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King of the Killing Zone Mass Market Paperback – 1 Sep 1990

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, 1 Sep 1990
£61.91 £6.72
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Pub Group (Mm) (Sept. 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425123049
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425123041
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.5 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,972,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Orr Kelly is a veteran journalist and author. He covered the Pentagon, the Justice Department, and the intelligence beat, and served as a war correspondent in Vietnam during his time with "U.S. News & World Report" and the "Washington Star". He has written four works of military history, two of which deal with the Navy SEALs. With his late wife, Mary Davies Kelly, he is the author of "Dream's End", a history of two of his ancestors and their Civil War odyssey. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was a little disappointed when this book arrived in September 2010. This was because the advertising blurb on Amazon said it was published in 2007, and I assumed it would tell the story of the M1 Abrams from its inception in 1972 all the way up through the Gulf War and Kosovo to Operation Iraqi Freedom. In fact whether this edition was published in 2007 or not is not stated in the book but it does quote a copyright date of 1987. What you actually get is a fascinating insight into US tank development and production from about the late sixties to approximately 1986/7, and once I accepted this I really enjoyed the book. However, it would have been truely a great book if it had taken us on the journey to OIF to demonstrate that the earlier decisions taken during the development of the tank were sound.
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Format: Hardcover
I first read Orr Kellys book some time ago, but I keep picking it up and re-reading it. The book details and I mean really details, the long, tortuous process the Army and its suppliers went through to aquire arguably one of the best MBT's (Tank) in the world, the Abrams M1. Starting with a detailed history of the tank and then following the conception and development including the incorporation of iinovations from other countries: English armou, German gun etc.
The book is well written and gives a flavour of how the buying "system" works in the real world.
Kelly writes in an unbiased and thought provoking way, giving technical details but not losing the readers interest.
A good read and a useful reference source.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8e183de0) out of 5 stars 8 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e19bab0) out of 5 stars The real dirt-the story behind the M-1 Abrams 12 Mar. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I thorougly enjoyed this book. If you want nuts and bolts or a lot of photos, look elsewhere (Hunnicutt). This is the story behind the steel and metal, introduces the creators and designers of the worlds best tank.
Covering the economic and political pressures of the times, Orr explains why certain decisions were made-for example, the use of the Chobram armor created by the British, or why the designers opted not to use the tank commanders independent hunter/seeker sight (cost).
I highly recommend this book. Thanks, Kelly!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e3de864) out of 5 stars Excellent History of the Development the M-1 Abrams 11 Aug. 2009
By matt8386 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Orr Kelly has written many books and articles about the procurement process of US weapon systems. There are political, military and industrial considerations that go into buying a plane or tank, Kelly traces these as he outlines the creation of the M-1 Tank. This book is as interesting today as when it first came out.

This is a fascinating story about the world's best tank. I know, I once rode these beasts. Fast, powerful and well protected, the M-1 has emerged as the world's premire tank. Kelly captures how the past influenced the design (Isreali tank wars), what role luck played (the US almost ignored the armor developed by the British)as well as politics (why the US chose a German cannon vs. British vs. US).

Other controversial decisions are explored - why did Chyrsler design beat out General Motors, why was a gas guzzling turbine engine selected?

The book has adequate photos for a narrative. I would like to have seen more line drawings, but this is not a book for moldelers. If you want the nuts and bolts, get R.P.Hunnicutts excellent book on the M-1. If you want the hows and whys behind the story of the M-1, this is the book for you.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x903842a0) out of 5 stars Wrong Expectations 19 July 2010
By R. Swift - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book came highly recommended from several of my professional peers...

I wouldn't recommend it. It was written by a journalist; I would have preferred something written by someone "on the inside". There just weren't very many details or specific anecdotes; it was very top level.

There also seemed to be a significant amount of filler: more pre-M1 history than I was interested in, some overdone repitition ('I get it, using the turbine was a tough choice'), and some unreferenced inferences about soviet armor technology.

On the other side, the writing style is good and it's easy to read and I did learn some interesting tidbits of history.

Overall, a good history book, but not a great systems engineering learning tool.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8ea50d80) out of 5 stars Comprehensive and easy to read 4 May 2009
By C. Scott - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
King of the Killing Zone is a must read for anyone who's chosen career is in the defense industry. Those who are already seasoned as defense contractors or acquisition specialists will quickly grasp that there is probably an untold "other side" to many of the events in this book. Even so, Mr. Kelly does a great job of giving the reader a comprehensive view of events surrounding the key decisions on what was ultimately the M1 main battle tank program for the U.S. Army.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e19bf6c) out of 5 stars The Quest for the Perfect Killing Machine 7 Dec. 2015
By Brian Hansen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I was on M1s for the bulk of my career. This book lays out the development, technical, and bureaucratic processes involved in America's quest to develop the killing system to defeat a Soviet ground force that had a massive numerical superiority. Orr's writing style is a bit different, but once the reader adjusts to it, the book is very informative without bogging down.
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