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Book reviews for "Gat,_Azar" sorted by average review score:

Fascist and Liberal Visions of War: Fuller, Liddell Hart, Douhet, and Other Modernists
Published in Hardcover by Oxford University Press (1998)
Author: Azar Gat
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Great cultural study of war
Fascinating book on the thinkers of modern war. The author made clear
the relationship between Fascism and mechanised war. What is more
importnat is he indicated that the concept of `indirect approach'
of Liddle Hart is the key concept of our age. I felt that the war theory
of Man-in-the-dark is highly related to the bounded rationality
of H.A. Simon.

Excellent and Breathtaking
This book concentrates on the analysis of intellectual growth of particular ideas and styles of thought after the WWI. It is a breathtaking study of the intellectual enviroment of the inter-war years (and not only) and the way it shaped the thinking of strategic thinkers as Fuller, Liddell Hart, Duhet and others. This study clearly shows the connection between the world of ideas, war, their origins and their interaction.

British Armour Theory and the Rise of the Panzer Arm: Revising the Revisionists (St. Antony's)
Published in Hardcover by Palgrave Macmillan (2000)
Author: Azar Gat
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Mixed Impression
The book is divided into two parts. the first covers Liddell Hart and his thoughts on armoured warfare between WWI and WWII. Gat thoroughly discusses the subject and successfully shows that much of the critisism vented on Liddell Hart is incorrect. This part of the book is very good. Gat makes use of sources overlooked by e.g. Mearsheimer and can present a picture of Liddell Hart that is quite diffeent from the one dominant the last decade or so.
In the second part of his book, Gat argues that Britsh theorists, notably Fuller and Liddell hart, had a decisive influence on the creation of teh German Panzer forces. Here Gat not only goes further than his sources permit, he also uses them very selectively to suit his thesis. For example he states (p. 48) that the German periodical Militärwochenblatt is an important source to the development of German armoured forces. This is probably true, but he only mentions those articles iin the perdiodical that discussed events and developments in Britain, when in fact the Germans, judging from the content between 1921-1936 which I have studied, seemed to study virtually all countries.
One of the most recurrent subjects in Militärwochenblatt was developments in the Soviet Union. However, when Gat (p. 86f) discusses other influences than British theorists, he completely ignores the Soviet connection. This is all the more surprisisng, given the formerly secret cooperation between Germany and the Soviet Union that today is well known.

Quite illogically Gat fails to compare British influences with the german own thinking. he seems to take for granted that the Germans were influenced by other countries and the issue is to find which.
Also his argument is marred by some basic errors of fact. For example, he states that the Germans mixed light and medium tanks in their tank battalions until the end of the war, thus following their supposed british masters. This is completely wrong. For example, of the 19 tank battalions in German panzer divisions fighting in Normandy 1944, 16 had only one type of tank. Of the remaining three, two had medium tanks and medium assault guns, while the last one was partially equipped with captured tanks.
To sum up, the first part of the book seems fine, but the latter part gives an impression of an author who looks for evidence supporting his thesis rather than contradicting it.

Reply to Zetterling
I am not familiar with Nikias Zetterling's studies, but I hope they are not as strangely flawed and misleading as his reading. He alleges that my book fails to mention German studies of countries other than Britain. However, I repeatedly emphasize that all other countries were extensively covered by the Germans (pp. 50, 53, 55-7, 61-2, 71-2, 86-7, 94), while I elaborately explain why it was the British armour model that influenced them so decisively from early on. Zetterling specifically claims that I 'completely ignore' the Soviet connection, citing pages in my book (86f) to demonstrate his point. He obviously looked at the wrong pages, for I present the exact nature of this connection on pp. 74-76. In recent years, with the revival of interest in the Soviet 'Deep Battle', some writers have speculated that there was a significant Soviet influence on the evolution of the Panzer arm, supporting their claim (like Zetterling) by vague circumstantial allusions. Analyzing the actual evidence, I show why Soviet developments were well known to but barely influential on the Germans. Indeed, documentary evidence is a crucial subject here, and again the reviewer is skating on very thin ice. He cites only the material in the highly important German military periodical Militärwochenblatt, apparently because this is the only source with which he is familiar. He fails to mention that my book relies not only on additional German open publications and much other miscellaneous evidence, but indeed, most notably, also on the interwar, mostly unpublished documents of German Intelligence, Operations, and Command of the Armoured Troops. Curiously enough, these documents were not studied in the many popular treatments written on the rise of the Panzer arm. Some of these documents, particularly the reports of the German military attaché in London Geyer von Schweppenburg on the British armour manoeuvres and on Liddell Hart's lessons from them, which were eagerly awaited in Berlin, are truly amazing (pp. 63-66). Indeed, as I demonstrate, the German Panzer divisions, created in 1935, were closely modeled on the pioneering British experimental Mobile Division of 1934. Inter alia this included the mixing of light and medium tank companies in the tank battalions. Zetterling reveals to us, in line with rather than in contrast to my own reference (p. 87), that the German abandoned this practice in the last stage of WWII. It apparently does not occur to him that the issue in question is how the Germans came to adopt this particular practice in the first place, before the war and during their initial campaigns. Indeed, pace the reviewer, while tracing the internal sources and development of German doctrine (pp. 49-50, 68-74, 92-3), the book explains how the German lack of both armoured vehicles and armoured troops until 1934 made the German army so heavily dependent on foreign models which it avidly studied, particularly the leading British one.

redressing an injustice
This book tackles the issue of the development of doctrine and theory of armored warfare in Europe between the wars. Gat opens with the controversy surrounding the famous figure of Basil Liddell Hart. The famous theorist was much acclaimed until research by John Mearsheimer in 1988 (see "Liddell Hart and the Weight of History" by that author) largely discredited him. Azar Gat, has done some careful research that goes quite a way to restore the reputation of Liddell Hart. Gat investigates the various roles played by the theorists J.F.C. Fuller and Liddell Hart in fashioning armored fighting doctrines in Europe between the wars. The theory itself is described and analyzed in detail. There is also an extensive historical review of developments, with emphasis placed on the events in Germany. The analyses and discussion are intricate indeed, and this book is not intended to be light reading. The work is purely academic, and ranges from interesting to tedious. It is suited to academics of this field, officers and others occupying this niche. Anyone in need of research material must get his/her hands on this book. I rated it as deserving five stars, as it is indeed of high quality, although a star-rating is perhaps not appropriate for books of this level and category.

The Development of Military Thought: The Nineteenth Century
Published in Hardcover by Oxford Univ Pr (1992)
Author: Azar Gat
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A History of Military Thought: From the Enlightenment to the Cold War
Published in Paperback by Oxford University Press (2002)
Author: Azar Gat
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The Origins of Military Thought
Published in Paperback by Oxford University Press (1995)
Author: Azar Gat
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The Origins of Military Thought: From the Enlightenment to Clausewitz (Oxford Historical Monographs)
Published in Paperback by Oxford Univ Pr (1991)
Author: Azar Gat
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War in a Changing World
Published in Hardcover by University of Michigan Press (2001)
Authors: Zeev Maoz and Azar Gat
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