DIGITAL SOLDIERS

THE EVOLUTION OF HIGH-TECH WEAPONRY AND TOMORROW'S BRAVE NEW BATTLEFIELD

Hard on the heels of a widely publicized GAO report charging that the Pentagon oversold the high-tech weapons used during the 1991 Gulf War comes an informative, down-to-earth assessment of what arms the US military could and should bear in the years ahead. In providing a service-by-service rundown on the outlook for cyberwarriors, Dunnigan (coauthor of Victory at Sea, 1995, etc.) reviews the evolution of modern weaponry from the earliest missiles (rocks) and delivery systems (slings) through today's ICBMs and laser-guided ordnance. Along the way, he shows how development cycles have accelerated; where the widespread adoption of new arms (e.g., crossbows and muskets) once took centuries, radically different systems are now introduced every decade. The author also warns that the competence and training of troops remains a more decisive factor than their high-tech weapons (many of which are useless in venues like Somalia). In this monitory context, he argues that, despite the lack of a major conflict, another revolution in warfare is imminent, if not in progress. According to Dunnigan, its main elements could include: more effective communications that would allow front-line infantry to employ aircraft, armor, and artillery to better advantage; improved sensors able to make tactical missiles more lethal; thermal gunsights good enough to pierce the dark or smoke; computer- controlled robots; and so-called nonlethal weapons. In the meantime, the author notes, state-of-the-art technology not only permits substantive reductions in the crew requirements of naval vessels and aircraft but also threatens large nuclear-powered carriers. He goes on to conclude that funding is the sine qua non of advanced weaponry, cautioning that defense budgets historically have been a source of corruption and political infighting. An authoritative and enlightening survey of what the future might hold for those who engage in combat on America's behalf.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 1996

ISBN: 0-312-14588-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1996

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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