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THE NEW RULES OF WAR

VICTORY IN THE AGE OF DURABLE DISORDER

Shadow wars, wars by proxy, wars in which the weak predictably beat the strong: This book isn’t pretty, but it’s necessary...

War is hell, especially when the rules of engagement change in bewildering ways, as former paratrooper and current National Defense University professor McFate (Deep Black, 2017, etc.) explores in this combat-tested book.

“Why has America stopped winning wars?” So asks the author, provocatively. Why indeed, given how much of our national treasure goes to the care and feeding of a behemoth war machine? The problem isn’t the military’s, strictly speaking, nor of party politics and its curious ways, though “Congress has been AWOL since the Truman administration.” No, the problem is an endemic American one that centers on “strategic incompetence,” the inability to understand the nature of war and the modern enemy: organizations that are stateless, without standing armies, insurrectionary, enjoying the support of at least a good percentage of the populace, and able to drift in and out of a fight. Against this, writes McFate, American military leadership has taken a Tom Clancy/Red Dawn view that we’re still up against the Soviet Union and its big tank armies—though eschewing the use of nuclear weapons, since gentlemen do not go tossing around atomic bombs in the age of mutually assured destruction. “Preparing for conventional war is unicorn hunting,” writes the author dismissively before proposing a different scenario without failure baked into the recipe. Some of the ingredients are controversial, including the notion that future wars will likely be waged by special forces and mercenary armies, which, though carrying ugly connotations, are more cost-effective than standing national armies. McFate occasionally wanders into odd territory, including the notion that “deep states” will be responsible for world disorder as the nation-states of old fade away. However, it’s not far-fetched to believe, as he does, that “the double helix of corporations and politicos forms the DNA of America’s power structure” and that such elements have a way of fighting for themselves rather than the common good.

Shadow wars, wars by proxy, wars in which the weak predictably beat the strong: This book isn’t pretty, but it’s necessary reading for the strategically inclined.

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-284358-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Awards & Accolades

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller


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  • National Book Award Finalist

Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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NIGHT

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

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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