History

Insurgency in Chechnya and the North Caucasus, The

Book Title: The Insurgency in Chechnya and the North Caucasus
Author: Robert Schaefer
Reviewed by: Edward Cox
Genre: Non-fiction Sub-Category: History

ISBN (for Amazon store): 031338634X

The shocking events of the Moscow airport terrorist attack make it clear that the North Caucasus insurgency is still strong – despite the Kremlin’s announcement in 2008 that the conflict was “over.” Find out why Russia has been promised a “year of blood and tears” in 2011 and what this means for the Sochi Olympics in 2014. For the first time, a military expert on both Russia and insurgency offers the definitive guide on activities in Southern Russia, explaining why the Russian approach to counterterrorism is failing and why terrorist and insurgent attacks in Russia have sharply increased over the past three years.

The Insurgency in Chechnya and the North Caucasus: From Gazavat to Jihad is a comprehensive treatment of this 300 year-old conflict. Thematically organized, it cuts through the rhetoric to provide a contextual framework with which readers can truly understand the "why" and "how" of one of the world’s longest-running contemporary insurgencies, despite Russia's best efforts to eradicate it.

A fascinating case study of a counterinsurgency campaign that is in direct contravention of US and Western strategy, the book also examines the differences and linkages between insurgency and terrorism; the origins of conflict in the North Caucasus; and the influences of different strains of Islam, of al-Qaida, and of the War on Terror. A critical examination of never-before-revealed Russian counterinsurgency (COIN) campaigns explains why those campaigns have consistently failed and why the region has seen such an upswing in violence since the conflict was officially declared "over" less than two years ago.

The book's features include: information drawn from the North Caucasus Incident Database (NCID), compiling every violent incident in the region over a two-year period; charts showing the complex strategies of the insurgency and the Russian counterinsurgency campaigns; declassified intelligence reports; as well as maps and a bibliography. Presented through the lens of counterinsurgency theory, this incisive analysis explores the historic roots of each issue, the key players, and the farthest-reaching effects. It is the first doctrinal analysis (classified or unclassified) produced on the conflict in over 10 years and is already being used as a textbook at the Program on Terrorism and Security Studies at the Marshall Center.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Schaefer, Robert

Hearts and Minds: Uncovering the Wars of Ideas and Images Behind the Global War on Terror

Title: Hearts and Minds: Uncovering the Wars of Ideas and Images Behind the Global War on Terror
Author: Timothy S. McWilliams
Genre: Non-Fiction Sub-Category: History
Reviewed by: Terry Shoptaugh

ISBN (for Amazon store): 1460961544

During the Global War on Terror, multiple wars of ideas and images played out as belligerents and various competing political interests sought to influence multiple public spheres toward their desired political goals. At the same time, the international media played a vital role in framing the issues, debates, and events in the arena of ideas that accompanied the conflict. These wars of ideas and images had profound effects on domestic and international public opinion, which not only influenced events and operations during the conflict, but also threatened the outcome. This study traces these wars of ideas and images from the prewar debates following September 11, 2001 through military action in Afghanistan and Iraq. It not only examines how belligerents and various competing political interests sought to shape public opinion toward their political objectives during the Global War on Terror, but also examines both media performance on the battlefield and the media’s role in shaping public opinion, policy, and events during the war. As a foundation for understanding media’s role in modern wars of ideas, this study also provides a crucial examination of media’s influence on U.S public opinion and policy during important events in U.S. history, to include a fresh examination of media performance and influence during the 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam. This study is essential for anyone wanting to understand the wars of ideas and images that accompany military conflict and international crisis, the challenges of reporting combat, and the media’s power to influence public opinion and policy. Thoroughly researched and meticulously cited, this important multi-discipline study significantly contributes to the history and understanding to today’s conflicts.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
McWilliams, Timothy S.

Beasts of Buchenwald, The

General book info.

ISBN (for MWSA Amazon store): 1934980714

The crime and punishment story of how Nazi SS Colonel Karl Koch and his wife Ilse ran Buchenwald, the most infamous concentration camp of Nazi Germany, where evil reigned unchecked and the inconceivable was commonplace

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Whitlock, Flint

What Were They Thinking: A Fresh Look at Japan at War, 1941-45

General book info.

ISBN (for Amazon store): 0557043336

The military leadership of Japan, dominated by the ages-old clans of the samurai class, embarked on a war in 1941 believing that the Americans and British wouldn't fight, but they also knew that Japan could not win a prolonged war. If the West didn't quit, well, the Japanese had no contingency for that. So why did Japan start a war at all? This and other questions are addressed in this new book. Other topics include: With a few exceptions, the Japanese Army was not well equipped, but was trained to attack even if the situation was hopeless; the Japanese Navy was never adequate to the task required of it in the Pacific War and the merchant fleet was even wors; the Japanese air forces suffered from acute shortages throughout the conflict that were often the result of their industrial shortcomings. Beatty and Rochwerger discuss these and many other issues in this provocative and imaginative inquiry into Japan in World War II. Photos, index.

Author(s) Mentioned: 
Beatty, John D.
Rochwerger, Lee A.

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