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Posted December 5, 2011
The author in the opening pages vividly and compellingly argues for the importance of studying economic aspects of war. From resource abundance to resource utilization to the financing of war: these are key factors in determining wars' outcomes. World War II of course was no exception. The book's descriptions and introduction however don't convey to the prospective reader that the true subject of the book is not so much economic planning as the US's planning (or lack thereof) through 1941 and, once the war started, the decision to postpone the invasion of Europe from 1943 to 1944, due to insufficient military resources having been accumulated. Moroever, economists had been able to estimate that timeline in late 1941, when the military planners (according to this book) were either clueless or disinterested (and when the US entered the war, were still unable to do proper planning/synchronization of military needs and economic resources). The reader will gain an appreciation for the importance of economic principles in the waging of war, and for the planning (or lack thereof) that the US engaged in prior to and during the first half of WW II. But it's a narrow topic, with the key players being mostly unrecognizable names (although economists will recognize and appreciate Simon Kuznets' contributions). The author tries to make the narrative exciting and interesting, but the material is inherently dry and the authors' writing skills are not up to the challenge. His explanations of the more complex economic topics lack clarity; at one point I re-read a paragraph six times and still could not figure out what the author was trying to say. When I read the next paragraph I finally realized that he was trying to describe what economists call "monetizing the debt". I don't criticize the author for failing to use that phrase -- it would be useful only to a reader who was an economist or an advanced economics students -- but I do criticize the author for failing to provide a clear explanation for the lay reader. Thankfully most of the book doesn't require explanations of complex phenomena and the author conveys them clearly enough.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.