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Anatomy of Victory: Why the United States Triumphed in World War II, Fought to a Stalemate in Korea, Lost in Vietnam, and Failed in Iraq

Caldwell, John D.

978 1 5381 1477 3
List price(s):
29.95 USD
19.95 GBP
27.95 EUR

Publication date:
15 November 2018

Short description: 

This groundbreaking book provides the first systematic comparison of America's modern wars, analyzing how and why the United States has moved from success to failure since WWII. As the United States enters a new period of uncertainty in the world, Caldwell makes the compelling case that leaders must think, plan, and prepare before shooting.

Full description: 

This groundbreaking book provides the first systematic comparison of America's modern wars, and why they were won or lost. John D. Caldwell uses the World War II victory as the historical benchmark for evaluating the success and failure of later conflicts. Unlike WWII, the Korean, Vietnam, and Iraqi wars were limited, but they required enormous national commitments, produced no lasting victories, and generated bitter political controversies. Caldwell comprehensively examines these four seminal wars through the lens of a strategic architecture to explain how and why their outcomes were so dramatically different. He defines a strategic architecture as an interlinked set of continually evolving policies, strategies, and operations by which combatant states work toward a desired end. Policy defines the high-level goals a nation seeks to achieve once it initiates a conflict or finds itself drawn into one. Policy makers direct a broad course of action and strive to control the initiative. When they make decisions, they have to respond to unforeseen conditions to guide and determine future decisions. Effective leaders are skilled at organizing constituencies they need to succeed and communicating to them convincingly. Strategy means employing whatever resources are available to achieve policy goals in situations that are dynamic as conflicts change quickly over time. Operations are the actions that occur when politicians, soldiers, and diplomats execute plans. At any given time, Caldwell shows, a state's strategic architecture is constrained by its capabilities, but it can develop more robust capabilities that support more ambitious policies and operations that run through the elements of an effective strategic architecture. A strategic architecture, Caldwell argues, is thus not a static blueprint, but a dynamic vision of how a state can prevail in a conflict. It is a framework that allows us to judge the tasks performed by competing politicians, generals, and diplomats on the levels of policy, strategy, and operations. As the United States enters a new period of uncertainty in the world, Caldwell makes the compelling case that leaders must think, plan, and prepare before shooting.

Table of contents: 

Maps, Figures, and Table Preface Acknowledgments PART I: STRATEGIC ARCHITECTURES: INTRODUCTION PART II: WORLD WAR II 1 Battle of Britain: Winning by Not Losing 2 Battle of the Atlantic: Protecting the Maritime Lifeline 3 Invasion of Russia: Hitler's Strategic Mistake 4 Battle of El Alamein and Operation Torch: Cracking German Invincibility 5 Battles of Midway and Guadalcanal: Regaining Initiative in the Pacific 6 Strategic Bombing Offensive: Breaking German Airpower 7 Invasion of Italy: Deciding to Fight Somewhere in Europe in 1943 8 D-Day and the Battle for Normandy: Retaking the Continent 9 Battle for the Rhine: Attacking Germany's Vitals 10 Battle of Okinawa and the Bombing of Japan: Ending the War 11 The Strategic Architectures of World War II PART III: THE KOREAN WAR 12 Battle of the Pusan Perimeter: Getting the Most Out of a Bad Situation 13 Inchon-Operation Chromite: MacArthur's Masterstroke 14 Crossing the 38th Parallel and Driving North to the Yalu: The Risks of Overreaching 15 Operations Ripper and Killer: Recovery and Frustration 16 The Strategic Architectures of the Korean War PART IV: THE VIETNAM WAR 17 Battle of the Ia Drang Valley: Not Fighting the Decisive Battle 18 Bombing Campaign and High-Tech Initiatives: Operations Rolling Thunder and Igloo White Airpower and Technology Indecisive 19 The Pacification Program (1967-1968): Failing to Change Behavior 20 The Tet Offensive (1968): Strategic Disaster 21 Vietnamization: Never a Winning Strategy 22 The Final Years (1969-1975): The Losing Path 23 The Strategic Architectures of the Vietnam War PART V: THE IRAQI WARS 24 Iraqi War I, Persian Gulf War: Defeating Saddam, Losing Politically 25 Iraqi War II, Thirteen-Year Air Conflict: The Limits of Airpower 26 Iraqi War III, Invasion of Iraq: Winning without an Endgame 27 Iraqi War IV, the Insurgency and the Surge (2007-2008): Relearning Counterinsurgency 28 Iraqi War V, the Rise of ISIS: A New, More Violent Enemy 29 The Strategic Architectures of the Iraqi Wars PART VI: STRATEGIC ARCHITECTURES: THE ENDGAME Acronyms and Selected Glossary Notes Selected Bibliography Index


John D. Caldwell retired in 2007 after a fifty-year career studying America's wars in defense think tanks and aerospace companies. Trained as a political scientist with a PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara, his first posting was in Saigon in 1968 as part of a classified research project for the Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency. Caldwell joined TRW Space & Defense in 1982 to work on major defense, NASA, and intelligence community programs. He remains an active consultant at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, which acquired TRW in 2002. He lives in Santa Barbara with his wife, Karen, and their dog Daisy, cat Mr. Bingley, and Martha, a desert tortoise.




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