Editor’s Shelf


From Parameters,  Spring 2006, pp. 118-19.


Although commercial publishers provide most of the books highlighted in this feature, we do receive a number of remarkable offerings from various centers, institutes, and individual authors. Such is the case with several of the books presented in this issue. The Combat Studies Institute (CSI) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, recently published An Army at War: Change in the Midst of Conflict edited by John J. McGrath. The book is the third in a series based on the proceedings of CSI’s annual military history symposium and provides readers with insight into how an Army at war is able to concurrently transform itself. The book explores such topics as maneuver warfare, asymmetrical operations, insurgencies, logistics, unit manning, and changes in doctrine. What makes this particular work unique is the inclusion of transcriptions of the question and answer periods following each panel presentation. This is a must-read for anyone concerned with the ability of the Army to transform while simultaneously fighting the Global War on Terrorism.

Likewise, the Center of Military History continues its prominent and important role in support of the defense establishment. Historical Perspectives of the Operational Art is an edited work by Michael D. Krause and R. Cody Phillips. The editors provide readers with an anthology detailing the origins and development of the operational level of warfare. The editors have amassed a marvelously diverse collection, ranging from David Chandler’s analysis of Napoleon’s Jena-Auerstadt campaign to John S. Brown’s exploration of the United States’ masterful success in the first Gulf War. Designed for both the student of military history and practitioners of the profession of arms, this work will provoke intense thought and study.

It is not often that we have the opportunity to recommend books on contemporary psychology to our readers. Fortunately, a three-volume set titled The Psychology of Resolving Global Conflicts: From War to Peace, recently published by Praeger Security International, affords that opportunity. The editors of the set, Mari Fitzduff and Chris E. Stout, have focused their efforts through the lens of psychology in an effort to explore the dimensions of human behavior in three distinct environments, each having immense applicability for today’s military professional: “Nature vs. Nurture” (Volume 1), “Group and Social Factors (Volume 2), and “Interventions” (Volume 3). Although the announced goal of the series is to provide “innovative ideas, provocative considerations, and useful beginnings for a better understanding of human behavior,” the real value for the military professional is the perspective each volume provides on such issues as warring, conflict, and peace. This set will make an invaluable contribution to the library of any military professional, defense intellectual, or academician concerned with the conduct of war, peacekeeping, or stability operations.

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The Routledge imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group continues its well-known and respected series on “Contemporary Security Studies” with the publication of Eric Terzuolo’s NATO and Weapons of Mass Destruction and Brian Rappert’s Controlling the Weapons of War. Both works offer practical analyses of contemporary threats and challenges to global security. Rappert examines the ethical and intellectual issues associated with attempts to place humanitarian limits on weaponry. He goes beyond the traditional analysis of arms-control measures and associated prohibitions to provide the reader with new classifications that aid in assessing the relative acceptability of the use of force. The Terzuolo book, on the other hand, addresses the “new threats” NATO faces in the post-Cold War era. The author presents his thesis as a first attempt to evaluate how a long-standing security organization like NATO has adapted to contemporary security challenges. Both of these books should appeal to students of military technology, arms control, international relations, and the growing threat posed by non-state actors.

For almost 60 years, the RAND Corporation has provided military and policy decisionmakers with effective solutions to the challenges facing America in times of peace and conflict. Following in that sterling tradition is the publication of Benjamin S. Lambeth’s latest work, Air Power Against Terror. The author provides readers with an analysis of the Bush Administration’s preparation for Operation Enduring Freedom—from the initial planning for the response to 9/11, to the attacks against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Lambeth’s insight into the enabling capabilities of US air power against determined foes in what can only be characterized as an extremely hostile environment leaves readers with a new understanding of the approach that America will use to counter such threats in the 21st century.

Traditionally, Parameters does not review second editions or reprints. There are, however, exceptions to every policy. Such is the case with the revised and expanded second edition of The Future of the Army Profession. This work is the follow-on to the previous research and study by Don M. Snider and Gayle L. Watkins, originally presented to the public in 2002. This new edition, edited by Colonel (Ret.) Lloyd Matthews, builds on the original research with renewed analysis and study, and couches the entire project in a totally new perspective based on the Army’s conduct of two major campaigns—Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq. These factors, along with the natural evolution associated with the military profession, dictated that Snider revise and update his work. This second edition extends the research associated with the Army’s role in the profession of arms, offering for the first time a basic mapping of military expertise, along with several new chapters on Army leaders, from captain to general, and their influences on the profession. Anyone associated with the Army and its status as a profession needs to read, study, and learn from this book, which is certain to become a classic.

Sins of commission, omission, and inadvertent oversight are all too common in literary work. It is now my solemn task to admit to such an error. In Robert Killebrew’s review of Andrew Bacevich’s book, The New American Militarism, in our Winter 2005-06 issue, the reviewer inadvertently characterized Dr. Eliot Cohen as an advocate for the use of force as a first resort in American foreign policy. Dr. Cohen has never advocated such a position, and the reviewer and Parameters regret and apologize for this mischaracterization. — RHT


For details on publishers and prices of books mentioned, see “Off the Press” in this issue or call Parameters at 717-245-4943 (e-mail: usarmy.carlisle.awc.mbx.parameters@mail.mil).


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Reviewed 9 February 2006. Please send comments or corrections to usarmy.carlisle.awc.mbx.parameters@mail.mil