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Space Wars: The First Six Hours of World War III, A War Game Scenario

Space Wars: The First Six Hours of World War III, A War Game Scenario [Kindle Edition]

Michael J. Coumatos , William B. Scott , William J. Birnes
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description


"Former navy flier and wargamer Coumatos joins forces with former air force aviation engineer William Scott and lawyer William J. Birnes... to produce this engrossing piece of military futurism... Presages real possibilities." - Booklist"

Product Description

Michael J. Coumatos is a former U.S. Navy test pilot, ship's captain, and commodore; U.S. Space Command director of wargaming; and a government counterterrorism advisor. William Scott is a retired bureau chief of Aviation Week and Space Technology and a nine-year Air force veteran who served as aircrew on nuclear sampling missions. He is a six-time Royal Aeronautical Society "Journalist of the Year" finalist, and won the Society's 1998 Lockheed Martin Award for the "Best Defense Submission." He also received both the 2006 and 2007 Messier-Dowty awards for "Best Airshow Submission." With the help of New York Times bestselling author William J. Birnes, these renowned experts have joined forces to grippingly depict how the first hours of World War III might play out in the year 2010.
Coumatos, Scott, and Birnes take the reader inside U.S. Strategic Command, where top military commanders, space-company executives, and U.S. intelligence experts are conducting a DEADSATS II wargame, exploring how the loss of critical satellites could lead to nuclear war. The players don't know that the war they are gaming has already begun,  miles above them in the lifeless, silent cold of space. Jam-packed with the actual systems and secret technologies the United States has or will soon field to protect its space assets, Space Wars describes a near-future nuclear nightmare that terrorists will relish but politicians prefer to ignore. In a quieter, more peaceful time, Space Wars would be an exciting work of fiction. But with the United States now at war, Space Wars is all too real.

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1596 KB
  • Print Length: 401 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0765313790
  • Publisher: Forge Books; First Edition edition (1 April 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000Q9ISOK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #974,162 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor reading 10 Feb 2008
By Alvin
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The concept is interesting: That America depends greatly on its satellites and in deep trouble (militarily and commercially) if someone starts shooting them down.
It goes downhill from there. It involves the usual suspects: Rogue genius Russian scientists with - of course - pretty daughters, drug dealers, mad Iranian mullahs, cool American Admirals, ever cooler skunk works weapons, etc. It continues with Iran declaring war against the world by launching a nuke against an American base. Why? To cash in on a satellite insurance scam, of course. Credible? No. Well written and riveting? Neither.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  38 reviews
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars SPACE WARS: Not Enough "Space" And No "War" To Speak Of 17 Nov 2010
By E. Lee Zimmerman - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
About three-quarters of the way into SPACE WARS: THE FIRST SIX HOURS OF WORLD WAR III, the authors - the trio of Michael J. Coumatos, William B. Scott, and William J. Birnes - decide to introduce some political editorializing vicariously by having a ranking military officer dump on his former Commander-in-Chief by referring to an intentionally unnamed man as "the failed Cowboy President of the last eight years." Hmm ... wonder who THAT could be? Despite the fact that no military officer I know or have met speaks that way of any President or Commander-in-Chief, the obvious (and all too easy) politicization of a fictional war seems beneath the writers here, especially moreso when that failed Cowboy President's defense program essentially saves the day in the last chapters of the book, and the authors are curiously absent any editorial smack-downs (or suck-ups!) to this fictional world they've created.

Up front, SPACE WARS offers a unique and exciting premise: in 2010, Iran (I thought they weren't a threat, U.N.?) instigates a near-nuclear nightmare (I thought they WEREN'T looking for military nuclear uses?) against the backdrop of hurling the U.S. back to the technological Stone Age (or maybe the 1950's) by crippling its space-based advantages with a new terrorist-controlled maser weapon. There are suicide bombers and drug cartels finally willing to cooperate with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (yeah, that Ahmandinejad, the same one most mainstream pundits claim is a bit of a radical laughingstock). Thank goodness that General Howard Aster and a whole slew of military techno-experts are on the job producing war game scenarios that promise to keep America one step ahead of the bad guys (or so you think, dear reader!).

Don't get me wrong (my favorite expression the older I get): somewhere deep within the complex and evolutionary ideas within SPACE WARS, there's a truly great non-fiction book. An in-depth exploration of the technology and the people required to staff the next evolution in satellites, space platforms, computer viruses, high altitude star-planes, and the endless military applications would prove fascinating, and I think that's largely why I was disappointed with the novel. This is a fictional account - and, worse, it feels like a fictional account - so there isn't enough time dedicated to the science aspect of everything covered within. Couple that reality with the fact that the conclusion to the story isn't really a conclusion at all - only an affirmation that "it doesn't end here" - and I think any avid reader might find more than a few shortcomings tied into these pages. The prose moves slowly, almost as if three writers took a crack at it when one may've sufficed, but I'm reviewing only the merits of the finished product, not necessarily the drawbacks to the process used to get it there. In short, I wanted more science and less science fiction, I think, so perhaps I wasn't the intended audience.

Despite the fact that the novel covers a "fictional" timeframe from April 3rd to May 4th, the authors have somehow curious decided upon the book's most grievous error: "The First Six Hours of World War III." Last I looked, there were more than thirty days between the two dates in question, so I'm at a total, complete loss to determine which six hours within these chosen events are the first six hours. From the best I can tell, it's more than a mildly disjointed assertion on their part, as the book contains no conventional war to speak of but instead focuses on recounting a series of war-related events - or terrorist state "acts of war" is probably more applicable.

Also, for some reason, the authors insist on reminding the reader that military officers - regardless of which branch they serve - all possess nicknames. Hank "Speed" Griffin is introduced as Hank "Speed" Griffin ... and then he's re-introduced as Hank "Speed" Griffin ... and then he's re-re-introduced as Hank "Speed" Griffin multiple times in the book ... in fact, I'd argue that it's done often enough with many enough characters that it borders on the absurd, almost an unintentional slight to military officers and the worlds they've created for themselves. If I didn't know any better, I'd say it almost borders on farce, and I don't think that was the authors' intent with such serious subject matter, but, at the end of the day, what can I say?

I'm just Ed "The Reviewer" Lee, so I could be mistaken.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars My eyes are tired 19 Mar 2012
By Paul M Andrus - Published on
I don't contend that this is a bad book, I just didn't enjoy it. There is probably some good information in it, but I could not separate the tedious prose from solid concepts connected to the real world. I grew weary of excessively wordy imagery, technobabble, and out-of-place fighter-pilot machismo. It seemed that military officers were predictably described in flattering ways, e.g., "ramrod-straight Marine Corps General." Others, not so much. To test that impression, I opened to a page at random. My eyes fell on the words "short and stooped figure." I was not at all surprised that it described a Russian scientist. When I read "A slightly-overweight but attractive Asian woman with streaks of grey..." I could go no further. For what it is worth, I was a fighter pilot on active duty, and now work within space education. I am also an avid reader. I read at 1000 - 1500 words a minute. I read Neil deGrasse Tyson's "Space Chronicles" in a single sitting. But, "Space Wars" is only the second book in memory that I did not want to finish.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly Written Novelizaton of a Wargame 9 May 2008
By Dana Flood - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This novel appears to be the fictionalization of a military wargame which explored what would happen if U.S. space satellites were systematically attacked.

The characters are at best paper-thin, and the dialogue is laughable. I was particularly amused by the highly educated general talking about "that sumbitchin maser."

Moreover, because it seems to be based on a wargame/exercise, the story simply stops abruptly at the point where the wargame terminated. There's some minor effort given to keeping the door cracked open for future development, but it's rather like the novel was (thankfully) truncated at the end of a random chapter.

Like many books written by people with military experience, the book lionizes one particular type of person. Pilots write books with heroic pilots, special operators write books with heroic snake-eaters. Here, in a book written by wargamers, the military wargamers are super-heroes: they're better intelligence analysts than the intelligence people, they're better at crafting national policy than the politicians, they understand the stratgic operational and tactical level of war better than anybody. Had the book been a few chapters longer, I'm certain the wargamers would have found ways to go faster than a speeding bullet and demonstrate more power than a locomotive.

A fascinating subject, but badly explored by this book. Read some non-fiction about the topic; it'll be better. And it'll skip the horrific dialogue.
11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dale Brown Orbits the Earth 7 May 2007
By Lawrence L. Thompson - Published on
This engaging read so reminded me of Dale Brown's series that began with Flight of the Old Dog and has continued to entertain for the better part of 20 years. Evil forces threaten the United States and equipped with the latest in secret high tech stuff the United States Air Force rides to the rescue. That we have moved into low orbit and near space is only a sign of where technology is now and where conflict may well be in the near future.

The book is clearly intended to warn about (and stimulate congressional funding of countermeasures to) the risks that destruction of our low orbit satellites could pose to U.S. commercial and military superiority. The book clearly succeeds in this objective, even if it is a little preachy at times. And, it points up the naivete of those who believe that near space will never become a battlefield because there are no (admitted) weapons there yet.

The new element this book contributes to its genre is to introduce wargaming as a technique for developing strategies in ongoing conflict situations. Wargaming has been around a long time, and has played a significant role in developing strategies in previous conflicts (see e.g. the winning side in the Franco-Prussian War). Unfortunately, we do not learn enough about the ongoing game in this book, other than statements attributing various nifty ideas to the players in the game. More information about the game and its course would have made this a five star.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Space Wars: The First Six Hours of WWIII (Or How Space is Sold) 18 Feb 2012
By Robert F. McEniry - Published on
Verified Purchase
The authors achived their goal in writing a fictional account on possible conflicts in Space affecting the US in the future. The authors attempted to write a Tom Clancy "like" story with lots af action adventure and whiz bang stories of advanced technologies to save the day. They acheived the overall affect despite writing characters and dialogue that were so stereotypical it was almost cliche. The authors also had a habit of "Talking their own book" which is Wall Street speak for plugging their own causes. One author who wrote for Aviation Week mentioned that publication so many times in the book I lost count. The other author endlessly plugged his day career of war gamming (granted it was a premise of the book). The overall affect is the story had sort of the feel of an infomercial (where is the late Billy Mays when you need him?). While not up to the level of a Tom Clancy story the book achieves its goals and is worth the price of a used paper back.
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