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.)



Jim said...

Glad to see they're back. I read the series years ago, and found them most interesting. It appears I'll have to revisit them.

shugyosha said...

As a general rule, I only get near Castaglia with a 10' nagamaki _and_ a shield. Still, this tempts me.

Take care. Merry Christmas in case we don't read each other till then

Larry said...

Just bought it. I'd just finished reading Tom Kratman and Vox Day's Riding the Red Horse which is similar in concept.

Steffen said...

Castalia isn't scary. They merely sell books.

Big Boys Don't Cry impressed me, and if you enjoyed any Bolo stories, I'd say it's a instant buy. I'll welcome any new books from the Baen/indie end of the spectrum at this point. Decent readable science fiction was starting to become difficult to find for a while.

shugyosha said...


You could say the same about Tor. And those I'd only touch with napalm.

Take care

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 10:17 PM: That virus is not developed by "our heroes" but by the Chicoms. I did not care for how the Africans in that story were characterized, but you are distorting the facts.