When Reason Fails: Portraits of Armies at War: America, Britain, Israel, and the Future

When Reason Fails: Portraits of Armies at War: America, Britain, Israel, and the Future

by Michael Goodspeed


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A nation's fighting forces are often believed to embody a country's qualities of determination, resourcefulness, and courage. This study examines the influences of these qualities from the viewpoint of the American Army in Vietnam, the British Army in Northern Ireland, and the Israeli Army throughout its struggle in the Middle East. It is a provocative look at corporate military character—operations, personalities, organizations, administrative policies, training, social factors, technology, strategy, and tactics—all elements that are woven tightly together to explain why national armies perform in the manner that they do. Goodspeed uses these historical case studies as the basis of his analysis, then explores the social, technical, and organizational issues that future armies will likely face. He assesses the future of modern warfare in technical terms in the context of mass, mobility, firepower, and communications.

The Duke of Wellington once scoffed, Tell the history of a battle? One might as well describe the history of a ball. This book takes the Iron Duke's advice to heart and seeks to explain modern military victory and defeat in terms of corporate military character, a complex and fragile mosaic, one in which national temperament is only a minor feature. In so doing, it takes on a subject long veiled in myth and invention. The social, political, and technical blueprints for the conduct of wars in the 21st century are already well established. Goodspeed illustrates these patterns by showing how armies have coped in the most influential campaigns of modern times and in this light assesses the key factors driving change for future wars.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780275973780
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 12/30/2001
Series: Studies in Military History and International Affairs Series
Pages: 232
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.56(d)

About the Author

MICHAEL GOODSPEED is an independent researcher who served twenty-one years in command and staff appointments in the regular army in Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry./e He has degrees from Carleton University and the University of Calgary and has attended the Canadian Army Command and Staff College and the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College.

Table of Contents


The American Army in Vietnam

The British Army in Northern Ireland

The Israeli Army in the Middle East

The Future of the Armies

Selected Bibliography


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