Monday, September 11, 2006

Intelligence in War: Knowledge of the Enemy From Napoleon to Al-Qaeda

I listened to this in audio form, read by a narrator with one of those aged British voices that always seems to accompany all things martial. Author John Keegan traces military intelligence through history. There’s a definite Anglo centric tendency, with a great deal of attention paid to Admiral Nelson and pals. Keegan makes the case that while the public and policymakers alike see military intelligence as a pursuit of supreme importance, the cold reality of war is that might nearly always wins regardless of what each side knows. Oh, and luck plays a large role, too. Military intelligence plays, at best, a secondary role. Keegan’s arguments may or may not be compelling. Fans of military history or those interested in the theory behind espionage, though, will likely find the exploration of his chosen case studies interesting.


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