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Tactics Of Mistake (Childe Cycle #4)

4.19  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,247 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
Essef - A novel in the Dorsai trilogy. The men of the Dorsai were the finest fighting soldiers in the universe. But not even the Dorsai could anticipate the effect of Cletus Grahame's brilliant mind and the galaxy shaking theory he called "The Tactics of Mistake".
Paperback, 238 pages
Published 1981 by Sphere Books (first published 1971)
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Simon Mcleish
Feb 12, 2013 Simon Mcleish rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in February 2004.

Though Dickson himself is keen that the three novels generally known as the Dorsai Trilogy should be considered to be part of the far larger framework of his Chantry Guild future history of which they form part, there are few science fiction fans who would not feel that Tactics of Mistake, Soldier, Ask Not and Dorsai! are far more interesting and readable than their fellows. The reason for this is simple: Dickson later on let his writing beco
Chris Maguire
I enjoyed the timelessness of this book; Dickson didn't dwell too much on what the differences were in technology and race, but rather on the existence of differences: different groups had different attitudes, different technology had different benefits, etc.

I found the book a little optimistic though; everything works out just the way Cletus plans and I've just never seen that happen in the real world. Life happens. Armies and leaders are often plagued with unforeseen circumstances, mistakes a
Aug 26, 2015 Ashley rated it liked it
At the same time as Starship Troopers came out, Gordon R. Dickson’s Dorsai! series was first serialised in Astounding Science Fiction magazine, which told the story of a genetic super soldier whose story is about what it takes to command troops in war. The genetics under pinning the novel are simplistic, which is not Dickson’s fault, as our understanding of how genotypes are the expressed in a person’s phenotype is far greater now than it was then.

From a military perspective there are many thing
Christopher Gordon
Mar 24, 2011 Christopher Gordon rated it liked it
Dry, interesting concept, early example of military sci-fi world building. Could have done with a sense of humor. An early influence on Enders Game. Fantastic artwork. A minor classic.
John Olsen
Jan 11, 2014 John Olsen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was really well thought out and planned. I thought the story could have ended well around 80% of the way through, but the rest really buttoned up the story from beginning to end.

Cletus Grahame is a decorated military tactician with big goals and the vision to make things go his way. I like how the tactics fall into place, and how there is always the larger game being played which is easy to lose track of temporarily until it's pointed out that Cletus really is playing the long game wit
Nov 04, 2010 Zare rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cletus Graeme is a military prodigy, man so immersed into warfare and strategy that he has devised his own combat system using experiences from numerous conflicts in the past. His approach is what might be called holistic - he takes all parameters into account (cultural/social, psychological and of course military) and using them he "enters the opponents mind" (very much like Admiral Thrawn will do in Star Wars universe) and claims victory.[return][return]He is aware that human colonies have to ...more
Roddy Williams
‘Planets were the pawns in their quest for power.

The men of the Dorsai were the finest fighting soldiers in the universe, mercenary troops without equal.

Their talents were devastatingly employed on Kultis, where a bloody little war raged between the Western Alliance and the Eastern Coalition. But not even the Dorsai could anticipate the dramatic effect of Cletus Grahame’s brilliant mind and the galaxy-shaking theory he called ‘the Tactics of Mistake’.

The story of how Cletus Grahame risked his li
Like Dorsai, this book is long on interesting ideas, and short on characterization, although I think you get into the head of the main character a little better in this one.

The hero of the story, Cletus Graeme, effectively forces the independence of the settled worlds from the domination of Earth (which eventually leads to the specialization of Dorsai, the topic of the other book). He forces their independence by engaging is a small series of battles that steadily lead toward that goal.

I have to
Bruno Di Giandomenico
Beautiful Dorsail

The beginning of the fortunes of Dorsai as a military power in the Chylde cycle.
Learn about Cletus Graheme, and he literally founded Dorsai and what the Dorsai were. A beautiful pièce of narrative, fast paced and never relaxing.
Maybe the character are not the best, the schema is the same as other Dorsai books, powerful personalities clashing, but it is really good.
Christopher Sutch
Aug 07, 2010 Christopher Sutch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Weoo plotted and well executed, if following the same pattern as the previous Childe Cycles novels. There is much of interest here: a novel, written during the height of the Vietnam War about how to win a war without losing any troops (either your own or your enemies), the importance of "Eastern philosophies" to becoming a whole person, etc. While Dickson still has yet to reach his greatest peak as a writer this novel gets us closer to that time. The role of women is still practically nonexisten ...more
mark mathurin
Apr 06, 2015 mark mathurin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Once again Dickson, like his timeless protagonist savant, emerges victorious with this work of literature so eloquently designed. Easy to see why his peers wrote such praises
Durval Menezes
I have read this book a long time ago (10 years or more) but remember absolutely nothing about it, so it must have been pretty unremarkable (therefore the 2-stars rating).
Andrew Lawston
Given the premise, the lack of humour surprised me, and then irritated me, and then bored me. Patrons of Hammersmith charity shops should keep their eyes open if they're at all interested, this one's going back into circulation.
Scott Davis
I read somewhere this is suppose to be his most well known book?
In short, a military theorist, has super natural tactics. How to set the worlds free!
Apr 13, 2014 Thomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this a long time ago - 1973 ish. Yet I still remembered the ending and a great amount of the middle, after only the first chapter. Fun
Flyss Williams
Feb 12, 2015 Flyss Williams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cletus Graham, military genius and tactician, creates a mercenary army capable of winning any battle, but what's his ultimate aim? Money, freedom, power, love?
Mark Terry
May 30, 2016 Mark Terry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Early roots of the Dorsal. Good early sf.
Alvaro Espírito Santo
In my humble opinion, the best book in Childe Cycle.
Jun 02, 2014 Jimmacc rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book
Oct 23, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's a lot more action in this book compared to the last one. We've also gone back in time, a century before the first book, to learn about the origins & the real strength of the Dorsai. A good, quick read with a neat ending.

The series is still going strong. On to the next book, The Spirit of Dorsai.
Jan 02, 2008 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
A theoretical tactical genius goes into the field to prove his theories of tactics and of history.

I enjoy this book a lot, but it doesn't really have anything more stunning than what you would expect from its description. Its purpose within the Childe Cycle is to set up the independent human worlds, particular Dorsai. The one female character is weak, which unfortunately is fairly common in the Childe Cycle books.
Read this because it showed up as a serial in Analog magazine, which I read regularly around the time it was published. Setup novel for the Dorsai series by this author--which became part of the Childe Cycle. I would have missed something very fine if I had stuck to my juvenile prejudice against stories about soldiers and/or war. I think I had to give it 4 stars just because it got me started on the Dorsai.
Frank Roberts
Short on characterization; the lead character proves to be just a little too brilliant and superhuman--besides physical shortcomings, he never experiences a setback or mistake. But the ideas were interesting and it was fun watching the protagonist manipulate the situations.
Carl Afk
Tactics of mistake was a truly amazing book. It was filled with tactics of course, and intense dialogue intended to confuse you. There were some interesting concepts within this book. It's not just an sf novel, it's a legit Odyssey of a badass.
Walter Herrick
Jan 06, 2014 Walter Herrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A much better book than the 3rd book!
Jan 12, 2010 Joshua rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books of all time, I've had to buy three copies because I've read them so much that the bindings break and the book falls apart. Truly a wonderful adventure of military science fiction!
Steven Peterson
Sep 09, 2010 Steven Peterson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cletus Graeme is a scholar who tests his ideas in an action setting. He leads a group of soldiers of fortune and attempts to defeat the powerful. Interesting work. . . .
Sep 24, 2012 Eija rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sota taktikointia. Pääosassa taktikoinnin nero, ärsyttävä miekkonen. Aihe ei ollut kiinnostava, juoni suoraviivainen ja typerä.
Sep 22, 2013 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This book was a bit better than the last. I like how he has built the world piece by piece, taking stories from different times.
Godi Martinez
Nov 18, 2013 Godi Martinez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my all time favorites. For all of us who grew up before Call of Duty. This was one of the reasons I love to read.
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Gordon Rupert Dickson was an American science fiction author. He was born in Canada, then moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota as a teenager. He is probably most famous for his Childe Cycle and the Dragon Knight series. He won three Hugo awards and one Nebula award.

More about Gordon R. Dickson...

Other Books in the Series

Childe Cycle (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Dorsai! (Childe Cycle, #1)
  • Necromancer (Childe Cycle, #2)
  • Soldier, Ask Not (Childe Cycle, #3)
  • Spirit of Dorsai (Childe Cycle, #5)
  • Lost Dorsai (Childe Cycle, #6)
  • The Final Encyclopedia (Childe Cycle, #7)
  • The Dorsai Companion (Childe Cycle, #8)
  • The Chantry Guild (Childe Cycle, #9)
  • Young Bleys (Childe Cycle, #10)
  • Other (Childe Cycle, #11)

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“Trouble rather the tiger in his lair than the sage among his books. For to you kingdoms and their armies are things mighty and enduring, but to him they are but toys of the moment, to be overturned with the flick of a finger.” 14 likes
“More blood’s been spilled by the militant adherents of prophets of change than by any other group of people down through the history of man.” 2 likes
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