The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War

Fred M Kaplan, Author
Fred Kaplan. Simon & Schuster, $28 (352p) ISBN 978-1-4516-4263-6
Reviewed on: 01/28/2013
Release date: 01/01/2013
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4516-4266-7
Paperback - 418 pages - 978-1-4516-4265-0
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Despite advances in military technology, American military strategy had failed to keep pace with the realities of modern warfare and its aftermath. General David Petraeus and others recognized an immediate need for new tactics to combat insurgencies like those rising in the Middle East and, drawing on concepts that often had little to do with weaponry, they developed a more thoughtful and integrated approach. Here, Kaplan (The Wizards of Armageddon) charts the evolution of this new philosophy, drawing from personal interviews, meeting notes, and a litany of sources to provide an illuminating and frequently infuriating examination of how the US views warfare. Measured and meticulous, Kaplan's account is informative, detail-laden, and tempered by sharp analysis. Those hoping for insight into Petraeus's fall from grace and subsequent resignation will likely end up disappointed; it's addressed in a postscript but not given much time. However, for readers interested in military history, strategy, as well as the inner machinations of military politics will find a lot to chew on in this lengthy study. 16p b&w insert. (Jan)
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