Monday, December 21, 2015
A really important book for troubled times like ours
Back in the Cold War era (which was all too frequently a pretty damned hot war for those of us involved!), Jerry Pournelle's 'There Will Be War' series of anthologies focused on analyzing military conflict, providing answers, insight and food for thought to its readers. There were nine volumes in all, and I found them very interesting in my younger days. They contained a mixture of fiction (both contemporary and sci-fi), factual articles concerning aspects of warfare that were of current interest (usually written by experts in the field[s] concerned), and editorial comment from Dr. Pournelle and others.
With the end of the Cold War, publication ceased . . . but I'm glad to say that was only temporary. Castalia House has worked with Dr. Pournelle to produce a brand-new volume in the series, 'There Will Be War, Volume X', which is published today.
It's also begun re-publishing the first nine volumes. Kindle (e-book) editions of the first four volumes are available now, at greatly reduced prices compared to the (out-of-print) originals, and paper volumes will follow if there's sufficient demand. (Try Volume 1 for a vintage taste of how war appeared not so long ago, and follow the links there for the other volumes.) At only $4.99 for any of them, including the latest volume, they're a steal. The earlier volumes may seem a little dated in modern terms, but the insights they contain are still valuable, IMHO.
In the headline to this article I called Volume X "A really important book for troubled times like ours". I really believe that. Too many people have become ossified in their thinking about warfare and conflict. This new volume will challenge them, and all of us, to review our assumptions and preconceptions about modern warfare. (For example, Dr. Pournelle's son, Cdr. Phillip Pournelle USN, is a naval surface warfare expert and contributes a very interesting article to the latest anthology.) I think Castalia House has rendered an important public service in re-publishing the series as a whole, and revitalizing it with new editions (Volume XI is already in preparation).
I highly recommend this book to all my readers. In an era of unconventional conflict and so-called 'fourth-generation warfare' such as ours, it'll help to pull our heads out of the sand and keep us alert to the changing security situation in which we live. (And no, I'm not being compensated in any way for recommending it: I do so out of profound respect for Dr. Pournelle and his accomplishments and contributions, and out of personal interest in the field.)