved nearly one million men, and stopped Japanese expansion in the Pacific.
When the campaign began on August 7, 1942, no one on either side quite knew how to conduct it, as Eric Hammel shows in this masterly account. Guadalcanal: Starvation hand corrects numerous errors and omissions in the official records that have been perpetuated in all the books previously published about the campaign. Hammel also draws on the recollections of more than 100 participants on both sides, especially the enlisted men at the sharp end. Their words bring us into the heart of the battle and portray the fighting accurately, realistically, andvery powerfully.Guadalcanal: Starvation Island follows the men and the commanders of this decisive World War II campaign in an integrated, brilliantly told narrative of the desperate struggle at sea, on land, and in the air.
Praise for Guadalcanal: Starvation Island and Eric Hammel
“A comprehensive history of the Guadalcanal Campaign . . . [and] a well‑balanced account. Well written and fast moving.” —Marine Corps Gazette
“Hammel has written the most comprehensive popular account to date . . . and exposes controversial aspects often passed over,” —Publishers Weekly
“Hammel takes the reader behind the scenes and details how decisions were made . . . and how they impacted on the troops carrying them out. He tells the story in a very human way.” —Leatherneck Magazine
“A splendid record of this decisive campaign. Hammel offers a wealth of fresh material drawn from archival records and the recollections of 100‑odd surviving participants. . . . A praiseworthy contribution to Guadalcanal lore.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Hammel’s ability to reveal both the immediacy and the humanity of war without judgment or bias makes all his books both readable and scholarly. —San Francisco Chronicle“Hammel does not write dry history. His battle sequences are masterfully portrayed. —Library Journal
This is the only contemporary edition of the classic Lionel Giles translation to contain all of the translator's original notes, to help you better understand Sun Tzu's powerful maxims and apply them in your daily life. John Minford's foreword brings insights to this classic text and its timeless relevance to the modern world.
BILINGUAL EDITION: COMPLETE CHINESE AND ENGLISH TEXT
This edition also marks the first time Giles' translation has been converted to Hanyu Pinyin—the standard Chinese romanization system. Additionally, the book contains the full Chinese language version of the text, along with Giles' extensive notes, with their original Chinese text references to the historical Chinese commentators, making this edition a treasure to military scholars, martial artists, and those planning to use Sun Tzu's strategies to conquer the business world.
Sun Tzu's book will arm you with the knowledge that has allowed those who have studied this classic to gain victory—and often, total domination—over those who remain ignorant of its sage advice.
In 1968, at the age of twenty-three, Karl Marlantes was dropped into the highland jungle of Vietnam, an inexperienced lieutenant in command of a platoon of forty Marines who would live or die by his decisions. Marlantes survived, but like many of his brothers in arms, he has spent the last forty years dealing with his war experience. In What It Is Like to Go to War, Marlantes takes a deeply personal and candid look at what it is like to experience the ordeal of combat, critically examining how we might better prepare our soldiers for war. Marlantes weaves riveting accounts of his combat experiences with thoughtful analysis, self-examination, and his readings—from Homer to The Mahabharata to Jung. He makes it clear just how poorly prepared our nineteen-year-old warriors are for the psychological and spiritual aspects of the journey.
Just as Matterhorn is already being acclaimed as acclaimed as a classic of war literature, What It Is Like to Go to War is set to become required reading for anyone—soldier or civilian—interested in this visceral and all too essential part of the human experience.
As a naval commander, Admiral Nelson was an inspiring hero, honored to this very day as the essence of bravery. In his private life, he was a cad, conducting a scandalous openly adulterous affair with Lady Emma Hamilton and humiliating her cuckold husband.
In victories at sea and in the boudoir, Horatio Nelson was an indomitable conqueror deserving of his immortal reputation. He was the sworn enemy of Napoleon and the French, and considered himself a failure if a single enemy ship escaped destruction. His strategies to achieve this end are still studied and marveled at.
Ernle Bradford, an enthusiastic sailor and expert in navel topics, brilliantly recounts the events of Nelson’s life and details the high-seas warfare of this thrilling period in British history.
Beyond spellbinding depictions of pivotal confrontations at El Alamein, Monte Cassino, and the Ardennes forest, author-scholar Terry Brighton illuminates the personal motivations and historical events that propelled the three men's careers: how Patton's, Montgomery's, and Rommel's Great War experiences helped to mold their style of command—and how, exactly, they managed to apply their arguably megalomaniacal personalities (and hitherto unrecognized political acumen and tact) to advance their careers and strategic vision.
Opening new avenues of inquiry into the lives and careers of three men widely profiled by scholars and popular historians alike, Brighton definitively answers numerous lingering and controversial questions: Was Patton really as vainglorious in real life as he was portrayed to be on the silver screen?—and how did his tireless advocacy of "mechanized cavalry" forever change the face of war? Was Monty's dogged publicity-seeking driven by his own need for recognition or by his desire to claim for Britain a leadership role in postwar global order?—and how did this prickly "commoner" manage to earn affection and esteem from enlisted men and nobility alike? How might the war have ended if Rommel had had more tanks?—and what fundamental philosophical difference between him and Hitler made such an outcome virtually impossible?
Abetted by new primary source material and animated by Terry Brighton's incomparable storytelling gifts, Patton, Montgomery, Rommel offers critical new interpretations of the Second World War as it was experienced by its three most flamboyant, controversial, and influential commanders—and augments our understanding of each of their perceptions of war and leadership.
From the Hardcover edition.
Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (History)
The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 is historian Christopher Clark’s riveting account of the explosive beginnings of World War I.
Drawing on new scholarship, Clark offers a fresh look at World War I, focusing not on the battles and atrocities of the war itself, but on the complex events and relationships that led a group of well-meaning leaders into brutal conflict.
Clark traces the paths to war in a minute-by-minute, action-packed narrative that cuts between the key decision centers in Vienna, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Paris, London, and Belgrade, and examines the decades of history that informed the events of 1914 and details the mutual misunderstandings and unintended signals that drove the crisis forward in a few short weeks.
Meticulously researched and masterfully written, Christopher Clark’s The Sleepwalkers is a dramatic and authoritative chronicle of Europe’s descent into a war that tore the world apart.
Their names are forever linked in the history of the Civil War, but Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant could not have been more dissimilar. Lee came from a world of Southern gentility and aristocratic privilege while Grant had coarser, more common roots in the Midwest. As a young officer trained in the classic mold, Lee graduated from West Point at the top of his class and served with distinction in the Mexican–American War. Grant’s early military career was undistinguished and marred by rumors of drunkenness.
As commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, Lee’s early victories demoralized the Union Army and cemented his reputation as a brilliant tactician. Meanwhile, Grant struggled mightily to reach the top of the Union command chain. His iron will eventually helped turn the tide of the war, however, and in April 1864, President Abraham Lincoln gave Grant command of all Union forces. A year later, he accepted Lee’s surrender at the Appomattox Court House.
With brilliance and deep feeling, New York Times–bestselling author Gene Smith brings the Civil War era to vivid life and tells the dramatic story of two remarkable men as they rise to glory and reckon with the bitter aftermath of the bloodiest conflict in American history. Never before have students of American history been treated to a more personal, comprehensive, and achingly human portrait of Lee and Grant.
The perfect books for the true book lover, Penguin's Great Ideas series features twelve more groundbreaking works by some of history's most prodigious thinkers. Each volume is beautifully packaged with a unique type-driven design that highlights the bookmaker's art. Offering great literature in great packages at great prices, this series is ideal for those readers who want to explore and savor the Great Ideas that have shaped our world.
Offering ancient wisdom on how to use skill, cunning, tactics and discipline to outwit your opponent, this bestselling 2000-year-old military manual is still worshipped by soldiers on the battlefield and managers in the boardroom as the ultimate guide to winning.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
It’s as if Sun Tzu got a 21st-century do-over.
Author and illustrator of How to Be Interesting, Jessica Hagy is a cutting-edge thinker whose language—comprising circles, arrows, and lines and the well-chosen word or two—makes her an ideal philosopher for our ever-more-visual culture. Her charts and diagrams are deceptively simple, often funny, and always thought-provoking. She knows how to communicate not only ideas but the complex process of thinking itself, complete with its twists and surprises. For The Art of War Visualized, she presents her vision in evocative ink-brush art and bold typography. The result is page after page in which each passage of the complete canonical text (in its best-known Lionel Giles translation) is visually interpreted in a singular diagram, chart, or other illustration—transforming, reenergizing, and making the classic dazzlingly accessible for a new generation of readers.
Code of the Samurai is a four-hundred-year-old explication of the rules and expectations embodied in Bushido, the Japanese Way of the Warrior. Bushido has played a major role in shaping the behavior of modern Japanese government, corporations, society, and individuals, as well as in shaping modern Japanese martial arts within Japan and internationally.
The Japanese original of this book, Bushido Shoshinshu, (Bushido for Beginners), has been one of the primary sources on the tenets of Bushido, a way of thought that remains fascinating and relevant to the modern world, East and West. This handbook, written after five hundred years of military rule in Japan, was composed to provide practical and moral instruction for warriors, correcting wayward tendencies and outlining the personal, social, and professional standards of conduct characteristic of Bushido, the Japanese chivalric tradition.
With a clear, conversational narrative by Thomas Cleary, one of the foremost translators of the wisdom of Asia, and powerfully evocative line drawings by master illustrator Oscar Ratti, this book is indispensable to the corporate executive, student of the Asian Culture, martial artist, those interested in Eastern philosophy or military strategy, as well as for those simply interested in Japan and its people.
New York Times • Christian Science Monitor • NPR • Seattle Times • St. Louis Dispatch
National Book Critics Circle Finalist -- American Library Association Notable Book
A thrilling and revelatory narrative of one of the most epic and consequential periods in 20th century history – the Arab Revolt and the secret “great game” to control the Middle East
The Arab Revolt against the Turks in World War One was, in the words of T.E. Lawrence, “a sideshow of a sideshow.” Amidst the slaughter in European trenches, the Western combatants paid scant attention to the Middle Eastern theater. As a result, the conflict was shaped to a remarkable degree by a small handful of adventurers and low-level officers far removed from the corridors of power.
Curt Prüfer was an effete academic attached to the German embassy in Cairo, whose clandestine role was to foment Islamic jihad against British rule. Aaron Aaronsohn was a renowned agronomist and committed Zionist who gained the trust of the Ottoman governor of Syria. William Yale was the fallen scion of the American aristocracy, who traveled the Ottoman Empire on behalf of Standard Oil, dissembling to the Turks in order gain valuable oil concessions. At the center of it all was Lawrence. In early 1914 he was an archaeologist excavating ruins in the sands of Syria; by 1917 he was the most romantic figure of World War One, battling both the enemy and his own government to bring about the vision he had for the Arab people.
The intertwined paths of these four men – the schemes they put in place, the battles they fought, the betrayals they endured and committed – mirror the grandeur, intrigue and tragedy of the war in the desert. Prüfer became Germany’s grand spymaster in the Middle East. Aaronsohn constructed an elaborate Jewish spy-ring in Palestine, only to have the anti-Semitic and bureaucratically-inept British first ignore and then misuse his organization, at tragic personal cost. Yale would become the only American intelligence agent in the entire Middle East – while still secretly on the payroll of Standard Oil. And the enigmatic Lawrence rode into legend at the head of an Arab army, even as he waged secret war against his own nation’s imperial ambitions.
Based on years of intensive primary document research, LAWRENCE IN ARABIA definitively overturns received wisdom on how the modern Middle East was formed. Sweeping in its action, keen in its portraiture, acid in its condemnation of the destruction wrought by European colonial plots, this is a book that brilliantly captures the way in which the folly of the past creates the anguish of the present.
History has been kind to the American generals of World War II—Marshall, Eisenhower, Patton, and Bradley—and less kind to the generals of the wars that followed. In The Generals, Thomas E. Ricks sets out to explain why that is. In part it is the story of a widening gulf between performance and accountability. During the Second World War, scores of American generals were relieved of command simply for not being good enough. Today, as one American colonel said bitterly during the Iraq War, “As matters stand now, a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war.”
In The Generals we meet great leaders and suspect ones, generals who rose to the occasion and those who failed themselves and their soldiers. Marshall and Eisenhower cast long shadows over this story, as does the less familiar Marine General O. P. Smith, whose fighting retreat from the Chinese onslaught into Korea in the winter of 1950 snatched a kind of victory from the jaws of annihilation.
But Korea also showed the first signs of an army leadership culture that neither punished mediocrity nor particularly rewarded daring. In the Vietnam War, the problem grew worse until, finally, American military leadership bottomed out. The My Lai massacre, Ricks shows us, is the emblematic event of this dark chapter of our history. In the wake of Vietnam a battle for the soul of the U.S. Army was waged with impressive success. It became a transformed institution, reinvigorated from the bottom up. But if the body was highly toned, its head still suffered from familiar problems, resulting in tactically savvy but strategically obtuse leadership that would win battles but end wars badly from the first Iraq War of 1990 through to the present.
Ricks has made a close study of America’s military leaders for three decades, and in his hands this story resounds with larger meaning: about the transmission of values, about strategic thinking, and about the difference between an organization that learns and one that fails.
Snipers have a rich history. This fascinating book follows their tasks and techniques from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars through both World Wars, to the Korean War and Vietnam-the genesis of modern sniping-to the current conflicts in the Middle East. Also, readers will see how sniping has evolved on the civilian side in law enforcement. Readers will learn about the tools of the trade, but most importantly, they will hear from the experts themselves: military snipers, as well as civilian police and SWAT snipers. Capturing the suspense and action of the hunt, the words of these men draw readers into the close-knit, little-known world of men who need only one bullet to get the job done.
Thomas Barnett has the answers. A senior military analyst with the U.S. Naval War College, he has given a constant stream of briefings over the past few years, and particularly since 9/11, to the highest of high-level civilian and military policymakers-and now he gives it to you. The Pentagon's New Map is a cutting-edge approach to globalization that combines security, economic, political, and cultural factors to do no less than predict and explain the nature of war and peace in the twenty-first century.
Building on the works of Friedman, Huntington, and Fukuyama, and then taking a leap beyond, Barnett crystallizes recent American military history and strategy, sets the parameters for where our forces will likely be headed in the future, outlines the unique role that America can and will play in establishing international stability-and provides much-needed hope at a crucial yet uncertain time in world history.
For anyone seeking to understand the Iraqs, Afghanistans, and Liberias of the present and future, the intimate new links between foreign policy and national security, and the operational realities of the world as it exists today, The Pentagon's New Map is a template, a Rosetta stone. Agree with it, disagree with it, argue with it-there is no book more essential for 2004 and beyond.
Drawing on material available only since the opening of archives in Eastern Europe and Russia, as well as amazing new testimony from nearly a hundred separate witnesses from the period—Rees reexamines the key choices made by Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt during the war, and presents, in a compelling and fresh way, the reasons why the people of Poland, the Baltic states, and other European countries simply swapped the rule of one tyrant for another. Surprising, incisive, and endlessly intriguing, World War II Behind Closed Doors will change the way we think about the Second World War.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
On a summer day in 1914, a nineteen-year-old Serbian nationalist gunned down Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. While the world slumbered, monumental forces were shaken. In less than a month, a combination of ambition, deceit, fear, jealousy, missed opportunities, and miscalculation sent Austro-Hungarian troops marching into Serbia, German troops streaming toward Paris, and a vast Russian army into war, with England as its ally. As crowds cheered their armies on, no one could guess what lay ahead in the First World War: four long years of slaughter, physical and moral exhaustion, and the near collapse of a civilization that until 1914 had dominated the globe.
Praise for A World Undone
“Thundering, magnificent . . . [A World Undone] is a book of true greatness that prompts moments of sheer joy and pleasure. . . . It will earn generations of admirers.”—The Washington Times
“Meyer’s sketches of the British Cabinet, the Russian Empire, the aging Austro-Hungarian Empire . . . are lifelike and plausible. His account of the tragic folly of Gallipoli is masterful. . . . [A World Undone] has an instructive value that can scarcely be measured”—Los Angeles Times
“An original and very readable account of one of the most significant and often misunderstood events of the last century.”—Steve Gillon, resident historian, The History Channel