Silvana's Reviews > Battle Ready

Battle Ready by Tom Clancy
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's review
Dec 06, 2007

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bookshelves: military-history, nonfiction, the-olden-days, biogramoir, donated, used-to-own
Read in December, 2007

This is the first non-fiction work from Tom Clancy that I’ve read. It’s the fourth Commander books he’s written, after Into the Storm, Shadow Warrior and Every Man A Tiger. Each (like this one) is some kind of a semi-autobiography of a certain (retired) general from the US Armed Forces.

In Battle Ready, Clancy’s source is General Tony Zinni, a battle-hardened soldier who started his illustrious career in the US Marine. The book is divided into eight chapters, almost in parallel with his various assignments. I really enjoy the first five chapters of the book, because they offer a vivid, front-seat and astounding recollection of Zinni’s experiences in the Vietnamese jungles and swamps, Okinawa camps, Turkish/Northern Iraqi’s barren land and Somalia. Most of his duties were classified as Operations Other Than War (OOTW), that have been seen as the most advanced models for military-civil operations, peacekeeping and humanitarian missions. Zinni’s surely one of the US Armed Forces who is fortunate enough to excel in OOTW.

I guess I’m more into combat actions and field operations, so I felt kinda bored when I read the remaining chapters. As he kept getting steady promotions, Zinni became more involved in the more abstract, conceptual, management thingies. Yeah, I gotta admit he has numerous ideas – ranging from how to improve the Marine’s role to how the US military should deal with non-state actors – that are quite creative and carefully thought, however, too much reflections (self, institutional, global) got me dozed off a few times. Anyway, I still concur with his opinion that the US Government does not really have a grasp on their own New World Order concept. That is why US post-Cold War global engagements were not really succesful. Many lives have been saved throughout all those so-called humanitarian interventions, yes, but the real underlying problems: poverty, ethnic strife, religious fanaticism, corruption, totalitarianism and many more remain.

Zinni’s previous commands such as the Deputy Director of Operations, US European Command (EUCOM), Director of Operations, Somalia Task Force and Commanding General, I Marine Expeditionary Force, made him well-acquainted with diverse crises all over the world. After his retirement, he does not stop saving the world. He became a “warrior diplomat” who was involved in a variety of peacemaking efforts, most notably in Aceh, Pakistan and of course, the Middle East. That is so frickin’ cool. How this guy can absorb all the knowledge he has now and how he gets a knack of mastering both the arts of fighting and diplomacy is an alluring mystery to me.

Well, I reckon no matter how many times I got dozed off, this book still rocks. Not many people like Zinni in this world, that’s for sure, thus reading his memoir has a privilege of its own.

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