- Paperback: 330 pages
- Publisher: Presidio Press; New edition edition (1 June 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0891415327
- ISBN-13: 978-0891415329
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.8 x 22.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,53,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Art of Maneuver: Maneuver Warfare Theory and Airland Battle Paperback – 1 Jun 1994
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About the Author
Robert Leonhard is an active duty army officer currently serving as Professor of Military Science at West Virginia University. He is the author of The Principles of War for the Information Age, The Art of Maneuver, and Fighting by Minutes. He lives in Morgantown, West Virginia.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I am at the moment a private in the Army, and if I could I would build on what Leonhard has to say. But for now I simply recommend this book.
In short (and with the above caveats in mind), this work can only be characterized as a huge disappointment. There are, in my view, two fatal flaws in this work. First, at least half the text is taken up with Col. Leonhard's personal rantings about shortcomings in Army training, doctrine, AirLand battle, etc. In particular, he repeatedly rants about AirLand battle doctrine is flawed. By the 27th time he states this, I think the reader gets the picture. One of the other reviewers states that this book is a tough read, but contains a great deal of info. I agree with this assessment, but it is a tough read because it it poorly written. The prose could have been tightened up, and more than half the discussion in the book removed as irrelevant.
Second, his conclusions often contradict his general thesis, or in several cases his conclusions really leave more questions than answers. He spends several hundred pages pointing out the flaws in the (then current - published in 1991) US Army Airland Battle, then as a case study talks about the invasion of Panama in 1989 and describes it as a great success for maneuver warfare. As an example of the latter phenomenon (answers versus questions), he goes to great length to explain the historical development of AirLand battle and how it was a response to the Soviet threat to Western Europe. He then rails about the flaws of the AirLand battle (and attrition warfare in general) and the superiorities of maneuver warfare, but then he never addresses the fundamental issue of how NATO should stop a Warsaw Pact invasion of Western Europe within the maneuver warfare paradigm. He never proposes an alternative to the AirLand battle, only criticizes it because it veers from the maneuver warfare paradigm. He vaguely alludes to some type of offensive, pre-emptive action, but I'm not sure how successful this would have been against the huge Warsaw Pact army. In the end, Leonhard left me with the impression that the AirLand battle paradigm was probably the right one and that his rantings about maneuver warfare are greatly overblown.
The bottom line is that there is some good info in this book (hence the three stars), but it really isn't that well written or detailed in spite of some of the glowing reviews. I can't really recommend that anyone take the time to read it. Everything that I learned from this book can be discerned in about 10 minutes by reading the Wikipedia entry on maneuver warfare. I'm going to get Bill Lind's book and perhaps look around for some additional references to broaden my knowledge. This book is a real disappointment.
Leonhard found well the main principles of maneuver warfare. This material is very usefull when you are studying the maneuver warfare theories. You can compare Leonhard's theory with (Boyd, Fuller, Creveld, Lind)theories and find similarities and totally fresh ideas! I will warmly recommend this book for studying man warfare!
Waiting for man warfare theory to naval warfare reserch...