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Lions, Donkeys And Dinosaurs: Waste and Blundering in the Military Paperback – 5 Apr 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 78 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; New Ed edition (5 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099484420
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099484424
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 76,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"He... writes with force and wit...Page's book deserves attention... Offers a guide to the armed forces and their problems which anybody who cares about them should read... Page does a splendid job of sharpening axes." (Max Hastings Sunday Telegraph)

"'Lions, Donkeys and Dinosaurs is a Fast Food Nation for the armed forces... It is very unlikely that anything this entertaining or important will be written on military matters this year. It deserves to be a bestseller, and perhaps it will be if red-faced civil servants are sent out to buy up every copy before the public can get their hands on it.'" (Independent)

"'Devastating... In my own recent book on modern follies I suggested that defence procurement policy was so corrupt...that only a satirist could do it justice. Page is that satirst.'" (Francis Wheen Daily Express)

"It's very unlikely that anything this entertaining or important will be written on military matters this year. It deserves to be a bestseller" (Independent on Sunday)

"Page writes with force and wit...I hope he soon gets the job he deserves, as a defence correspondent in the national media. The MoD and chiefs of staff might tremble in their boots about the consequences, but that is as it should be. Page does a splendid job" (Sir Max Hastings Sunday Telegraph)

Book Description

A biting, controversial and hilarious polemic on the curious ways of the British armed forces by a brilliant young former Naval Officer. With a preface by Harold Evans (the legendary former editor of the Sunday Times) and a brand new afterword by the author, bringing the book right up to date.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book thinking it would cover a very important subject in an objective and thought provoking way with various examples and evidence to affirm a particular view. Was I dissapointed! Where are the interviews with senior defence analysts, politicians and servicemen? Where are the references to documents that were read and analysed? Where are the breakdowns of equipment cost, usage and life expentancy against equipment in use with other armed forces? (You can't compare a US Apache against a British Apache helicopter because really only the airframe is the same, the avionics and weaponry are different.) How do we know we've paid over the odds if we don't have a comparison? The author basically entered into a rant not only about procurement but about military organisation. It was the sort of thing any servicemen would have heard in the crewroom or the mess with no real in depth analysis as to why things happen as they do. The author's theories come over as half cocked at best and totally naive at worst. e.g the idea that the army shouldn't have tanks or SPG's because they are too large and difficult to transport, that the army should convert armour specialists into infantrymen. Well, a) Rogue states have armoured vehicles and so does ISIS. b) Infantryman are just canon fodder when armour or suicide vehicle bombs are used. As regard his views on Deep Penetration Air Strikes, he seems to ignore that these strikes are designed to hinder the enemy's ability to wage war and to delay the rapid deployment of enemy reinforcements to the battle zone. The author seems to have totally side stepped industry practice of spreading development costs over the life of a product. e.g.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've always been bemused by my government friends' complaining about the constant infighting between the 3 services (apparently there's a huge argument brewing right now between the RAF and the Navy, which has nothing to do with war and everything to do with the respective authority and budgets of the two forces). No longer.
This book does an excellent job of demonstrating that for all the attempts at bi-partisanship between Tories and Labour over the war, the political tensions within the forces are alive and well and never went away.
And, of course, he shows up massive incompetence within MoD and BAe, which won't be a surprise to anyone who has observed any government project up close.
The writing style is similar to that of Ben Goldacre, of "Bad Science" fame, and Lewis Page seems to have similar concerns about the competence of journalists to hold the government to account on defence expenditure.
Non-military buffs like me will definitely need to use the glossary - a lot.
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Format: Paperback
To most of us defence expenditure is not the most exiting subject. Page gets around this by writing in an exiting, informative and often humorous manner. I have no reservations about recommending this book to anyone. Indeed, it is an essential read for anyone who worries how their tax is being spent. Thirty billion pounds a year is an awful lot of cash to be spending on rubbish kit.

After some checks - it seems factually correct to me. Indeed, I can't find the inconsistancies profered by his detractors and wonder about their motivations.
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Format: Paperback
Me: Previously infantry.
First read this not long after it came out but have now felt I had to write a review because it deserves more than 4 stars. I can only assume that those who marked it down have an agenda or are incapable of critical thought.
Basically Page provides an overview of the kinds of equipment used by our Forces and comes to the conclusion that a great deal of what our Forces have is either unnecessary (now) or rubbish (in many cases). If there is good stuff, there's usually not much of it. For example, Page dismisses frigates and destroyers as pointless because hunting submarines (frigate work) is better performed by aircraft or other submarines, while destroying aircraft (destroyer work) is better done by other aircraft because of the threat of anti-ship missiles...only 1 has to get through any screen a destroyer can put up. Therefore a future Navy would consist of either submarines or ships carrying planes...for surface-vessel officers this is not sexy work...no more sleek, dashing surface ships??! Unthinkable! Of course, some surface ships are needed but (to my mind) they would be Patrol ships that are simple, can carry a couple of helicopters and have provision for some troops...perfect for light humanitarian/rescue/evacuation tasks. Needless to say the RN is still busy buying frigates and destroyers. To escort our aircraft carriers perhaps...oh sorry, we don't have any.
Page points out, to this reader's shock, just how over-officered our Forces are. But the Forces are a public organisation and anyone who works in a public organisation today just how 'over-managered' they are (I work in the emergency services now...
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