Review: The Good War – Why We Couldn’t Win the War or the Peace in Afghanistan

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Jack Fairweather

5.0 out of 5 stars
British, CIA, US Flag Level View — Scores Settled, Some Facts Wrong or Missing, November 9, 2014

This is a preliminary review. My usual summary review with detail will be posted in a day or two. I did a fast read last night and formed the following impressions:

01 This is a British perspective heavily weighted by a very narrow range of sources that favor a small number of US Department of State, CIA, and US military officers.

02 It has enough meat to demand a second detailed reading with my usual extensive notes, such as I just provided for Afghanistan: The Perfect Failure – A War Doomed by the Coalition’s Strategies, Policies and Political Correctness.

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Nov 9

Review: Revolution

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Russell Brand

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, Intricate, Non-Violent, and Optimistic, November 4, 2014

In relation to the 2,000 plus non-fiction books I have reviewed here at Amazon, this book is brilliant. Normally I would consider giving it four stars for lacking an index and endnotes, obviously needed for the poorly educated morons that cannot grasp the many (many) direct references to top authors and thinkers. For crying out loud, Thomas Piketty, author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century is received by the author in his home and cited in this book, as are so many others. So a solid five stars for impact and self-made erudition.

Let me state very clearly that the publisher has sodomized this author by not including an index, a bibliography, or endnotes. As the top Amazon reviewer for non-fiction, reviewing books across 98 distinct non-fiction categories, I am blown away by the clever, poetic, and pointed manner in which the author has integrated a vast (vast) range of reading and personal conversations into this book.

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Nov 4

Review: London – the Information Capital: 100 Maps and Graphics That Will Change How You View the City

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James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti

5.0 out of 5 stars From coffee table to scientific salon, a worthy offering, November 4, 2014

This is a spectacular offering on multiple fronts. On the low-end, it has got to be the coolest coffee table book around, something that could be usefully offered in every waiting room across London — and hopefully inspire copycats for other cities including Paris and New York and Dubai.

At the high end, the book offers the most current available understanding of just what can be gleaned from “big data” that is available from open databases — one can only imagine the additional value to be had from closed data bases (money movement, for example). And of course we have to persist in our demands that all data and the software and hardware needed to process the data be open source so that it is affordable, interoperable, and scalable.

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Nov 4

Review: Analyzing Intelligence: National Security Practitioners’ Perspectives Second Edition

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Roger George

5.0 out of 5 stars A Status Quo Book, Improved from 1st Edition, Still Pulls Punches, October 30, 2014

This is a very fine book, not least because of its inclusion of Jack Davis (search for <analytic tradecraft> as well as Carmen Medina (see them both at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog ), but it must still be categorized as a status quo book. Despite improvements from the 1st edition the authors still pull some punches — I dare hope that by the 3rd edition — and the book is certainly worthy of going forward — they will get tougher, perhaps in a new final chapter — Where Did We Go Wrong, Who Did We Ignore, How Do We Get It Right Now?

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Oct 30