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Customer Review

VINE VOICEon June 27, 2011
If only this book, and the thinking behind it were available ten years ago.

Commodore Jermy, himself a highly operationally experienced and respected (unfortunately retired now) military leader, has writen a prescription for considered military thinking. He identifies the problem early in the book. Serving in Afghanistan as an advisor to the Embassy there, he asked NATO headquarters staff what the strategy was. The answer was unsettling 'there's nothing sir, we're just getting on with it'.

'Strategy for Action' ranges remarkably widely. If it's a primer on military thinking you're after, look no further. He extracts the essential elements from the great theorists without getting bogged down in long discourses on what this or that text from Clausewitz or Jomini might have meant.

Similarly you will find a short, well-written history of recent strategic thinking and practice derived from such places as Malaya and Vietnam. He takes a firm view as to what they really tell us about how to 'do' strategy rather than what our recently discomfited generals thought they tell us. There are pithy and well-researched insights from all manner of strategic problems ranging from Slim's masterly Burma campaign or the Falklands to the way Kennedy's team handled the Cuban crisis. His study of the current Afghan campaign, which pervades the book, is masterly.

Jermy goes further though than producing a combined primer and fascinating history of strategic thinking and practice. He is in the business of getting things done. His prescriptions for a way ahead in the all-too often tediously scholastic world of military thought which comprise the second half of the book are a breath of fresh air. I particularly enjoyed the last section 'Reflections'.

I would unhesitatingly recommend this as a key book for anyone wishing to understand how strategy should be done in all contexts. It should be absolutely essential reading for any course on strategy, military or civilian on either side of the Atlantic.
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