I'm not sure whether Urban truly intended to write a narrative history that not only sets right many of the injustices of much of the scholarship on this era, as well as comment on the current operations in Afghanistan.
Whatever his intent, this book is brilliant, in many ways surpassing 'Rifles'. The characters are brought to life in vivid colours, their flaws and their strengths, the arrogance of certain 'Minden men', the self-righteousness on both sides, and the sheer hypocrisy of the ideologues. This is not a book for those 'Patriot' lovers; this is a very real history. The maps are first class, and Urban, as we have come to expect, cuts through the fog of war to deliver stunning detail on everything from the tactical, strategic and operational levels of war.
Any young officer, or aspiring officer, should take the lessons so clearly portrayed in it; learning organisations defeat insurgencies, as we so nearly did in the 13 Colonies. For those not in the military, take heed anyway; read this as a history of the American war, and apply much of the logic to Iraq and Afghanistan, and that is what we are up against. The lessons are clear: Doctrine, tactics, strategy, all have to work together.