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The Utility of Force

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About the Author

General Rupert Smith spent 40 years in the British Army, commanding the UK Armoured Division in the Gulf War, general in charge in Northern Ireland, commander of the UN forces in Bosnia and Deputy Commander of NATO. He lives in London.


This book, by a retired general and 40-year veteran of the British army, is an intelligent examination of the theory of modern warfare. Smith distinguishes the utility of force from the morality of force, focusing exclusively on the former. He convincingly argues that a paradigm shift in warfare occurred with the end of the Cold War in 1991 and that the inability of Western military forces to achieve political goals successfully since that time resulted from a failure to adapt to this new paradigm; said forces are still seeking to fight traditional wars between states in search of a return to the status quo. Smith's prose is clear, brisk, and compelling; suitable for any adult reader with an interest in modern war or the history of military theory. He expertly avoids any semblance of partisanship, which makes this book an excellent choice for readers interested in a high-level analysis of warfare without political or moral rhetoric. This book is an excellent addition to public or academic libraries.-Robert Perret, Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"One of the most important books on modern warfare in the last decade. We would be better off if the United States had a few more generals like him." --The Washington Post Book World "An impressive and absorbing work of military analysis. . . . Smith is the Clausewitz of low-intensity conflict and peacekeeping operations. . . . He brilliantly lays bare the newfound limits of Western military power." --The New York Times Book Review "It is hard to overstate the devastating nature of this book as an indictment of almost everything the West has done in recent years, and is doing today." --The Sunday Telegraph "A closely argued, searching textbook on strategy and the efficient use of military power in the post-Cold War era." --The New York Times

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