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Learning To Eat Soup With a Knife : Counterinsurgency Lessons From Malaya and Vietnam (05 Edition)

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Publisher Comments:

Invariably, armies are accused of preparing to fight the previous war. In Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife, Lieutenant Colonel John A. Nagl—a veteran of both Operation Desert Storm and the current conflict in Iraq—considers the now-crucial question of how armies adapt to changing circumstances during the course of conflicts for which they are initially unprepared. Through the use of archival sources and interviews with participants in both engagements, Nagl compares the development of counterinsurgency doctrine and practice in the Malayan Emergency from 1948 to 1960 with what developed in the Vietnam War from 1950 to 1975.

In examining these two events, Nagl—the subject of a recent New York Times Magazine cover story by Peter Maass—argues that organizational culture is key to the ability to learn from unanticipated conditions, a variable which explains why the British army successfully conducted counterinsurgency in Malaya but why the American army failed to do so in Vietnam, treating the war instead as a conventional conflict. Nagl concludes that the British army, because of its role as a colonial police force and the organizational characteristics created by its history and national culture, was better able to quickly learn and apply the lessons of counterinsurgency during the course of the Malayan Emergency.

With a new preface reflecting on the author's combat experience in Iraq, Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife is a timely examination of the lessons of previous counterinsurgency campaigns that will be hailed by both military leaders and interested civilians.

Synopsis:

Invariably, armies are accused of preparing to fight the previous war. In Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife, Lieutenant Colonel John A. Nagl—a veteran of both Operation Desert Storm and the current conflict in Iraq—considers the now-crucial question of how armies adapt to changing circumstances during the course of conflicts for which they are initially unprepared. Through the use of archival sources and interviews with participants in both engagements, Nagl compares the development of counterinsurgency doctrine and practice in the Malayan Emergency from 1948 to 1960 with what developed in the Vietnam War from 1950 to 1975.

In examining these two events, Nagl—the subject of a recent New York Times Magazine cover story by Peter Maass—argues that organizational culture is key to the ability to learn from unanticipated conditions, a variable which explains why the British army successfully conducted counterinsurgency in Malaya but why the American army failed to do so in Vietnam, treating the war instead as a conventional conflict. Nagl concludes that the British army, because of its role as a colonial police force and the organizational characteristics created by its history and national culture, was better able to quickly learn and apply the lessons of counterinsurgency during the course of the Malayan Emergency.

With a new preface reflecting on the author's combat experience in Iraq, Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife is a timely examination of the lessons of previous counterinsurgency campaigns that will be hailed by both military leaders and interested civilians.

About the Author

Lieutenant Colonel John A. Nagl is a Military Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense. Nagl led a tank platoon in the First Cavalry Division in Operation Desert Storm, taught national security studies at West Point's Department of Social Sciences, and served as the Operations Officer of Task Force 1-34 Armor in the First Infantry Division in Khalidiyah, Iraq.

Table of Contents

Illustrations

Foreword by General Peter J. Schoomaker

Preface to the Paperback Edition

Acknowledgments

Introduction

List of Abbreviations

Part I. Setting the Stage

1. How Armies Learn

2. The Hard Lesson of Insurgency

3. The British and American Armies: Separated by a Common Language

Part II. Malaya

4. British Army Counterinsurgency Learning During the Malayan Emergency, 1948-1951

5. The Empire Strikes Back: British Army Counterinsurgency in Malaya, 1952-1957

Part III. Vietnam

6. The U.S. Army in Vietnam: Organizational Culture and Learning During the Advisory Years, 1950-1964

7. The U.S. Army in Vietnam: Organizational Culture and Learning During the Fighting Years, 1965-1972

Part IV. Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam

8. Hard Lessons: The British and American Armies Learn Counterinsurgency

9. Organizational Culture and Learning Institutions: Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife

Selected Bibliography

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780226567709
Foreword:
Schoomaker, John
Foreword:
Schoomaker, General Peter J.
Foreword by:
Schoomaker, John
Foreword:
Schoomaker, John
Foreword:
Schoomaker, General Peter J.
Author:
Nagl, John A.
Author:
Schoomaker, General Peter J.
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Subject:
Military - General
Subject:
History
Subject:
International Relations
Subject:
Vietnamese conflict, 1961-1975
Subject:
Asia - Southeast Asia
Subject:
Malaya - History - Malayan Emergency, 1948-
Subject:
Counterinsurgency -- Malaysia -- Malaya.
Subject:
Military-General History
Subject:
Military-Strategy Tactics and Deception
Edition Description:
Paperback
Publication Date:
20050931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
280
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

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History and Social Science » Military » Strategy Tactics and Deception
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History and Social Science » Military » Vietnam War
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Foreign Policy
History and Social Science » World History » General
History and Social Science » World History » Southeast Asia
Sports and Outdoors » Sports and Fitness » Basketball » General

Learning To Eat Soup With a Knife : Counterinsurgency Lessons From Malaya and Vietnam (05 Edition) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 280 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226567709 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Invariably, armies are accused of preparing to fight the previous war. In Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife, Lieutenant Colonel John A. Nagl—a veteran of both Operation Desert Storm and the current conflict in Iraq—considers the now-crucial question of how armies adapt to changing circumstances during the course of conflicts for which they are initially unprepared. Through the use of archival sources and interviews with participants in both engagements, Nagl compares the development of counterinsurgency doctrine and practice in the Malayan Emergency from 1948 to 1960 with what developed in the Vietnam War from 1950 to 1975.

In examining these two events, Nagl—the subject of a recent New York Times Magazine cover story by Peter Maass—argues that organizational culture is key to the ability to learn from unanticipated conditions, a variable which explains why the British army successfully conducted counterinsurgency in Malaya but why the American army failed to do so in Vietnam, treating the war instead as a conventional conflict. Nagl concludes that the British army, because of its role as a colonial police force and the organizational characteristics created by its history and national culture, was better able to quickly learn and apply the lessons of counterinsurgency during the course of the Malayan Emergency.

With a new preface reflecting on the author's combat experience in Iraq, Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife is a timely examination of the lessons of previous counterinsurgency campaigns that will be hailed by both military leaders and interested civilians.

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