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2034: A Novel of the Next World War

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3.82  ·  Rating details ·  4,001 ratings  ·  525 reviews
From two former military officers and award-winning authors, a chillingly authentic, geopolitical thriller that imagines a naval clash between the US and China in the South China Sea in 2034--and the path from there to a nightmarish global conflagration.

On March 12, 2034, US Navy Commodore Sarah Hunt is on the bridge of her flagship, the guided missile destroyer USS John P
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Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 9th 2021 by Penguin Press
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Yang Ji Just read to wired published part, the about 75% of the story. The remaining does not make sense and quite rubbish

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Average rating 3.82  · 
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Yang Ji
Mar 10, 2021 rated it it was ok
(Update: *I have somewhat changed my mind on the book, rating this book from 1star to 2stars after watching an interview to see where the authors were coming from in writing this book. They write the book to serve a cautionary tale (not as a "techno military thriller") to warn us about a confrontation between nuclear countries could quickly go out of control. But you still WILL get bogged down by the technical aspects of the "wars" which did not make sense at all. So still poorly written my crit ...more
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
Growing up in a time where the threat of nuclear war between the US and Russia was a daily worry, I was well prepared for the story Mr Ackerman was going to tell. He and his co-writer, Admiral James Stavridis were certainly two men who were more than capable of looking into and describing how this third world war could start and end.

As always, there are no real winners in war just piles of bodies and people bereft because of loss and fear. As this war begins, it is the US and China where it star
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Jonathan
May 07, 2021 rated it it was ok
Let's be clear; this is no Tom Clancy Red Storm Rising level of work.

The writing and plot itself are fairly interesting and a different take on 3rd World War books. The characters, though, are pretty one-dimensional. There are no actual battle scenes either until the very end, which is a real shame. The premise of a battle gets set up, and then we change perspective, and once we are back to where the battle happened, it has already gone down. Only having one battle scene puts a lot of weight on
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Monica
Just know that when the smoke clears, one nation gets reduced to a middle to low income country, another rises as an economic, political and military super power and millions upon millions of people around the globe are left dead, displaced or deathly ill.

Four stars rather than five because the ending is rushed and full of holes, not something you want in a novel whose expressed purpose is to warn readers of the potential profound and far-reaching consequences of leaving geopolitical conflicts,
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Kay
A frightening concept when your enemies have cyber capabilities to take down all your communications, and hack your fighter jets. 2034, had my full attention for over half of the book then it fizzles.
Staś
Feb 12, 2021 rated it did not like it
just ridiculous, I don't know why Wired did that to me. I'm not subscribing it to be getting some mediocre political fiction, one more story about whole world against America... ah apart from India, New Delhi 13 years from now will be modern metropolis with clean streets, how? because they defeated Pakistan in 10 days, that solved all India's problems... ...more
Carlex
Jun 15, 2021 rated it liked it
Three and a half stars

Good ideas and a development that manages to surprise the reader. The novel does well what it wants to explain: necessarily in a simplified way, by means of a few characters, a conflict between the USA and China and its repercussions worldwide.
Robert Morris
Mar 13, 2021 rated it liked it
About a quarter of the way through I actively hated this book. Having finished it though, I very much respect the effort, and I am impressed by the two men who chose to write it.

I think the problem is one of marketing, or perhaps just my misunderstanding of the marketing. What I really wanted to read was a semi-serious analysis of what a third world war might plausibly look like. Something along the lines of early Tom Clancy or 2015's far, far superior Ghost Fleet by P.W. Singer and August Cole
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Kevin F Seyler
Mar 18, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not what I expected

Given the credentials of the authors, I was quite disappointed by this piece.
I read a lot in this genre and was amazed by the lack of any attempt at technical explanation behind the major events in the story.
EG: three American ships are destroyed without firing a shot after being rendered totally dead by a magic cyber weapon that China employs. All comms, all sensors, all weapon systems everything gone in a flash. So what does the US Navy do? You won’t believe it either.
After
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Paul
Nov 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good stuff. An imaginative story using present-day facts combined with the authors’ years working at the highest levels of national security creates a cautionary tale that presents the reader a dark yet possible future. The authors do a good of job depicting the costs of geopolitical disagreement, while not concentrating on hardware like most military thrillers. Some of the more exciting scenarios occur offstage. This might be best for readers seeking a realistic look at how a future world war m ...more
Garret Macko
Jan 20, 2021 marked it as to-read
The principle subject of this month’s Wired magazine issue—seems fascinating.
Robyn
Jun 07, 2021 rated it liked it
2034: A NOVEL OF THE NEXT WORLD WAR

I had to start this two different times to get into it. The first, I guess I just wasn't ready to read it and the second time, it took. I was clearly afraid I was going to DNF it, just because I couldn't get my interest up.

The story is set in the future, and so there is always the chance that something similar to it might occur. Clearly, America is dependent on the grid and Internet and if that were to fail, then we might be in a pickle much like the author im
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Robert
Mar 28, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
I wanted a war book like Red Storm Rising. I read the Wired excerpt by mistake. I thought it would be articles about a real-life possible war with China which is why I bought it. After finding out it was an excerpt, I still read it and was hooked. I eagerly waited for the book to come out so I could read it. That is when the disappointment set in.

For a war between China and the United States this book was woefully short on the war part. The book itself is also too short. The excerpt in Wired is
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Bryan Alexander
2034 is a thriller about a future war between the United States and China.

It's in the tradition of military warning fiction, stories aimed at convincing a government or public to take steps against an impending danger. Think of Conan Doyle's "Danger!" (1914), which warned Britain of a looming submarine war threat, or general John Hackett's The Third World War (1978/82), which urged NATO to expand its defenses against a Soviet attack. 2034 is aimed at the United States, calling on the country to
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Martin
May 01, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is just sad.

Here we go. The United States sends some ships through the South China Sea to challenge Chinese sovereignty and the Chinese torpedo the US ships. Well this doesn’t sit well with the United States, so they send more ships into the area. Once again, the Chinese torpedo all the U.S. navy ships. Well now the U.S. is really, really upset and nuke a Chinese city. The Chinese are so upset they seek revenge by nuking San Diego, CA and Galveston, Texas. Etc….etc…etc

In the mean time
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Joe
As the subtitle declares, 2034 is a novel about "the Next World War." Following an incident in the South China Sea between the Chinese and American navies, events begin to cascade into...something much worse. With two military veterans (one of whom has received numerous literary accolades) serving as co-authors, I was more than excited to dig into this speculative fiction read.

Unfortunately, authors Elliot Ackerman and James Stavridis seem hellbent on violating the "Show, Don't Tell" cardinal r
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Branko Jeličić
Mar 28, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not exactly Tolstoy but Wow, wow, wow for the plot. Admiral makes it believable. First chapter is BANG, 2nd one is BANG, BANG....

It is a pity the writer did not put more effort into building characters, the plot is great, but needs more flavour around it
SoulSurvivor
Very readable book by two long-time servicie members that paints the picture of America during a third world war. Some real scenarios are suggested that are quite possible given the state of our relationships with China and Russia in particular.
Akshat Upadhyay
May 26, 2021 rated it it was ok
After the Wired magazine featured excerpts from this novel, in fact dedicated an entire issue exclusively to it, my interest was piqued. After all, it was Wired. Plus I had heard Admiral Stavridis's name in relation to the Fletcher School (he is well known in the strategic community). So I went in expecting the equivalent of Dragonfire from Humphrey Hawksley but have been heavily disappointed.

First of all, the hubris.

It is one thing to believe that the US equals the entire world, but another to
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Rob Saunders
May 18, 2021 rated it liked it
I generally give a book 100 pages to engage me or I move on. Approaching this "go/no-go" point, I found the book far-fetched, stereotypical, and enervating. I imagined an ending either completely obvious or completely ridiculous. (Take your pick.) I was ready to return to my TBR pile. As if on cue, however, the tension and philosophical imperatives swelled enough to make me want to know how it all ended.

The book is sensible enough and deserves to be read as an entertaining thriller. The word "N
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Jeff Stanley
Mar 11, 2021 rated it it was ok
I was excited given the reviews by the press, but found the read more along the lines of pure fiction, more along the lines of a laughable military movie (and I was in the Marines) than a "this is what could happen" type of book. I disagree with the favorable comparisons of "The Third World War" by Sir John Hackett.... the basic simplicity of the writing, the premise of the vast difference in technical capabilities and even the incongruities of the initial encounter with the boat.

Reminds me mor
...more
Friedlander Heidi
Jun 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
I recognize the merits of the many critical reviews written about this novel. In my opinion, what it lacks in execution it makes up for in concept. I enjoyed the opportunity to imagine how the existing world order May realign in my lifetime. The characters allowed a glimpse into The Who what and how of high level military operations in a cyber infused world.
Zeb Kantrowitz
Jan 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook, edleweiss-read
Imagine if the Red Chinese were able to block all relevant electronic emissions so that all communications in the US so that all plane avionics, naval communications and telecom control became useless. What if you couldn't fly because all of your computer systems were dead, so that you had no working radar or sonar or satellite communication. That's the premise of the start of this book. The part about sabotaging all of our computers systems is plausible, the after effect has many iterations, th ...more
Mike
Mar 18, 2021 rated it it was ok
If you are satisfied with a cotton candy beach read with a fair amount of navy and marine action, then this book could do the trick. The plot is implausible, the characters are wooden, even the military info is obviously not accurate and is coming from a four-star admiral no less who was the head of NATO. This same admiral and co-author in an interview after the audiobook admits that he wrote the book to highlight the vulnerability of the cyber-world in which we live. Fine, maybe a nice essay or ...more
Roopinder Singh
Jun 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
A conflict that realigns the world order, with millions of dead; an inevitable trajectory of hubris, exceptionalism and nationalist jingoism makes the story painfully plausible. No matter which way you read it — a work of fiction, a position paper, a warning — ‘2034’ is exciting and disturbing. The authors are distinguished former US military officers, both with several books under their belt. Naturally, they write with authority about sailors and soldiers under arms and strategies of war.

The So
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Diana X. Moga
Military people tucked away in high-level staff sections love to speculate on the imminent threat of China. Authors Elliot Ackerman and Admiral James Stavridis have confronted that collective sense of forboding with the narrative, 2034: A Novel of The Next World War. They don’t pull punches on what war with China would mean. It’s not a happy ending.

The story centers around an ensemble of characters and spans five years, starting with the sinking of American naval vessels by a Chinese carrier bat
...more
Alex Nagler
Feb 21, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: war, fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robert
May 17, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a novel that imagines a conflict in the near future between China and the U.S. and ultimately is brokered (through violence) by India. I had hoped it would draw on its authors' substantial military expertise in offering a more realistic and plausible account of how such a conflagration would transpire, but there is a lot of generic characterization here and some very silly renderings of knife-edge international crisis. So this is a beach read, and all right in that sense, but not a serio ...more
William Nist
Jun 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
What pushes this thriller up to the five star category is its PLAUSIBILITY. You could be advance reading your favorite news website! But let's hope not, for this is a story of blundering into a nuclear war by way of geopolitical situations (current) that escalate in a way that we can understand even if we sincerely hope that smarter people are actually in control.

The theaters involved are the South China Sea, and the Straights of Hormuz. The players are the US, China, Iran and India. The conclu
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kathy
May 28, 2021 rated it liked it
2 1/2 rounded up. It started out with some clever but obvious war strategies involving technological warfare which has been in the works for some time. The twist was how far behind the U.S. is with cyber security and blocking tech attacks. I tend not to see the U.S. as weak but we are already behind.

Did not like or appreciate the ending.. it's ceded America's power to a 3rd world country and ended with the premise that a democracy like America can be cultivated anywhere. I don't think so.
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Elliot Ackerman served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and is the recipient of the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for Valor, and the Purple Heart. A former White House Fellow, his essays and fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, and Ecotone, among others. He currently lives in Istanbul and writes on the Syrian Civil War

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