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Geoffrey Regan has a great writing style. Sarcasm combined with extensive research characterise his books, and this is no exception. This book actually precedes another of his books, titled 'Great Military Blunders' which I have already reviewed. This is because the two are in fact not strictly related. One is published by channel 4 and accompanies a great TV series, this book however is published by Guinness, and slightly older. I do not own the book which preceds this, but I don't need to, this book is individual and doesn't follow on from anything, therefore you don't need to have read any other books to understand it. The book has 4 chapters, followed by a long list of case studies. The writing is all to the point and nothing is too lengthy. Also, you may turn to any part of the book and simply read only the topic of interest, as it's broken down. The first chapter, 'Amicide - The gentle art of killing' is what I consider one of the most interesting. The word amicide is an American word which is another term for what many know as 'friendly fire', killing ones own men. Most of the blunders here are American, because as most will already know, the US has the biggest history of Friendly Fire. There are some interesting facts here, for example, during the Gulf War, 24% of American battle casualties - some 35 deaths - were caused by members of their own armed forces. Also, Britains biggest single loss of that war, two days before the end, was when British APCs were attacked by American A-10 Tankbuster aircraft, firing Maverick missiles, killing nine men and wounding seven. Other topics include 'Amphibious Operations', 'War in the air', and 'Sawdust Caesars'. The book is littered with quotes, which are separated form the main text in their own neat little boxes, with the author's analysis of what that person may have meant, or what can be concluded from th e statement. There are also lots of pictures, many of them paintings of battles, which usually are rubbished by the author's analysis of that battle which shows the painting's innaccuracies. The battles analysed in the 'Case Studies' section span the period from the Battle of Cannae (216 BC), to the Battle of Goose Green (Falklands War, 1982). More recent conflicts are analysed in other chapters, such as the Gulf War (1991). All in all, this book deserves 9/10, Geoffrey Regan's other book, Great Military Blunders, published by Channel 4, is in my opinion a 10/10 book. But this is mostly because I prefer to study more recent conflicts, which the latter book concentrates on more heavily. In terms of style and quality of content however, they are both great books.
Another sardonic compilation of some of the more regrettable military decisions (or lack thereof) of the last two thousand years, this book is well-researched, sharp as a button, and has a nice line in understated mockery.