Friday, June 15, 2007

Pg. 99: William Martel's "Victory in War"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: William Martel's Victory in War: Foundations of Modern Military Policy.

About the book, from the Cambridge University Press website:

For millennia, policymakers and statesmen have grappled with questions about the concept of victory in war. How long does it take to achieve victory and how do we know when victory is achieved? And, as highlighted by the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, is it possible to win a war and yet lose the peace? The premise of this book is that we do not have a modern theory about victory and that, in order to answer these questions, we need one. This book explores historical definitions of victory, how victory has evolved, and how it has been implemented in war. It also subsequently develops the intellectual foundations of a modern pre-theory of victory, and discusses the military instruments necessary for victory in the twenty-first century using case studies that include U.S. military intervention in Panama, Libya, Persian Gulf War, Bosnia/Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

• Historical analysis of the origins of victory that examines the ideas of the principal theorists of strategy and war since ancient Greece

• Case studies from the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries of cases of intervention by the United States

• A framework by which people can evaluate what it means for the state to achieve victory in war

Among the praise for Victory in War:

"The single most important nonfiction book of this season."
--Carlin Roman, The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Bill Martel's expert analysis of recent American military interventions dares to ask and works to answer a question that's dogged historians, generals, politicians and citizen soldiers for generations: what defines a victory? Martel's case studies engage an important discussion with real-world implications for our times that can't possibly be overstated."
--Senator John Kerry

“William Martel’s Victory in War is a scholarly and well researched exploration of a subject that is increasingly drawing our attention; what is the meaning of victory in today’s context. Drawing on history, Martel explores thoroughly different victories and defeats and what led to them. His study will be a major contribution to the evolution of military strategy. I commend it to all who are serious students of international affairs.”
--Frank C. Carlucci, Former Secretary of Defense and National Security Adviser

"This book addresses an important and pertinent topic. It contributes substantially to the ongoing debate in the United States and, indeed, in most countries, about the meaning of victory in war."
--James F. Miskel, Professor, National Security Affairs, Naval War College

"Martel gives us an important book on a pressing subject of overriding importance to policy makers and military planners. Namely, how do we define victory in the post-modern, post-heroic age of gritty little wars waged to stop regional bullies, terrorists and other desperadoes?"
--Geoff Wawro, Professor of Military History, University of North Texas

"What does it mean to win a war? This question has never been more important than it is today, as ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan raise existential questions about the meaning of victory. Yet among the hundreds of works of serious military theory from ancient times to the present, few writers have addressed this question directly, and none has done so systematically. In Victory in War, William Martel takes on the complicated question of what victory in war really means. He has produced an important work on a vitally important subject that should serve as the starting point for productive research for decades to come."
--Fred Kagan, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

William C. Martel is Associate Professor of International Security Studies at The Fletcher School, Tufts University.

The Page 99 Test: Victory in War.

--Marshal Zeringue