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From the Publisher
"Blowtorch is a valuable addition to the history of the Cold War. The book covers his three decades of public service -- as a National Security Council staffer and Carter administration policy adviser, among much else -- but his few years of involvement with Vietnam serve as the centerpiece. As Mr. Jones explains, no other period of Komer's career compares in importance."
-- The Wall Street Journal
"Jones has succeeded in the task he set himself. We now know that Komer, not just during the Vietnam War but later in Carter's Department of Defense, acted as very few had--as a master strategist who understood the national interest and how to develop means to achieve it within the limits of resources and reality. To convey this sophisticated, complex story to readers is no mean feat and Jones has done it admirably."
-- Journal of Military History
"Komer has found a worthy biographer in Frank Leith Jones. Jones provides a highly readable and balanced account of his subject's years in government. He also does a credible job at the more difficult task of demonstrating Komer's intellectual influence as a critic while out of office. The resulting biography offers the reader a broad overview of the many problems of the Cold War, reminding us of the interlocking complexity of issues that today are often viewed in sterile isolation. Blowtorch also provides numerous insights into the difficulties of implementing policy in large organizations."
"Jones delivers more than an excellent biography of an exceptional civil servant, strategist, and statesman. Blowtorch is a particularly important book because, read critically, it sheds light on how to develop and implement strategies to ensure national security and protect vital interests. Geopolitical dynamics of the period appear comparable to today's; the problems of national security seem analogous; and Komer's manner of thinking about those problems is relevant and instructive." -- H. R. MCMASTER, author of Dereliction of Duty: Robert McNamara, Lyndon Johnson, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam
"Blowtorch provides a revealing look into the hitherto unexamined role played for three decades by cold war strategist Komer. Those looking to understand counterinsurgency theory will be especially drawn to Jones' illuminating discussion in Komer's leadership of CORDS." --LARRY BERMAN, author of Zumwalt: The Life and Times of Admiral Elmo Russell "Bud" Zumwalt, Jr.
"Jones' superb study of Komer performs an invaluable service, assessing the career of an influential Cold War strategist who was more than an innovative thinker. Komer had the rare ability to transform ideas into viable policies, helping to reorient U.S. Vietnam War strategy during Johnson's administration and to reinvigorate NATO during Carter's. Highly recommended." -- RICHARD A. HUNT, author of Pacification: The American Struggle for Vietnam's Hearts and Minds
"In this splendid biography, Jones provides a comprehensive, deft, and nuanced portrait of an often complicated and misunderstood figure. Wonderfully written and impressively researched, Blowtorch not only sheds new light on Komer and Vietnam, it is an incisive and original history of America's grand strategy in the Cold War." -- ANDREW PRESTON, author of The War Council: McGeorge Bundy, the NSC, and Vietnam
"At last, in Jones' Blowtorch, we have a full-dress study of Komer, a remarkably influential yet unaccountably neglected figure in America's Vietnam ordeal. This carefully researched and clearly written study deserves an appreciative audience among policymakers, military officers, academics and graduate students." -- ANTHONY JAMES JOES, author of Victorious Insurgencies: Four Rebellions that Shaped Our World
"The product of impressive research and insight into top-level policymaking, Blowtorch analyzes the crusade of a senior government professional to cause our leaders to think and act strategically. It is compelling reading for those who want to move beyond problem solving and crisis management to designing purposeful change." -- HAROLD H. SAUNDERS, president of the International Institute for Sustained Dialogue