Several noteworthy titles cover other aspects of warfare. Sun Tzu: How to Read the Art of War by Derek M.C. Yuen (Oxford Univ. Press, Oct.) revisits one of the classic works on military strategy and tactics. Yuen’s ambitious intent is to show that “what has been taught about Sun Tzu and Chinese strategic thought in the West is obsolete,” a goal with more than academic interest at stake for those who fear the U.S.’s next major military conflict will be with China. (For example, Christopher Coker in The Improbable War: China, the United States and the Logic of Great Power Conflict, OUP, Sept.). A more global perspective is afforded by A History of War in 100 Battles by Richard Overy (OUP, Nov.), which spans more than 3,000 years of violent conflict.
Nan Levinson’s War Is Not a Game: The New Antiwar Soldiers and the Movement They Built (Rutgers Univ. Press, Nov.) tells the story of Iraq Veterans Against the War, “disillusioned soldiers and marines who decided to become activists, focused on undermining the military from within.” The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil, and the Attack on U.S. Democracy by Peter Dale Scott (Rowman & Littlefield, Nov.), who is best known for his writings on the JFK assassination, argues that there’s a secret “deep state” at work in the U.S. that influences national policies, including our military strategies. James Risen exposes the hidden costs of war, governmental abuses of power, and their effect on our democracy in Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War (HMH, Oct.). And Unconditional Honor: Wounded Warriors and Their Dogs by Cathy Scott and Clay Meyers (Lyons Press, Nov.) explains how veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars have been helped by service dogs.
Predator: The Secret Origins of the Drone Revolution by Richard Whittle (Holt, Sept.) and Hunter Killer: Inside America’s Unmanned Air War by T. Mark McCurley with Kevin Maurer (Dutton, winter 2015) both examine the development and use of drones. Despite the perception that such weapons are the wave of the future, Michael Mayer takes a different position in U.S. Missile Defense Strategy: Engaging the Debate (Lynne Rienner, Oct.): against a “more advanced opponent with air defenses, they would be completely helpless.” Mayer also explores the question, “In this age of terrorism, irregular warfare, and asymmetrical attacks, why has the United States continued to invest in an expensive and complex ballistic missile defense system?” He focuses on the efficacy of such systems, a newsworthy issue given the use of Israel’s Iron Dome system against rockets launched by Hamas, and reveals that the “ ‘real world’ testing conducted on these systems is pretty limited... often fairly scripted and controlled.”