A soldier’s review of ON WAR

Derek Thornton, a 20-year veteran of the Mississippi National Guard, reviews William S. Lind’s ON WAR:

been deployed to Iraq twice, I naturally retain much interest in
events in the Middle East, especially Iraq. Before my first
deployment, I was a true believer in “nation building”, the
ascendancy of democracy and the superiority of the U.S. military.
Such is no longer the case. By my second deployment, the first two
were at the back of any priority list and I concentrated on training
my fellow soldiers so that we could all just come back alive. I still
thought the U.S. military was the best, but had niggling doubts due
to our inability to truly defeat our foe. With recent events and ISIS
rolling over the sham of a nation we left behind in Iraq and the
constant destabilization of states in the region by our own
governments backing, I was coming to a lot of conclusions. This book
showed me that those conclusions had already been reached long before
they started crystallizing in my mind….

cannot stress [enough] the importance of reading this book. We continue to
repeat the mistakes of the past again and again. We need a new way
forward to meet the coming challenges.

I think it is very important to observe that while the politicians and the military-industrial complex may be dubious about the 4GW framework (about which more later today), the soldiers and Marines who have been deployed and possess actual combat experience tend to intuitively grasp its relevance. For those who are particularly interested in gaining a more complete understanding of 4GW and its implication for the 21st century, you may wish to obtain a copy of the lecture that started it all in 1988, prior to the famous article that was simultaneously published in the Marine Corps Gazette and Military Review.

Fortunately, then-Major Greg Thiele, USMC, had the foresight to video a subsequent repeat of that first lecture, called The Four Generations of Modern War, given extemporaneously at Quantico to a group of USMC officers, which he graciously sent me a few weeks ago. I transcribed the lecture, edited it to correct a minor historical infelicity or two – it was indeed General Weygand, and not Gamelin, with whom Churchill was meeting in June 1940 – and we are now making the combined audio/ebook available exclusively from the Castalia House store for $3.99. This, and other forthcoming audiobooks will not be available on Audible for the time being because we intend to keep our audiobook prices considerably lower than Audible insists on charging.

However, please keep in mind two things. First, the audio quality is not what you’d get in a studio. Thanks to Vidad cleaning it up, you will have no problem understanding any of it, but it is a live speech and not a studio-recorded narration. Second, if you are a newsletter subscriber, you will have the opportunity to obtain it free in the future as part of our New Release program, so you may want to keep that in mind.