A book that tries too hard....

This book was highly recommended on Amazon and since I take a keen interest in all things dealing with strategy, thinking about strategy, and thinking about how to think about strategy, I picked it up.

It was good but not great, offered some interesting insights, but no huge revelations, and overall didn't really wow me as much as I thought it would.

In the end, I would say I think the author tries too hard to take a good 100 page doctoral thesis and stretch it out to a 200 page book.

So, what insights does the book offer?  Well, the one that really caught my "hmmmm" was the critique on Clausewitz (cuz you know how I love me some Clausewitz) and how the binary model of Clausewitzian warfare is no longer really applicable.  Fortunately for this author he pays due homage to the masterpiece that is On War...unlike some other poltroons that I have critiqued, but he does raise some very fine points about how warfare is waged today within the overall context of waging war.  AND no, the two are not synonymous.

Mr. Simpson's primary point is that in a world of global media and interconnectedness, two parties waging war are not merely waging combat on each other, they are creating two different narratives of the conflict and then trying to sell them, as it were, to many different audiences, whether it's domestic populations, international organizations, or other countries.  This may seem intuitive on the surface, however, it is a subtle distinction lost on many Western militaries designed to smash the opponent and win military victories.  While this is indeed the job of military forces, in today's world, it's not enough. 

Witness the recent conflict between Hamas and Israel.  Hamas, a terrorist organization, labeled even by THIS administration as a terrorist organization, launches waves of rockets and missiles at Israel.  Israel uses its superior technology to shoot down these weapons, sparing their civilian population and launches a punitive expedition (my term, which I really like!) to wipe out these missile launchers, kill Hamas fighters and leaders, and send a political message to stop launching missiles into Israel. 

From a military point of view, this is a magnificent victory, the Israel Defense Forces protect their people and counter-attack against their enemies.  Sounds logical right?  BUT, in the weird world of leftist, socialist, terrorist loving politics of the UN and far too many useful idiots in America---ISRAEL is the aggressor bombing the poor, helpless Palestinian people.

Why is this so?  Messaging...and the West better wake the hell up because we are doing a horrible job defending Western Civilization and pointing out loud and clear what an evil Islamo-fascist groups like Hamas and ISIS murdering thugs are...but I digress.

Mr. Simpson makes some other interesting points that all orbit around this main thesis, but the book becomes somewhat repetitive and redundant and even the case study he uses seems somewhat contrived.

It was a good book, not as good as the recent work by Hew Strachan, but it has some valid points...fortunately I am good at skimming!