Book Review: Beyond Vom Kriege by R. D. Hooker Jr.

About:
Beyond Vom Kriege: The Character and Conduct of Modern War by R. D. Hooker Jr. is a non-fiction consisting of essays about the theory of war. Mr. Hooker is a retired Colonel who served as Director, Communications Action Group, CJTF82/ Regional Command(East) in Afghanistan. COL Hooker commanded a parachute brigade in Iraq in 2005–2006, served with the National Security Council from 2006–2008 and became Dean of the NATO Defense College in October 2010.R. D. Hooker Jr.

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My rat­ing for Beyond Vom Kriege 5
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Carl von Clausewitz

Carl von Clausewitz

Thoughts:
On War (Vom Kriege) by Carl von Clausewitz has been “the” book to go to when studying warfare. The book attempts to construct a theory which encompasses how war works. Mr. Clausewitz wrote the book between 1816 and 1830, it was published after his death in 1832. A lifelong soldier, Clausewitz has fought in all of the major Prussian campaigns against France. Suffering an enormous defeat in the army of Frederick William III of Prussia in the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt (1806) at the hands of Napoleon I of France, inspired him to write his book.
On War is still considered to be a relevant book, wise and popular, however, it is also an unfinished work.

In Beyond Vom Kriege: The Character and Conduct of Modern War by R. D. Hooker Jr. the author takes a look at modern warfare, how it has changed, still changing, and the lessons we must learn from past success and mistakes. Mr. Hooker combines his experience on the battlefield, as well as in the halls of power, policy making, and academics to bring about an astute observations of why, and how, we fight in these modern times.

Each essay is expertly researched and professionally written, from a perspective of a solider, statesman, and intellectual who stays true to the facts and dispels myths which inevitably come when the military becomes politicized.

These are standalone essays, one does not lead into another and I believe that most, if not all, has been published previously in some form or another. The essays do not have to be read in order, but one can jump from one topic to another, even though they are all very interesting.

My favorite essay was “Soldiers of the State: Reconsidering American Civil-Military Relations”, with “National Security Decision Making and the NSC” a closed second. I’ve learned a lot and had several of my preconceived notions shattered, which is always fun and something I always appreciate when done using facts, extra points when it’s done by an expert.

The book was easy read, meaning that Mr. Hooker tries to stay away from alphabet soups, technical terms which only professionals know and trying to impress his audience. Not that the essays are dumbed down, quite the opposite, but are written in a way to engage the audience and thinking. Bonus points for not dropping names, even though I’m sure the author could have done so easily.

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More Books by R. D. Hooker Jr.*

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I got this book for free.
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