Understanding War: History and a Theory of Combat

Trevor Nevitt Dupuy, Author Paragon House Publishers $24.95 (312p) ISBN 978-0-913729-57-1
Until recently, as the author points out, American military thinkers have shown scant interest in working out a comprehensive theory of combat. Dupuy (Encyclopedia of Military History et al.), here develops an elaborate, quantified judgment model intended to represent real-life combat. It is both a model and a theory, and though lay readers will have a difficult time understanding its application, other sections of the book will prove enlightening. On the assumption that the fundamental features of combat have remained the same throughout history, Dupuy lists and expounds on what he calls ""the timeless verities of combat.'' He also summarizes and comments succinctly on the theories of Clausewitz, Jomini and Fuller, discusses Abraham Lincoln as military strategist and the importance of suppressive fire. Regarding the latter, he charges that the U.S. Army generally ignores the phenomenon in planning and preparation, whereas ``possibly the most significant aspect of Soviet military doctrine is its reliance upon the suppressive effect of firepower.'' Illustrations. (May 18)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1987
Release date: 10/01/1987
Hardcover - 312 pages - 978-0-85052-293-8
Hardcover - 331 pages - 978-0-9638692-7-2
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