by James F. & Austin Bay Dunnigan ‧ RELEASE DATE: Jan. 16, 1992
A savvy, slick, and comprehensive overview of the Gulf War, from the authors of A Quick and Dirty Guide to War (1984). Dunnigan (coauthor, Shooting Blanks, p. 768, etc.) and Bay offer a wealth of fresh perspectives on the confrontation, commencing with an evenhanded evaluation of its ancient roots. Moving on to the casus belli, they review the industrial West's unwontedly cooperative response to Saddam Hussein's annexation of his tiny, oil-rich neighbor by force of arms. The stage thus set, the authors provide a perceptive audit of the logistics that put Saddam's occupation troops between Iraq and a hard place. They go on to deliver detailed briefings on the dramatic air and ground campaigns as well as background on how the two were integrated. Covered as well are largely overlooked naval operations that, among other fruitful outcomes, kept 17,000 Iraqi soldiers tied clown awaiting an amphibious invasion that never came. Along their frequently sardonic way, Dunnigan and Bay furnish large amounts of statistical data on orders of battle, plus illuminating rundowns on how the equipment, weapons, and tactics employed by both sides helped determine victory or defeat. Once the Soviet-tutored Iraqis lost their centralized communications system to aerial attacks, the authors point out, they proved comparatively easy pickings for coalition forces that had greater firepower as well as superior sensors--and access to intelligence from American satellites. Dunnigan and Bay also make responsible estimates of unreported desertion and casualty rates--e.g., pegging Iraqi KIAs at no more than 35,000. Nor do they neglect the home front, recalling with evident relish lawmakers' less than prescient predictions in the debate preceding hostilities, and the often inane commentary of TV's talking heads. A down-to-earth wrap-up: fine fare for general readers as well as armchair strategists.
Pub Date: Jan. 16, 1992
Page Count: 288
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1991
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