PositiveThe New York Times Book Review[Moyn] he takes the reader on an excruciating journey, in incisive, meticulous and elegant prose, about the modern history of making war more legal, and in effect sanitizing it so that it can continue forever ... Moyn puts the whole issue in a tough, pragmatic perspective ... The yearning to avoid war and yet make it more humane will therefore continue, rendering Moyn’s book timeless.
C J Chivers
PositiveThe New York TimesC. J. Chivers, a senior writer for The New York Times and a former Marine infantry officer, begins his new book with a description of an American weapon, equipped with GPS sensors and a guidance system, hitting \'precisely the wrong place\' and killing and mutilating a family of women and children on the Afghan steppe as a consequence. But Chivers’s narrative has only begun to slam you in the gut; later on, the author captures the psychological effect the errant bomb has on the Marines at the scene. Indeed, because of the way the stories and characters spool into one another with mathematical intensity, and the second-by-second in-your-face descriptions of prolonged battles from a sergeant’s eye view, The Fighters: Americans in Combat in Afghanistan and Iraq could be the most powerful indictment yet of America’s recent Middle East wars.
RaveThe Wall Street JournalThe Road Not Taken is an impressive work, an epic and elegant biography based on voluminous archival sources. It belongs to a genre of books that takes a seemingly obscure hero and uses his story as a vehicle to capture a whole era ... Mr. Boot’s full-bodied biography does not ignore Lansdale’s failures and shortcomings—not least his difficult relations with his family—but it properly concentrates on his ideas and his attempts to apply them in Southeast Asia. In Mr. Boot’s judgment, the American war there 'would have been more humane and less costly' if McNamara, Westmoreland and other American officials had taken his advice. The Road Not Taken gives a vivid portrait of a remarkable man and intelligently challenges the lazy assumption that failed wars are destined to fail or that failure, if it comes, cannot be saved from the worst possible outcome.
RaveThe Wall Street Journal...a brief but far-reaching book in which potted history is incisively deployed ... One of the many strengths of Destined for War is the restoration of the late Samuel Huntington’s 'Clash of Civilizations' theory, disparaged in the mid-1990s but subliminally gaining force by the day. Mr. Allison approvingly paraphrases Huntington’s notion that 'the Western myth of universal values' is 'not just naive but inimical to other civilizations, particularly the Confucian one with China at its center.'
Andrew J. Bacevich
MixedThe Wall Street Journal...a deft and rhythmic polemic aimed at America’s failures in the Middle East from the end of Jimmy Carter’s presidency to the present ... This is how the book goes. It sweeps you along, unless you are willing to stop and say: Hey, wait a minute, that’s not the whole truth. Nevertheless, there is wisdom aplenty in one of Mr. Bacevich’s key propositions, which is that in all the decades that the Americans sent troops to fight in the Middle East there was far too little appreciation of the region’s deeper problems.
Michael V. Hayden
MixedThe Washington PostHayden is at his best not when he is attacking or defending, but when he is simply explaining the challenge of an intelligence professional in the postmodern era ... This is a pessimistic book, but while policymakers tend to be optimists, intelligence agents trend toward the reverse. As former CIA director Robert M. Gates once said, when an intelligence analyst stops to smell the flowers, he quickly looks around for the hearse.