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How to Lose a War: More Foolish Plans and Great Military Blunders
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How to Lose a War: More Foolish Plans and Great Military Blunders

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  82 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
From the Crusades to the modern age of chemical warfare and smart bombs, history is littered with truly disastrous military campaigns. How to Lose a War chronicles some of the most remarkable strategic catastrophes and doomed military adventures of overreaching invaders and clueless defenders—whether the failure was a result of poor planning, miscalculations, monumental eg ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published August 11th 2009 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published July 28th 2009)
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Jul 04, 2015 rated it liked it
The low rating on this book has less to do with the book as to with the uneven nature of these type of book. This book is a series of essays on various wars. Some of them are very well written, very easy to comprehend and are easy to follow the reasoning of the author in choosing this as an example of how to lose a war. Others aren't as good, although it is fair to say none of them are just plain bad. Of course some of the essays don't have the same appeal as others. It is unlikely that all of t ...more
David Sarkies
Apr 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People who like a bit of history
Recommended to David by: Dunno
Shelves: history
Another laugh at historical idiots
1 April 2013

I used to like these kind of books, namely books about various blunders and mistakes in history, but I guess after this one they were all starting to become bland and boring. Okay, as an historian I am always interested in the cause and effect of certain events, but I guess I also look at a more grander scale than do many of these writers. I suspect that these books are generally not written for people like me but rather for the average person who h
Feb 13, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: military, history, humor
Very good essays about major and minor conflicts, edited by Bill Fawcett. Sometimes it's difficult to find the military blunder. Sometimes the blunder is well compensated for. Sometimes the blunder punctuates an otherwise lengthy string of successes. I guess hindsight is 20/20.

I realized that I knew absolutely nothing about Vietnam. The section on Vietnam was very good. The military blunders appear to be mainly political. The Marines (see p 31)were actually ahead of their time, utilizing strateg
Warren Gossett
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book summarises the sometimes unnoted reasons why wars are lost. Of course there is always room for debate still. The wars and conflicts covered range from the Athens-Sparta war (431-404 BC) to Desert Storm in Iraq (1990-1991). Wars fail often for the most human of reasons. We must avoid them and the death and destruction they cause if we can. I make a comparison of the human reasons a war fails with problems in gentler areas. Such as: why did I miss the party? Should I have even gone to th ...more
Sep 11, 2009 rated it it was ok
This is another in a long line of "why the ordinary person is not interested in history" books. First of all, it's a compilation so as a whole it is hit-or-miss. Some of the chapters are quite interesting while others are mind numbing. The biggest complaint I have though is that the authors for the most part assume that you already have a working knowledge of whatever subject they are writing about. As such there is what I consider a great deal of background information that should've been inclu ...more
James Patterson
Mar 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
I really really want to like this book. It has a couple of excellent chapters. But the fact that it has multiple authors and an editor means it just isn't consistent. Some of the chapters are hopelessly lost in the minutiae of roman military tactics and flanking movements...others are even more technical and dull. As I mentioned, a couple of chapters, especially the ones on modern wars are fairly good. But mostly this book was a slog.
Apr 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Much less about gaffs and blunders than actual factual reasons (not silly ones) on how to lose a war. Example: Inability to adapt. A cultural reason. Not a blunder, just how to lose a war. I had wanted blunders and silliness. A good book if that is what you want.
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: military-history, fun
BLUF: This is a good primer for anyone interested in warfare practice and theory.

This book takes the complicated and sophistication of war and dumbs it down into layman terms. I used it as a primer to study the topics within in detail. It's also a good second rate general reference.
Stephanie Kelley
Sep 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a thing for history and this guy is just so funny ... clearly the best part of the book was the chapter on the Mau Mau Rebellion. Tears of laughter.
Jim C.
Dec 14, 2009 is currently reading it
Recommends it for: Anyone
How history could have been different if timing for events was just a little different.
Nov 11, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: history-politics
Steven Raszewski
Jan 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Some good stories/points.
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very entertaining read!
Jan Dumas
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Sam Hix
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Aug 05, 2018
Clockwork Green
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Mar 20, 2014
Hans Marius
Jan 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Funny, thought provoking. What NOT to do.
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Dec 24, 2009
Jonathan Rea
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Apr 12, 2013
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Bill Fawcett has been a professor, teacher, corporate executive, and college dean. His entire life has been spent in the creative fields and managing other creative individuals. He is one of the founders of Mayfair Games, a board and role-play gaming company. As an author, Fawcett has written or coauthored over a dozen books and dozens of articles and short stories. As a book packager, a person wh ...more