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Military Effectiveness
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Book description

This three-volume study examines the questions raised by the performance of the military institutions of France, Germany, Russia, the United States, Great Britain, Japan and Italy in the period from 1914 to 1945. Leading military historians deal with the different national approaches to war and military power at the tactical, operational, strategic, and political levels. They form the basis for a fundamental re-examination of how military organizations have performed in the first half of the twentieth century. Volume 1 covers World War I. Volumes 2 and 3 address the interwar period and World War II, respectively. Now in a new edition, with a new introduction by the editors, these classic volumes will remain invaluable for military historians and social scientists in their examination of national security and military issues. They will also be essential reading for future military leaders at Staff and War Colleges.

Reviews

‘Military Effectiveness is a first-rate historical analysis and commentary on the performance of nations at war in the most violent half-century in recorded human history. Drawing upon the considerable talents of such historians as Paul Kennedy, Holger H. Herwig, John Gooch, Earl F. Ziemke, Robert A. Doughty, Ronald Spector, Alvin D. Coox, MacGregor Knox, and Russell F. Weigley, Military Effectiveness offers a host of compelling … insights as to why ‘some military forces succeed, while others fail’.’

Jeffrey Record Source: Parameters

‘This is an ambitious project that seeks to examine the military effectiveness of Great Britain, the United States, France, Germany, Russia, Italy, and Japan during the two world wars and in the interwar period … The essays … provide a multitude of valuable insights and analyses, particularly on questions such as manpower and budgetary allocations that are sometimes overlooked in studies that deal mainly with operations. Much information is packed into this work that would require extensive reading in unfamiliar sources to obtain elsewhere … It is impossible in a short review to do justice to the subtlety and complexity of all of the essays. They are of a uniformly high standard.’

Paul G. Halpern Source: The American Historical Review

‘Military Effectiveness addresses its theme in a comprehensive framework … The familiar reviewer’s complaint about collective works, that they lack focus, can scarcely be applied here. These three volumes move toward their goal with the serried precision of the Queen’s Birthday Review. The coherence of Military Effectiveness is not achieved at the expense of individual contributions. Their overall quality is high enough that workaday scholars are as likely to consult specific essays as to make use of the work’s general lines of argument.’

Dennis E. Showalter Source: The Journal of Military History

‘As one can quickly determine from the scope, [this] is a work of great magnitude and potential … Academics using these studies will benefit from the explicit inclusion of the political level, while military professionals will profit from incorporation of the operational level rather than the former strategic-tactical construct of military studies. It is not often that one work can appeal to both audiences, and the editors are to be congratulated for adopting this schema … Its main value is that it represents the only single source of comparative studies that examine both the conduct of and preparation for war across seven cultures and over three decades that profoundly influenced the twentieth century … For the serious student of military affairs who wishes to tackle the entire series, the rewards will be in the insights gained from the almost limitless combinations one can use to structure the data.’

Harold R. Winton Source: The Journal of Military History

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