Best Defense

Busy Tom!: Book reviews, a call for Gen. McMaster to step down, and talking this week in Seattle, Portland, SF, and LA

The "New York Times Book Review" on Sunday ran another of my big surveys of new books about military history.


The New York Times Book Review on Sunday ran another of my big surveys of new books about military history. It begins thusly:

In the unusual THE ALLURE OF BATTLE: A History of How Wars Have Been Won and Lost (Oxford University, $34.95), Cathal J. Nolan seeks to demolish how historians view war — and succeeds surprisingly well. The traditional Western view of conflict is that the way to win a war is to seek battle and prevail. This is the approach embodied by Napoleon, made doctrine by Clausewitz, and captured on film in “Patton.” And it is entirely wrong, Nolan, a history professor at Boston University, says, as he conducts the literary equivalent of scorched earth warfare.

Also on Sunday, Politico ran my call for Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster to step down as national security adviser. I admire General McMaster, so why do I do that? Here’s my reasoning: “The saving grace of Donald Trump as president is his incompetence. … [So] the less control Trump has over the federal government, the better. Think of it this way: Which would be more dangerous, a Mafia family overseen by the cruel and competent Michael Corleone, or one led by his ineffectual brother Fredo? So, I say, Let Donald be Donald.”

Meantime, I am speaking on Tuesday twice in Seattle, on Wednesday in Portland, on Thursday near San Francisco, and on Friday twice in LA. Deets here.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at Twitter: @tomricks1

Trending Now Sponsored Links by Taboola

By Taboola

More from Foreign Policy

By Taboola