A Children’s Illustrated Clausewitz in the Works?

My friend Drew Lewis recently brought to my attention an amusing post elsewhere at WordPress.  It seems that someone who calls himself “Caidid” and who has degrees in History, Studio Art, and International Relations has vowed to produce a children’s illustrated edition of On War; apparently he [she –Sorry!] is using the somewhat controversial Graham translation.  Caidid assures us that this project will actually come to fruition because he she has a “lifelong commitment to being one of those people who actually does those silly things you talk about doing but never do.”

Caidid has asked for our help over the course of the project in the form of feedback on graphics, ideas for graphics, commentary, etc.  I intend to give him her my help.  I hope that despite my help he she succeeds.

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Published in: on January 31, 2011 at 12:33 PM  Comments (4)  
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A Jihadist Manual on Intelligence

I recently posted an item over at the International Spy Museum blog that readers of this blog might find interesting.

I quote here the first paragraph of that posting:

A manual on intelligence captured during the course of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Coalition Forces offers a unique take on intelligence from a jihadist perspective.  Coalition forces found copies of the 300-some page manual on intelligence at Al Qaeda-associated facilities, notably at the Kandahar home of Mohammed Atef (aka Abu Hafs al-Masri), Al Qaeda’s military chief until his death in November 2001.  This particular manual was written not by Al Qaeda but by a group that was once ideologically aligned with it, the Egyptian Islamic Group (EIG).  EIG has since renounced violence.  However, this document, which probably dates to the late 1980s or early 1990s remains behind as a snapshot of the views of elite Arab jihadists about the world of intelligence at the time. …

Published in: on January 31, 2011 at 12:15 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Carey Schofield on the Pakistani Army

I am really excited that Carey Schofield has a book coming out next year on the Pakistani Army.  [Correction:  Coming out THIS year, August 1, 2011, to be exact.  Apparently I missed this thing called “New Year.”]  Entitled Inside the Pakistani Army: A Woman’s Experience on the Frontline of the War on Terror, it promises to be a useful augmentation to the literature on the Pakistani Army and a good read.  (To be honest, I found Shuja Nawaz’s Crossed Swords so intimidating that I haven’t started it.  Instead, I loaned it to a friend so that it doesn’t stare at me reproachfully from my bookshelf.)

Why do I think that Schofield’s book will be so good?  Because her 1993 The Russian Elite: Inside Spetsnaz and the Airborne Forces was amazing. This book came out at a time when the Russian airborne forces were of great interest to all of us who were following the Russian military, its role in politics, and its responses to unrest in Russia and in the so-called Russian “near-abroad.”  While we were all looking from the outside, Schofield had managed to get literally inside the airborne, visiting most of the units and befriending many of its officers.  (She also notably befriended Alexander Lebed, not an airborne officer, though his little brother Aleksey was, who later entered politics and became Russia’s national security adviser.  We have him to blame for the lingering silliness about”suitcase nukes.”)  Her book really gave a sense of the people and the environment of this important force at a pivotal time in history.  It appears that she’s done much the same with for her Pakistan book.  The blurb on Amazon says “She spent five years with the Pakistan army, accompanying them on maneuvers and getting to know key figures from junior soldiers to [Army chief General] Kayani himself. For five years, she travelled everywhere with them.  They even had a uniform made for her.”

Schofield’s book had far more of the human element in it than Dave Glantz’s 1994 A History of Soviet Airborne Forces  or Steve Zaloga’s 1995 Inside the Blue Berets: A Combat History of Soviet & Russian Airborne Forces , 1930-1995.  It was also far more of a snapshot in time than a history.  They were all fine books, of course.  Glantz’ book was his usual detailed operational history focusing on World War II and Zaloga’s was much more a history of oriented on weapons and unit organizations.  (For a review of all three published in the Journal of Slavic Military Studies by then Lieutenant Colonel Les Grau, see here.)  Despite their many qualities, the one that my colleagues and I kept coming back to and discussing, the one with the real “wow” factor” was Carey Schofields.  (As an aside, her other book, the 1991 Inside the Soviet Military is similarly good.  It is, however, much broader in scope.  Basically, you can think of it as a “day in the life of the Soviet military” in 1991, with photos appropriate for a coffee-table book.)

I have often wondered what became of Carey Schofield and I’m delighted to hear that she’s still in the business.  If it lives up to my expectations, Inside the Pakistani Army should be of great interest to military historians, people interested in South Asia, and people following the progress of the Af-Pak struggle against jihadism.

Published in: on January 3, 2011 at 4:30 AM  Leave a Comment  
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