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on 8 May 2016
Not bad. Too much left wing proselytizing. Generally repetitive but OK for general info.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 1 July 2010
Singer does an excellent job of providing a sufficiently detailed review of the private military industry (nee mercenary sector) in this book. He starts off with the historical background and the cyclicality of their use and legitimacy over the millenia (with a focus on the last 8 centuries), to then progress to the reemergence of the sector in the late 1980s / early 1990s.

Subsequently the reasons and enablers of a return of the private military enterprise are examined and he also presents a couple of case studies on representative firms from each sector. Subsequently he also examines implications and possible future developments. While he does attempt to construct some theoretical frameworks around it, those are but a small part of the book, and while they arguably do not add much to the quality of the book, they definitely do not make it a dry, academic publication.

Where Singer scores very highly in my opinion is in the analysis - all aspects are treated in sufficient depth to make their inclusion worthwhile and he presents a very even handed picture, without passing judgement either way. The book is not a piece of prescriptive writing, it allows the reader to form their own opinion, based on the very well researched and documented analysis of the sector.

As the other review mentions, one of the few downfalls is the occasionally grave oversight in spelling, grammar and the odd erroneous weapons system mentioned - however these occur on very few occasions and it seems like the odd page was completely overlooked in the editing process rather than these errors cropping up all over the book.

All in all a commendable performance, in light of other, rather lightweight books passing for analytical work these days.
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on 25 September 2005
This book is a timely review of an increasingly prickly subject. Written in a style that the is neither too academic nor too populist the book strikes the right sober and dispassionate note in reviewing the entirety of the subject -- from messy little wars propping up dictators; to wars that the major states will not or cannot fight ("We don't do mountain warfare" as I believe a spokesman for the US forces is reported to have said in Afghanistan) to the preservation of life and the protection of humanitarian aid agencies. Throughout the entire text, Singer is objective and even-handed.
Much of the commercial information contained in the book is highly detailed and supported by extensive footnotes. The details of the commercial deals struck between client and mercenaries and the historical background -- both the near history and the far -- make fascinating reading.
My criticisms are that the book becomes slightly repetitive in driving points home. Better editing would have prevented that -- as it would some of the egregious errors of syntax, grammar and vocabulary that Mr Singer occasionally commits. But overall this is a very useful book for students in any of the disciplines of world affairs, international relations, business and management or ethics. It deserves a wide readership.
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on 1 June 2011
The book is a defense for private armies, like it or not, the book argues obejectively for the selective use of these armies. Why Because politics can become so complicated that no solution can be found.
The normal citizen doesn't nessecarily need one political leadership or the other, the normal citzen needs peace oan possibilities to live. So if at civil war can be ended, that's what is important.
Politics in developing countries sometimes end up in politicians fighting for power, not for the people.
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on 24 April 2016
Great book
Thank you
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on 26 April 2013
I realy enjoyed reading this book. I can recommend it to every one. It's very well written and I found a lot of interesting informations about PMCs in it.
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