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The Persian Gulf War
General's Debrief

This inside view of the battle between high U.S. command officers in the conflict with Iraq is a fascinating and sustained analysis of the friction that takes place in real warfare.   Writer Gordon teams with retired Marine General Bernard Trainor to record the struggles of the generals of the combined services in their endeavour to plan and execute the massive 500,000-troop movement that achieved the short and stunning victory over Iraqi forces.   An important question is posed:  Why didn't the Generals press on to dismantle the Republican Guard of Saddam Hussein, and what were the consequences of their decision against such an act?   The Air Force strategy called for constant precision bombing in the heart of Baghdad. Over 30 days of bombing weakened but did not finish off the enemy.    The land attack, whose success was clearly foreshadowed, was concluded too soon and allowed Hussein to keep the Republican Guard intact.   The authors believe that the cautious philosophy of General Colin Powell and the eagerness of General Norman Schwarzkopf to get out with an Army victory, combined with the decision of President Bush and his advisers, led to the unfortunate staying power of Saddam Hussein.   The final conclusion is undeniable -- the gate had not been closed in Iraq, and this book explains why.

This comprehensive reference collects the facts, figures, and faces of the Gulf War into a single reliable volume.    Leyden constructs a comprehensive chronology of the war, providing daily records of important diplomatic and military manoeuvres. 90 b&w photos. 45 maps. 25 tables.
Whereas most books on the Gulf War tell an "inside story" based on someone else's opinion, Andrew Leyden's Gulf War Debriefing Book: An After Action Report lets the reader draw his or her own conclusions about the war by providing a meticulous review of events and documentation.   The Gulf War Debriefing Book lists all the military units deployed (both active duty, reserve and guard), provides a detailed account of the primary weapons used during the war, and gives a look at the pole, places and politics behind the military manoeuvring.   This is a comprehensive resource featuring a day-by-day chronology of the military, diplomatic, international, and domestic events that took place during Operation Desert Shield/Storm and allows the reader to reflect on some important post-war facts as well.   No Gulf War military reference collection should be without the Gulf War Debriefing Book on its shelves.

Atkinson wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning series of articles on the West Point class of 1966 -- articles that in due course became The Long Gray Line (1989).   Here, he turns in a dramatic history of the Gulf War -- entering the thoughts of a number of aviators and jumping from dateline to dateline, so that his narrative fairly zips along.   It's a technique designed for many readers, but Atkinson was on the ground in the Gulf War and draws from "more than 500" interviews; his documentation -- and atmospherics -- are impressive.   In between the human stories, he sandwiches contemporary history: the development of the Stealth bomber, for example, and of U.S. pre- and postwar policies toward Saddam Hussein.   He feels the war was neither a moral crusade nor a vainglorious exercise.   It was a limited war, brilliantly planned and fought, which attained limited objectives.   As for untold stories, there are a number here -- of British difficulties in the air war and of the ordeals of downed aviators David Eberly and Thomas Griffith.   The most revisionist untold story may be the portrait of General Norman Schwarzkopf, whose theatrics and concern for his soldiers' lives Atkinson appreciates, but whose snappiness with senior officers he finds questionable; Schwarzkopf also consistently overestimated the strengths of the Iraqi army.   Atkinson does the surrender scene magisterially, but his is, for the most part, simply the tale of Americans -- not Iraqis -- at war; a good scholarly companion might be Lawrence Freedman and Efraim Karsh's The Gulf Conflict, 1990-1991.

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