Book Reviews from the "Georgia Guardsman" magazine


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Book Reviews from the "Georgia Guardsman" magazine

  1. 1. Professional Development Bookshelf: Reviews of books that teach us about our craft
  2. 2. Professional Professional Development Development Bookshelf: Bookshelf: 100 Decisive Battles Reviews of books that from Ancient Times teach us about our craft to the Present By Maj. John H. Alderman IV vision and make decisions. And the key is making the Public Affairs Office right decisions. If executives make decisions that others Georgia Department of Defense can make, or that they can make unnecessary by issuing policy, they are wrong, Drucker contends. W Perhaps the best-known example from this book hat can Guardsmen learn from a business is Drucker’s observation that a well-run factory is a executive’s handbook written half a century quiet factory. If he visited a factory where everythingBy Maj. John H. Alderman IV I found myself thinking of even familiar battles in a new ago? Lots, actually. was dramatic, and people were rushing about excitedlyPublic Affairs Office way because Davis had given them more, or different, First published in 1967, The Effective Executive making things happen – it would be less well-run thanGeorgia Department of Defense context than I had seen before. The results sections is business guru Peter F. Drucker’s close look at how a quiet factory where good planning, solid policies and extended my understanding of the battles and helped me executives operate and how they can improve themselves thorough systems and procedures had made things…W fit them together – making the book’s chronological order in order to improve their organizations. Rather than a quite regular. e can learn a lot from taking a little time to even more useful. focus on managing people, it’s really about managing “A recurrent crisis,” he writes, “should always analyze battles and asking ourselves what There are some surprise inclusions and exclusions one’s self. have been foreseen.” So the job of the leader, then, is decisions, or technology, or logistics, or of battles; but narrowing it down to 100 battles over the Executives, Drucker writes, mainly contribute by to anticipate problems and provide training, equipment,personalities were key to victory... or defeat. But military course of 3,500 years of history had to be tough. More affecting their organization’s ability to perform and obtain systems or decisions to keep problems from developing.history books that describe these battles share the important is that the battles span both time and place, and results. By “executive” he generally means business A major takeaway is that, whatever his rank, a leadercommon challenge of reaching the right level of detail each of the battles was decisive in its own way. executives. But his working definition – people who are acts like “top management” when she focuses on whatfor a quick study. So, for example, Davis covers the battle of Crécy but expected to get the right things done – sounds a lot like she can do to serve the needs of the entire organization – Too little detail and you get what amounts to a not the more famous battle of Agincourt – because Crécy the basic definition of a “leader.” from whatever position she’s in. And that is a lesson wedictionary entry of places and people; too much detail is more important strategically and Agincourt basically While it is more obvious that this book would be could all do well to keep in mind.and it’s hard to cover a lot of ground while drawing repeats the tactics used at Crécy. great for battalion commanders and chiefs of staff, I Throughout, the prose is lightened by illustrationsbroader conclusions. Overall, 100 Decisive Battles serves as both a found its lessons very useful – decisive even – as a and observations from business and the military. After 100 Decisive Battles gets the mix just right. Each thorough grounding in the most important battles and Troop Commander, and figure the lessons would apply to all, military leaders make tough decisions all the time,battle gets a few pages, and Davis describes the historical tactics of history – and as a great general reference on the thoughtful leaders from squad level, up. and the high stakes of our field means we have to getsetting and results of each one in crisp, entertaining prose. subject. It is broad enough to teach us how to think about For example, Drucker has a healthy appreciation things more right more often than most business leadersFor every battle he includes a short, precise description maneuver, logistics, and decision-making, yet specific for decentralized decision-making. Leaders must make – or we face more awful consequences.of why that battle is important, a description of the battle enough to give us useful examples. decisions, not just carry out orders. Executives must focus It’s not the simplest manual on leadership, but it isitself, and then an explanation of the results and effects. I don’t think it’s too strong a statement to say that this their efforts and time on what other people need and can one of the very best. I first read this book when I was aHe then offers his references for further reading. Most book should be on the bookshelf of every professional use to make the organization successful. Meetings should young lieutenant, and the ideas in it completely changedbattles include maps, and some have illustrations. military officer. be held only for a purpose. the way I approach leadership. I wish I had read it sooner. Throughout, his analysis is spot on. More than once, Essentially, executives do two things: provide a June 2010 | 18 July 2010 | 20
  3. 3. Professional Development Professional Bookshelf: Development Reviews of books that Bookshelf: teach us about our craft Reviews of books that teach us about our craftBy Maj. John H. Alderman IV in such a way that a student of history can draw his orPublic Affairs Office her own conclusions about the action. Rather than feelingGeorgia Department of Defense uneven in its treatment, it keeps the atlas interesting and makes it more a tool of instruction.T The maps are beautiful. Perfectly scaled and By Maj. John H. Alderman IV as he becomes a leader and starts shaping teams, we see he perennial trick to understanding a given illustrated, there is enough detail to give the reader some Public Affairs Office it all over again from a different angle. battle or campaign is matching the detail of terrain to analyze to help see how commanders’ decisions Georgia Department of Defense Ender’s Game really becomes an exploration of the written description to the visualization of a map were shaped – similar to the utility provided by staff rides. methods – a philosophy, really – of training junior leaders.illustration. The West Point Atlas of War series spans The maps are rarely unclear or cluttered, with a clear A Ender is thrown into a real maelstrom of experiencescenturies of warfare in a simple, effective manner that and concise black-and-white color scheme. Another nice science fiction book? On the Professional and people, and he encounters different attitudes towardsupports both close reading and general browsing. First detail is the inclusion of local place-names, which give Development Bookshelf? You better believe command, leadership, followership, and decision making.published in the 50’s under the auspices of Gen. Esposito a feel for what the commanders may have seen on the it! Right up there on the shelf next to Starship He has to handle superiors less talented, and subordinatesat the Military Academy, many of the maps are available ground. Unremembered places like Catherine’s Furnace, Troopers. more talented, than he Barber’s Point, and Todd’s Tavern show up next to the Ender’s Game is the story of a young boy becoming Most useful to us as readers are the lessons Ender The books are harder to find, but if you’re lucky, you names we know well only because a battle took place a a leader under unique and trying circumstances. Set learns about how those without power can influence thosecan still pick up reprints at larger bookstores. The most little farther down the road. in the relatively near future, the novel spins a fairly in power through example, or counsel, or even directrecent reprint included separate volumes on the American The atlas maps and descriptions are probably best at straightforward tale. Earth has been attacked by aliens challenge. The parallels to be drawn by a new lieutenantCivil War, World War I, and the European and Pacific teaching an understanding of the higher-order decisions twice, and now the planet is desperately trying to prepare – in charge but inexperienced – are clear. The same couldtheaters of World War II. The latter is the one that most that shape wars. The volume on the Pacific Theater, for for the rematch they know is coming. So, they are be said for junior NCOs.opened my eyes. example, was the first book that really helped me fully selecting and developing leaders at very early ages and A minor theme explores the power of rhetoric: Just as Paul Davis’s 100 Decisive Battles (featured visualize and understand the division-level maneuver pouring everything into the hope that one of them will be, Methods to shape thoughts and action with words andin this column this past June) perfectly balances scope that surrounded or supported some of the smaller-scale essentially, perfect. ideas. In fact, we come to see the ability to communicateand detail, so too does The West Point Atlas. For each (or seemingly unconnected) battles with which I had Like all good fiction, this storyline is about developing effectively as the leader’s best tool.battle or campaign, a map of the area of operations (and previously been familiar. character and solving problems. In this case, how does a Card is a fantastic storyteller. His characters have ansometimes area of interest) is set with a concise description Ultimately, a robust appetite for and understanding of society select and develop leaders? What makes a good edge to them, and project a peculiar kind of reality. So,of the action. Sometimes, the two are perfectly matched; the various factors which have affected major battles and combat leader, and how does a trainer pull that out of although the book is practically a manual on leadership,sometimes, the maps may only illustrate the decisive part campaigns in the past allows any commander to better a candidate for leadership? What does that candidate go it never feels like one. In fact, it is plenty enjoyable just toof the action. contextualize any challenges faced by his or her own through as the transformation takes place? read as a space yarn. But that would be to miss the point. Throughout, the prose is lively and appropriately unit. The West Point Atlas of War series effectively puts That selection and development process forms So, if you need a change of pace, or prefer to learn bydetailed, a good read that balances analysis with reporting salient facts and mitigating factors into a visually and the core of the novel. Card takes us inside two minds: example and consideration, give this novel a shot. Youin some pretty neat ways. So, for example, sometimes the intellectually compelling format that makes it easy for one shaping a leader through direct counseling and by will probably immediately see why it has been on thenarrative is explicit in its condemnation or praise for a commanders to make use of the lessons hard-learned in indirect situational challenges; the other, Ender, growing Marine Corps Reading List since its inception.commander’s decision. At other times, facts are presented battles past. into that leader as he is poked and prodded along. Then, August 2010 | 20 September 2010 | 20
  4. 4. ProfessionalDevelopmentBookshelf: Reviews of books that teach us about our craftBy Maj. John H. Alderman IV man who is foundered under the weight of ammunition hePublic Affairs Office will never use.”Georgia Department of Defense And if you accept his basic premise, then you should give careful consideration to this new equation of riskT assessment. What might we gain in mobility in exchange his slim little volume on logistics is so brilliant that for accepting the risk of having fewer reloads? it would be tempting to read the first short essay or At its core, The Soldier’s Load and the Mobility of a two, declare yourself Enlightened, promise never Nation is about the creation and preservation of combatto load your Troops down with extra gear again, and move power so that it can be used at the decisive point. And thaton. proves a pretty good model for leadership in general. Famed historian Col. S.L.A. Marshall’s basic premise Soldiers manage their fuel and ammunition to maintainis: “No logistical system is sound unless its first principle pressure on an enemy; pilots manage energy to maintainis enlightened conservation of the power of the individual superior position in a dogfight; managers balance the needfighter.” for information against the cost of distracting their people In other words, don’t weigh down your folks with from their daily tasks by holding too many meetings.unnecessary stuff. Marshall illustrates his points with vignettes from Marshall’s famous studies of the great mass of gear various wars to keep things interesting. Along the way hewe ask our troops to carry into combat have affected makes some pithy observations on decision making, thegenerations of leaders. Staff gets much of the blame: To psychology of combat, staff work, maneuver, and morale. “Economy of forces operates in the sphere of supply just as relentlessly as it does in its application to the striking forces.”mitigate their fears of every possible contingency, all sorts Another valuable inclusion in the book isof extra equipment is added to the basic combat load. straightforward leadership philosophy that ties everything Because Marshall also believes that “In war, all effort, together: “The ability to command the loyalties of yourall policy, should be directed toward speedier delivery of men, to learn to think rapidly and resolutely in their behalfa greater volume of a more efficient fire at the decisive while teaching them to do likewise, and to strive alwayspoint,” this study of logistics is all about the intersection to avoid wasting their force and energy so that it may beof logistics and leadership. For him, strategic leadership applied in strength at the vital time and place - that ismarshals resources effectively; tactical leadership leadership of the highest possible caliber.”motivates and inspires subordinates by doing the same. Whatever their position or duty, leaders are responsible Some of Marshall’s ideas are challenging and for managing resources to accomplish missions. So,practically unthinkable. Send troops into combat with Marshall’s approach will prove useful in its relentless focuslittle food or ammunition? Are you kidding? Yet, as on necessary things, of unencumbering subordinates, andMarshall writes, “the Soldier with only five clips in his maximizing operational effects.pocket but spring in his gait is tenfold stronger than the October 2010 | 20
  5. 5. Professional Development Bookshelf: Reviews of books that teach us about our craftBy Maj. John H. Alderman IVPublic Affairs OfficeGeorgia Department of Defense approachable. Much of it reads like a book of aphorisms; some of it is repetitive and mystical, a little too EasternA for many readers. nyone who has ever fenced, or wielded a close- For these reasons, this is a book best savored. You’ll combat weapon, or studied martial arts understands want to have enough time to reflect on what you read – but how a weapon can serve as an extension of the not so much time that you lose the threads of the majorbody. This understanding entails a comprehension of the themes running throughout the works. I recommend asrelationship between action and reaction, vulnerability interactive an experience as you can manage: Discuss itand the strike. with others, or capture your thoughts and reflections in Knowledge of these things proves useful whether the margins of your book as you read. Agree or disagree,employing a tank platoon, or a light infantry battalion, your reactions matter and, if captured, can help you betteror a fighter aircraft. But these are lessons which can be understand and develop your own philosophy of conflict.learned more immediately (and perhaps easily) with a Some of the lessons will be more challenging.close-combat weapon. “‘Mountain and sea’ means that it is bad to do the same Probably, it is for this reason that Miyamoto Musashi’s thing over and over again,” writes Musashi. Yet, onThe Book of Five Rings – collected here with Yagyu reflection and in context, understanding the need to match“The performance of an expert seems relaxed but does not leave any gaps. The actions of trained people do not seem rushed.”Munenori’s Family Traditions on the Art of War – has tactics to the situation at hand, and not repeat stale tacticssurvived through the ages as a key text of the martial arts. – these are things with which we can identify. The translator, Thomas Cleary, refers to these as “texts Other lessons will be clearer immediately. “When youon conflict and strategy,” meant to be useful in all walks of strike a blow, do not keep your mind on where you hit; afterlife. Both authors, too, stress repeatedly that the “martial striking, bring your mind back to observe your adversary’sarts” are meant to be applied in all situations. condition,” writes Munenori. Students of maneuver – and This approach truly makes these works of conflict many pilots – will recognize this admonition againstphilosophy more than strategic thought (or even business “tunnel vision” from early in their training.method) alone. The end result Miyamoto and Munenori The bottom line is that if one approaches this bookwould have us reach is more a state of mind – a way with an open mind, and a willingness to apply somewhatof approaching problems, martial or otherwise – with abstract lessons to today’s situation, The Book of Fivea proper balance of focus and openness, of passive and Rings may help you reach “the next level” in your strategicaggressive physical and mental states. thinking. Of course, this also means the book is not always easily January 2011 | 20
  6. 6. Professional Professional Development Development Bookshelf: Bookshelf: Reviews of books that Reviews of books that teach us about our craft teach us about our craftBy Maj. John H. Alderman IVPublic Affairs Office those of S.L.A. Marshall) which revealed that, historically,Georgia Department of Defense the vast majority of Soldiers (and pilots) in combat either never pull the trigger, or miss that target, even at pretty close By Maj. John H. Alderman IV vast areas of research (with references for further study).W ranges. The historical examples aren’t perfect (certainly Public Affairs Office So this is a great resource for leaders trying to develop atching the A-Team as a kid, it never occurred to there are exceptions!) but they’re there. Georgia Department of Defense themselves or their subordinates. me how odd it was that although Hannibal and He demonstrates, in part, that humans and animals The book is especially well-timed for Army Guardsmen, the boys traded hundreds of bullets with each alike have powerful urges not to kill members of their own N explaining concepts of Resilience that underlie trainingweek’s bad guys, practically no one was ever hit. Sure, species. Grossman explores why, and the training that has o one need tell Soldiers that stress can affect implemented in the Army over the last year or were hit. Drums of gasoline were hit, and fireballed been implemented in the last century to help correct that decisions. But what can we do about that? What I find most interesting about The Stress Effect isinto the air. Makeshift welded contraptions were hit. But deficiency. Doctor Henry Thompson’s book, The Stress that while the concepts in each chapter can stand alone,not people. Grossman goes on to help us understand why and Effect, sets out to help leaders make better decisions they very effectively build upon one another. Explanations As ridiculous as this now seems, perhaps the show was how combatants do kill, a model based on the demands despite (and perhaps even using) stress. “The trick,” he of stress, plus explorations of emotion and intelligencemore realistic than we think. At least, that’s a conclusion of authority; group absolution; predisposition of the killer; writes, “is to keep stress as an ally, not an enemy.” lead to the critical concept of Building Stress-Resilientone might reach after reading On Killing, a psychological distance from the victim; and the attractiveness of killing A veteran Ranger and paratrooper, Lt. Col. Thompson Emotional Intelligence.tour de force by former Ranger and paratrooper Dave the victim. And he explores what happens later, the visceral has been into the sleep-deprived, ultra-high-stress combat Emotion is key. It seems like we spend a fair amountGrossman. reaction most people have to killing, even if they are willing that pushes Soldiers to their limits even as it demands of time urging young leaders to take the emotion out Grossman’s book thoroughly explores the psychology to do it in the first place. superior-quality decisions with the highest of stakes. He of decisions. This can be vital; but it’s also a littleof humans killing other human beings: What it takes, Finally, he turns his attention on society – on the TV has subsequently applied and refined his experience and disingenuous. “Our chants in basic training... were not just meant to make us disdainful of “The trick is to keep stress as an ally, not an enemy.” the danger of our own deaths, but more willing to kill in combat, as well.” education as an esteemed organizational psychologist and Those emotions are markers and motivators. They leadership consultant in the corporate world. The result can be enormously useful in motivating people, ormentally, as well as the costs, psychologically. Reasons shows, movies, and video games that desensitize us to is a book uniquely useful to us Guardsmen, who must be understanding what motivates them – or in how they willwhy it is hard to kill, and the things we do to make it easier. killing and to death not at all unlike military training meant successful in both arenas. respond to a decision. Understanding our own emotionsThe reaction most people have to killing, and what can be to make us more comfortable with killing. Is that a good The Stress Effect examines the art and science of can be vital in maintaining accurate situational awareness,done to ease the difficulties that often later result. idea for our society? decision making, including different models people use, especially in stressful situations. Even in the Army we don’t seem too eager to talk about On Killing reminds us that this subject is worth and the important differences between intuitive and rational The Stress Effect concludes with seven best practicesit in such blunt terms – unless we are boasting, or talking considering, and perhaps even discussing with our fellow decision making. It then looks at types of intelligence; the to build stress resilience. Thompson’s ARSENAL systemabout blood making the grass grow. Both can be useful; but Guardsmen. Certainly these considerations can affect how effects of emotions and stress on decision making; how to of Awareness, Rest, Support, Exercise, Nutrition, Attitude,neither is a particularly effective way to improve ourselves we prepare ourselves and our units for combat. It certainly manage stress; and how to build resilience. and Learning provides a great roadmap to focusing ourprofessionally. And we should be honest: While Peace may did both for me. There’s a fair amount of science here – the chemistry efforts and maximizing our our Profession, killing is our business. Army or Air, As for those of us who have never been to combat, and of emotions, the anatomy of the brain – but this is well- For the growing and professional leader, The Stressand especially on today’s battlefield, any of us entering a perhaps never will – these days, many around us have. balanced by practical application and illustrated by real- Effect provides immediate effect on how we do business –combat zone had best be prepared to kill. Reading this book is also a great way to help us understand world examples, both civil and military. Not only does as well as a system of systems from which we can further Grossman builds off of previous studies (particularly them better. Thompson clarify complex concepts, he also condenses develop our own way of living. March 2011 | 20 April 2011 | 20
  7. 7. Professional ProfessionalDevelopment DevelopmentBookshelf: Bookshelf: Reviews of books that Reviews of books that teach us about our craft teach us about our craftBy Maj. John H. Alderman IV helicopters had not been worked out; coordination betweenPublic Affairs Office police and military forces was awful. By Maj. John H. Alderman IV unit? How do we train officers? What’s the model for NCO/Georgia Department of Defense Over time, lessons from Sinoia led to new training, Public Affairs Office officer working relationships? What demeanor should a equipping, and focus that transformed the force into a new Georgia Department of Defense junior officer project?F weapon. So Starship Troopers isn’t just a romp through space ighting a Counterinsurgency (COIN) with the Scouts and intelligence teams maintained Observation M – or a memoir of basic training. It’s more a series of massive resources of the United States behind you Posts on likely or known areas of insurgent operations. obile Armor. Light, fast, maneuverable suits philosophical discussions between characters that provide is daunting enough. But what if you had so many Once enemy elements were spotted, small teams of light with jump jets, guns, rockets, bombs, hand thoughts like this one to new officers:constraints that you also had to manufacture your own infantry (called “sticks”) were transported by helicopters flamers, radar, IR goggles, heads up display, “I gave you a talk on how rough it’s going to be. Iweapons, including bombs that used super-bounce balls (the French “Alouette” light utility aircraft) to the target commo suites, and a prototype Blue Force Tracker. That’s want you to worry about it, doing it in advance, planningas shrapnel? area and dismounted onto blocking positions. Additional, the hook for this book. what steps you might take against any combination of bad J.R.T. Wood’s Counter-Strike from the Sky is a larger sticks would be dropped by World War II-era But there’s so much more going on. news that can come your way, keenly aware that your lifesuperbly detailed historical account of a relatively modern Dakota aircraft in further blocking positions to box in the New members of the military have a tough time. They belongs to your men and is not yours to throw away in acounterinsurgency fought in the 1970s in the country of insurgents. must find their own place in an organization infinitely suicidal reach for glory…and that your life isn’t yours toRhodesia (now Zimbabwe) under just these constraints. Practically simultaneously, gunship versions of the bigger than they are, even while learning skills, customs, save, either, if the situation requires that you expend it.”The resultant, curious mixture of old equipment, low Alouette would circle overhead and begin destroying the regulations, culture, and people, all at once. Most are Anyone ever express that sentiment to you quite sotechnology, innovation, and daring airborne maneuver enemy. Additionally, the (somewhat aging) Rhodesian Air newly adult, too, further complicating things. clearly?makes a thought-provoking solution to an age-old problem. Force would send in aircraft such as the Canberra, Hunter, Finding one’s place in the organization is essentially Some of these philosophical points are what make some Wood’s book (some editions include a DVD as well) or Vampire to provide close air support. In coordination what this book is about. I think that’s why it remains people refer to this book as “controversial.” For example:chronicles their weapons, strategy, armament, and tactics with these fires, the sticks would sweep through and popular and is so often recommended to junior leaders. In a free society, who gets to vote? In the book’s future,in a direct, matter-of-fact manner that seems characteristic destroy the remaining enemy troops. The great science fiction makes it a fun read. The only Veterans – and not even current service members –of the British military. The last few chapters, a detailed This fast-moving, hard-hitting combined arms force “Mobile Infantry” – future versions of Marines, Rangers, get to vote. Other folks are free, but they don’t determinehistorical account of the massive cross-border raid, proved deadly. This Fireforce developed into an aerial skirmishers, or Cavalry, depending on your taste – jump the course of government. His point, however, is one thatOperation Dingo, is practically a book by itself, and clearly ballet of fixed and rotary attack and transport aircraft, with onto alien planets, maraud, dispatch bad guys with bombs ties selflessness and service to governance and society.demonstrates the height of airmobile, deep-strike vertical intricate Command and Control necessary to maintain and mini-nukes, get extracted, and head off to the next In fact, this is a good example of why leaders can re-envelopment tactics as exercised by the Rhodesians. situational awareness and unity of command. system. Good. Times. read the book over time, finding new ideas in it that reward As a result of a widening guerilla war in which the Modern warriors of both the Army and Air Guardinsurgents were increasingly difficult to bring to battle, theSAS and Rhodesian Light Infantry, as well as associated have great lessons to learn here. The integration of air and ground elements of combat power are clear, as are the “There are no dangerous weapons; further reflection (as with Gulliver’s Travels, for example). Starship Troopers is a great work, not just because it is funpolice and intelligence forces, developed a concept that effects of unfettered innovation. The Fireforce is a great only dangerous men.” – but because it is instructive and provocative. Final note: If you have had the misfortune of seeingcame to be known as “Fireforce.” reminder that the best solution need not be as dependent We follow the protagonist through alternating memories the Verhoeven movie from the 90s which shamelessly uses Its genesis probably was the Battle of Sinoia in 1966, on technology or the newest weapon system as on the of combat, Mobile Infantry enlistment, leadership training, the name of this novel, I recommend you banish it fromwhen their troops were first transported by helicopter into intelligent use of weapons available. and even high school. Through these experiences, Heinlein your mind. In many cases it actually inverts Heinlein’scombat. The battle was disappointing: Weapons were A final note: get the edition with the DVD. It’s low- introduces and plays with all sorts of ideas. Why do we philosophies and erases the leadership lessons offered. Theineffective; air and ground radios were incompatible; tech, but packed with personal accounts and video of the fight? Who fights? What’s the division of labor in a small less said about it, and the sooner it is forgotten, the better.common practices such as a standard left-hand orbit for countryside to help you visualize the battles. May 2011 | 20 June 2011 | 20
  8. 8. Professional Professional Development Development Bookshelf: Bookshelf: Reviews of books that Reviews of books that teach us about our craft teach us about our craftBy Maj. John H. Alderman IV experiences and should be considered ahead of time.Public Affairs Office Another key characteristic of the battlefield isGeorgia Department of Defense uncertainty. Reports are exaggerated (and first reports By Maj. John H. Alderman IV The book’s compact, engaging coverage of that history is always wrong); information is slow in coming, or comes in Public Affairs Office its greatest strength. Georgia Department of Defense Each of the 30 battles is given a brief historical context,E unrelated bits and pieces that somehow must be connected. arly in this collection of excellent essays and articles, On a modern battlefield, the problem can actually be detailed description of how the battle unfolded, depictions I German Capt. Adolf Von Schell points out that, while exacerbated by the sheer amount of information coming in. of tactics and weapons used, a rudimentary 3D model of the in peace we learn about leading and maneuvering Yet, writes Von Schell, in our peacetime training, too remember, several years ago, watching one of my terrain, and an illustrative painting.forces, we are not instructed in the thoughts and fears that often we present perfect information to leaders and even lieutenants maneuver his squads in an attack on the These many “entry points” to the battles’ stories makerun through the mind of the front-line Soldier. “We are not prompt them when to make a decision and even on what MOUT complex at Camp Blanding. They were in close Great Battlefields easy to skim. In fact, one could go throughtold how we can help him in his mental battles.” needs to be decided. contact with the OPFOR, moving through the point of the entire book just reading the sidebars on weapons and Von Schell wrote this between World Wars I and II, while “Our field exercises, our map problems, and our war penetration into the streets beyond. get a pretty good brief history of Western armies’ weaponsa student at Fort Benning – and well before the Resiliency games should be conducted with as little information of the Tom was just behind his lead squad. But he wasn’t development.programs we now have in place. Yet his approach to Battle enemy as possible,” he writes. Then they will prepare our looking at the enemy. Rather, he was sitting down on his The real draw of the book, however, is the one or twoLeadership can inspire and inform our approach to training. leaders for battle. haunches, leaning against a wall, head tilted back, looking paintings provided for each battle. Macdonald chooses Topics covered include battlefield psychology, “Leaders must nearly always issue orders without exact up at the ceiling. He listened to reports come in, listened to a decisive point in the battle and provides a ballon’s-eye-“leavening” green troops with tested veterans, the information. Our mission and our will are often the only the sounds of the fight, and calmly gave his men orders. Tom view of the action. These lively paintings of the pageantry,development of the German Army, and numerous things untouched by obscurity. These will frequently form was visualizing the battlefield – a vital skill for leaders at all sweeping movement, fallen horses, muzzle flashes, anddescriptions of battles and maneuvers in World War I. our only basis for an order. If a leader awaits complete levels, and a skill that John Macdonald’s Great Battlefields gallantry of the battlefields really brings the action to life – of the World can help you develop. and aids the student of history with visualizing the maneuver“In peace we should do everything information before issuing an order, he will never issue one.” “Many ofMorgan’s sharpshooters were sited high and decisions that shaped history. True, the computer graphics are a bit dated; and, having For all this talk of battlefields, Von Schell’s observationspossible to prepare the minds of our apply equally well to domestic emergency operations and, up in the trees, from which vantage points they used visited a couple of these battlefields, I can confirm thatsoldiers for the strain of battle.” to a lesser extent, in day-to-day office environments. In the latter, there are stressors in Troops which leaders must take their powerful Pennsylvania rifles to deadly effect.” details of the terrain elevations are sometimes wanting. But, the overall benefit of gaining a new perspective on These battles are wonderfully detailed, following into account regularly; in the former, a potential for disasters the battles proves useful both in understanding the battlescombatants at the company and platoon level in open that cause mass casualties and a corresponding deep effect Macdonald covers 30 battles from Cannae (between better, and in learning how better to visualize battlefieldswarfare against the British and Russians. Some sections on Troops that probably cannot be fully calculated in Romans and Hannibal, 216 B.C.) to Dien Bien Phu based on reports and descriptions.chronicle the leader’s thought process as well, giving tranquil times. (between the French and the Viet Minh, 1953-4). The sense Great Battlefields is a perfect companion to 100 Decisivefurther insight. Though it is especially useful for leaders in light of breadth is a little misleading, however, as Macdonald Battles – not least because many of the books’ battles share The focus is always on the mental state of troops involved infantry, Battle Leadership contains lessons for leaders at skips 1200 years of military history between his first and common weapons, tactics, uniforms, and even commanders.– the feeling of constantly being under fire, the thoughts all levels and in most professions. It makes an excellent second battles, and fully two-thirds of the battles covered This book also is exceptionally user-friendly, angoing through a young leader’s mind in a changing situation, companion to On Killing (review), which is more limited involve the British. excellent introduction to Western warfare for junior leaders.the effect of darkness or retreat on march casualties, etc. in scope and to The Stress Effect (review), which explains That’s not necessarily a problem, however, as British If you’re looking to get started – or want a book in yourThese small incidents, writes Von Schell, make up Troops’ the science behind Von Schell’s anecdotes. military history between Hastings and The Hook really is library to make it easy to share lessons from – this is a great the story of Western military history in the same period. first choice. July 2011 | 20 AAugust 2011 | 20
  9. 9. Professional ProfessionalDevelopment DevelopmentBookshelf: Bookshelf: Reviews of books that Reviews of books that teach us about our craft teach us about our craftBy Maj. John G. Lowe the story of Fallujah.J7 Joint Training & Doctrine “Every night, images of civilian casualties were By Maj. John H. Alderman IV text – and a searchable database – the text is unedited andGeorgia Army National Guard transmitted worldwide via satellite and across the internet. Public Affairs Office unformatted, making reading somewhat cumbersome. Western television networks pooled video from Fallujah, Georgia Department of Defense But the real value of this book is to put the war into a very different context than most of us have experiencedN including film from the Arab cameramen with the W o True Glory is an excellent account of the insurgents. The pictures stressed destruction. Al Jazeera before. The articles are arranged chronologically as they 20-month struggle for Fallujah, Iraq, in a series of was unrelenting in depicting the death of civilians.” e’ve begun passing through the 150th were published – and therefore in the order people were battles in 2003 and 2004. The reader gets a vivid As Lt. Gen. James T. Conway, Commander of the 1st anniversaries of some of the most trying, made aware of events, rather than when they actuallyfront-line account of the vicious fighting that occurred in MEF, put it, “Al Jazeera kicked our butts.” dramatic, dangerous, heroic, and bloody times occurred. In an age where even telegraphs were still rare,the streets, house-to-house, and hand-to-hand. The heart of the story, though, is about the brutal in our Nation’s history: those of our Civil War. it could take days – and from the Western theater, weeks Bing West takes the reader through four phases: fighting in close combat – the courage and bravery While many of us have studied particularly famous – for a story to reach New York. So the story of battlescounterinsurgency, siege, reversal and attack. The displayed everyday by the men who fought the battle of military battles of the period (many of which can be read or political events unfold and evolve much as they wouldreader rides along with American units as they apply Fallujah. West’s accounts are detailed and riveting. about in the books we reviewed in the June 2010 or August have for readers 150 years ago.counterinsurgency doctrine to fighting insurgents. “Chandler kneed Sanchez in the buttocks to signal ‘Go!’ 2011 editions of the Georgia Guardsman), and most folks That’s important because it reminds us (who have certain Early in the counterinsurgency phase, Soldiers of the and they flooded the room. Sanchez ran straight across the know something about the political history of the time, knowledge of the outcome of Gettysburg or Vicksburg) of3rd Infantry Division spent time constructing a soccer room. Chandler and Severtsgard broke right, aiming up at The New York Times Complete Civil War offers a unique how wars unfold in the public understanding. Many of thefield in downtown Fallujah. Once they had finished, a the catwalk. Farmer was the last one to the door, where he reference for the time period, and a penetrating view into articles are not just late getting to New York – they aremob gathered, ripped down the nets, removed the dirt, and froze for a moment, trying to convince himself it wasn’t the intersection of military and political events of the war. wrong. Or, because the journalist had to dispatch an articledumped garbage on the site. The enemy was determined to fear. A second later, a grenade landed in the middle of before the battle was over, they are incomplete.prevent ordinary Iraqis from ever seeing that the American the room and exploded right where he would have been “A battle is not a prize-fight. Its object is not to test So, understanding the military and historical events of the day really took an extra effort to piece togetherinvaders had improved their lives. This was an ominous standing. Farmer was blown off his feet back into the foyer. either the pluck or endurance of the combatants, but tosign of what was to come. Severtsgard and Chandler disappeared in a huge swirl of fragments of information – and sift through the rather pro- The author further showcases how little cooperation, dust and debris, as the deafening roar of AK’s filled the secure possession of certain positions.” Lincoln bias that the Times had – to get closer to the truth.and often how little civility, existed between the military main room. Chandler fell instantly with three bullets in his The reader also better understands that the War was notand the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) planners leg and both his shoulder and leg shredded by the grenade Holzer and Symonds have reprinted no fewer than a long string of battles, one after another. Rather, there werein Baghdad, partly due to having two separate chains of shrapnel. Severtsgard was also torn up, with shrapnel in 650 articles published in the New York Times between long periods of inaction and indecision. Complex problemscommand. his leg and foot. With one hand he dragged Chandler from 1850 and 1877. Complementing these articles are timely and powerful sentiments meant pervasive uncertainty; And “Every night, images of civilian the kill zone into the kitchen.” and informative footnotes to explain vague allusions or dated comparisons. Included are spot-on choices from it is within this context that we should place not just our understanding of the Civil War, but of war and of warfare This book has something for Soldiers of all ranks. casualties were transmitted worldwide From leadership and decision making at the strategic level illustrations and engravings, and even a number of political in general. and how it affects Soldiers on the ground in the thick of cartoons that capture the flavor of the time. What we do on or above the battlefields – or on the via satellite and across the internet.” the fight, to close quarters combat at the squad level, this With the hardcover edition, they include a DVD-ROM scenes of a domestic response – of tomorrow will of course Mr. West also takes a look at how the U.S. lost the candid look at combat will help leaders understand what with (literally) every single article published by the paper have a profound effect on the Citizens we serve… and oninformation war to Al Jazeera and allowed them to shape they may one day face in person. during the war. While this represents an incredible body of their support, which we require in order to succeed. September 2011 | 20 October 2011 | 20
  10. 10. Professional ProfessionalDevelopment DevelopmentBookshelf: Bookshelf: Reviews of books that Reviews of books that teach us about our craft teach us about our craftBy Maj. John H. Alderman IV leaders as the battles unfolded.Public Affairs Office But can we really learn anything about the modern By Maj. John H. Alderman IV nutty and contradictory a language as ours).Georgia Department of Defense battlefield from an ancient battle? Absolutely. As a Public Affairs Office We may not like it, and we may not want our audience maneuver guy, I tend to think of forces as heavy or light; Georgia Department of Defense to care, but grammar and punctuation matter. Minor, non- recurring errors matter less. Glaring or frequent errors areA fast or slow; and using close combat or ranged weapons. A few thousand years ago, a large group of veteran In the old Maneuver paradigm, these are the old firepower- indicators (conscious or not) that the writer does not know Greek hoplites joined a Persian prince in a march speed-protection constraints. Anabasis shows that these sk five people to define leadership, and you’re what he is talking about. to capture the throne from his brother, the Persian constraints were at work in the ancient world, as well: The likely to have 10 definitions when you finally Even grammatical errors affect credibility in sometimesking. They made it almost to Babylon, where in a decisive slower, (more) heavily armored, close combat hoplites had cut off discussion. Yet, most would agree that unpredictable ways --- and, I think, the fear of this keepsbattle the Persians were defeated…but in the process the to devise new tactics against faster, lighter missile troops. leadership requires interaction between people. Leadership some leaders from communicating as often or as confidentlyPersian prince was killed and the victory made moot. What is especially useful to our professional therefore requires communication – and this slim little as they should.Those Ten Thousand then had to march a thousand miles development, however, is Xenophon’s central focus on volume is one of the most important and accessible works The bulk of Elements of Style is about grammar andthrough hostile territory to Greece, or face death, maiming, leadership. on the subject. usage, but it all drives toward higher-order questions ofor slavery. He characterizes leaders both good and bad; he explains Of course, it’s mostly about written communication. The composition. The goal is to get the basics down so we can Anabasis is the famous story of that difficult journey in detail the thought process necessary when making several book covers three main areas: Rules of usage, principles of focus on actually shaping communication for better effect.home. difficult decisions; and throughout Anabasis models the composition, and style. Strunk & White clarify common How many of us have ever been confused by an unclear This is a military classic, full of details of battles use of rhetoric and argument in making his points clear usage errors, help us understand how to compose for order? Or failed clearly to communicate our intentions? Orand personalities of the time. But more than that, it is an to Soldiers, to other generals, and to potential friends and greater effect, and help us suit that composition both to had cause to present a complex situation simply? Clearer,adventurous yarn with touches of epic storytelling that enemies. the rhetorical situation and to our own particular ways of more vigorous communication is key to good leadership.enliven, rather than belabor it. The author was a mid-level In modern times, we’re used to rejecting “mere doing things. Consider this passage from Elements of Style:officer at the start of the journey, and later elected to a key rhetoric” as trickery or a waste of time. But the real purpose “Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence shouldsenior position and was instrumental in getting the force of rhetoric is to focus and sharpen the effect of argument – “The act of composition disciplines the mind.” contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessaryback to Greece. Xenophon’s style is surprisingly engaging a skill all leaders need. sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should haveand personal, simple and direct. For that reason, this is a He also describes and codifies an ancient, constant I won’t be the first to argue that good writing and good no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.good choice if you’d like to learn more about warfare in thread in the philosophy of Western Warfare: Because we speaking are inescapably connected. And certainly, modern This requires not that the writer make all his sentencesthe ancient world. are free and fight for freedom, we are innately superior to leaders are required constantly to communicate up, down, short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only armies of the east who are forced to fight. Whether this is and sideways in the chain of command in both written and in outline, but that every word tell.” “The hoplites will run faster absolutely true or not, it’s worth considering as a source of oral formats. Sounds like great advice for orders and plans. and more cheerfully if I also strength and pride…and a difference we need to allow for Few things are as unnatural as reading. Consider what Communication is essential to leadership. If we are our pets must think as we sit for hours (or minutes!) on going to get this right – if we are going to develop ourselves am on foot leading the way.” when working with ally and enemy alike. end, staring at blocky objects covered in squiggly lines. Yet in this profession, not just serve time in a mere occupation Overall, Anabasis is a great opportunity to get a Large and small battles punctuate the story. More than detailed look at how our business was conducted in the somehow, those scratches of letters on the paper convey – we must also develop ourselves as leaders. This book ismere troop descriptions, however, the reader gets a true ancient world – and to hear a lively, real-world adventure ideas and emotions across time and space. Small wonder a great start in an important area – and a good companionsense of the thought processes of the Greeks and their along the way. A great read, too. that writing, then, could be so tricky (especially with as and reference throughout our careers. November 2011 | 20 December 2011 | 20
  11. 11. Professional ProfessionalDevelopment DevelopmentBookshelf: Bookshelf: Reviews of books that Reviews of books that teach us about our craft teach us about our craftBy Lt. William Carraway following the Tylenol poisonings.Media Relations Officer By contrast, Intel Corporation’s handling of complaints By Lt. William Carraway leadership on gunnery practice. The Army was interested inGeorgia Department of Defense following its 1994 Pentium Chip release demonstrate how Media Relations Officer determining the optimal number of shells to fire to maintain an organization can completely misunderstand potential Georgia Department of Defense proficiency.W second-order effects of its actions. In a study, one tank battalion was given the maximum hen I deployed to Afghanistan in 2009, a copy of Having paved the way with past examples, the authors A amount of practice rounds while another received fewer Ian Mitroff and Gus Anagnos’ book went with introduce the best practices model, the components of which book entitled The 60 Second Leader probably rounds and more time in the simulator. The units were me. I found that the observations of Mitroff and are stakeholders, types and risks of crises, mechanisms, doesn’t suggest in-depth analysis of the subtle then tested on the firing range to determine which trainingAnagnos had equal utility in the crucible of combat and the scenarios, and systems. Particularly interesting is the nuances of leadership; however, what the bookbusiness world. section on systems, which describes the factors that impact concedes in brevity it makes up for with bibliography. The academic lessons I had learned in crisis management corporate culture and how that corporate culture affects the Composed of 30 short chapters, the book offers briefbecame immediately relevant to the task of mentoringAfghan police and local government officials. At the same organization’s institutional defense mechanisms. Having established the model, the authors’ succeeding summaries of leadership lessons augmented by real- world anecdotes. Rather than “just another management “Take care of Soldiers andtime, the means of identifying and mitigating the effects ofcrises before they erupted was critical to platoon leadership chapters delve into something of a running dialogue on matters impacting crisis management. Mitroff and cliff notes book,” this work whets the appetite for further study. Each chapter provides sources for further reading. they will take care of you.”in battle and in garrison. Effective principles of crisis Anagnos imagine how Machiavelli, Sigmund Freud, Thus, the book offers the reader the opportunity to conduct -- C S .M .P S ommand gt aj hillip tringfieldmanagement may be applied whether the crisis is related Mahatma Ghandi and William James would counsel a crisis further economics, human endeavor, natural emergencies, or the manager. The manager is advised to avoid self-deception Don’t like a particular lesson? Forget it. All you’ve lostactions of enemy combatants. and counseled to seize the initiative by telling the truth and is a minute. But find something you really appreciate and approach was more effective. accepting responsibility. the author invites you to read further from a laundry list of The surprising result: Neither training strategy was“never, never assume the outside world will see a In one of the wiser counsels, the authors suggest the tomes on leadership, economics, and behavioral science. more effective. The units that fired the best were the onessituation exactly as you do.” crisis manager (or leader) “respond to the emotional needs Of particular relevance was the lesson that recounted with the best commanders. It was the commander who was of others as they perceive them not as (the leader) perceives Gen. Colin Powell’s observation of the effects of able to maximize the unit’s performance regardless of the The centerpiece of Mitroff and Anagnos’ book is a them” and to “never never assume the outside world will model for crisis management as presented in see a situation exactly as you do.” Powell concluded, “Leadership is the art ofchapter three. Chapters one and two lead up to this model In Afghanistan, there was often a wide gulf in how The 60-second PhD in leadership: accomplishing more than the science of management saysby establishing the inevitability of crises and reviewing problems were viewed by mentors and the Afghan forces. is possible.”previous examples of crisis management that achieved Being able to step back and analyze a crisis from different 1. Make a list of all things done to you that The book also shares the suggestion that all leadershipvarious degrees of success. perspectives allowed me to understand problems facing the you abhorred. is autobiographical and that great leaders must do three Beginning with the Tylenol poisonings of 1982 (roundly Afghan forces and apply outside-the-box solutions. 2. DON’T DO THEM TO OTHERS. EVER. things: Tell a compelling story about themselves, tell aconsidered to be the birth of modern crisis management) and At just 154 pages, the book is not an exhaustive study,moving forward, Mitroff and Anagnos offer case studies but it does provide nuggets for further reflection. Where 3. Make another list of things done to you compelling story about the organization and its mission, and make people feel that they are part of that story.of crisis management which illustrate how organizations the best-practices model is offered as a framework, the that you loved. At just 194 pages, the 60 Second Leader is a breeze tosuccessfully mitigated crises or were consumed by them. model by itself is not a crisis management panacea. As a 4. DO THEM TO OTHERS ALWAYS. read in short manageable sections. The book is availableJohnson & Johnson was noted for using prompt media tool, however, the model may be used as a starting point for – Dee Hock free on the AKO Library.engagement and swift action to address consumer fears organizations to conduct a self-audit of crisis preparedness. January 2012 | 20 February 2012 | 20