Learning to eat soup with a knife: counterinsurgency lessons from Malaya and Vietnam

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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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ISBN:
9780226567709
9781481590877
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Grouped Work ID aecdc9fe-95e3-c583-8a8f-093e3bb5e8e9
full_title learning to eat soup with a knife counterinsurgency lessons from malaya and vietnam
author nagl john a
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2017-01-17 10:02:37AM

Solr Details

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auth_author2 Pruden, John.
author Nagl, John A., 1966-
author-letter Nagl, John A.,
author2 Pruden, John., hoopla digital.
author2-role Pruden, John.|Narrator, hoopla digital.
author_additional John A. Nagl ; with a new preface by the author ; foreword by General Peter J. Schoomaker.
author_display Nagl, John A
availability_toggle_boulder Available Now, Available Online, Entire Collection
available_at_boulder Boulder Main Library
callnumber-a DS597
callnumber-first D - World History
callnumber-subject DS - Asia
callnumber_sort_boulder 959.504 N
date_added 2006-05-23T06:00:00Z
days_since_added 3963
detailed_location_boulder Boulder Main Adult NonFiction, Online Hoopla Collection
display_description 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 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 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 and 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.
econtent_protection_type_boulder Always Available
econtent_source_boulder Hoopla
edition Unabridged., University of Chicago pbk. ed.
era Malayan Emergency, 1948-1960, Vietnam War, 1961-1975
format_boost 18
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geographic Malaya History Malayan Emergency, 1948-1960
geographic_facet Malaya, Malaysia, Vietnam
grouping_category book
id aecdc9fe-95e3-c583-8a8f-093e3bb5e8e9
isbn 9780226567709, 9781481590877
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language English
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lc_subject Counterinsurgency, Underground movements, Vietnam War, 1961-1975
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local_callnumber_boulder 959.504 N
local_callnumber_exact_boulder 959.504 N
local_callnumber_left_boulder 959.504 N
local_days_since_added_boulder 3963
num_holdings 1
oclc 58595108
owning_library_boulder Boulder Public Library
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physical 1 online resource (1 audio file (8hr., 46 min.)) : digital., xxix, 249 p. ; 23 cm.
popularity 3
primary_isbn 9780226567709
publishDate 2005, 2012
publishDateSort 2005
publisher Blackstone Audio, Inc. :, Made available through hoopla,, University of Chicago Press,
rating 2.5
rating_facet oneStar, twoStar
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subject_facet Counterinsurgency -- Malaysia -- Malaya, Counterinsurgency -- Vietnam, Great Britain. -- Army -- History -- Malayan Emergency, 1948-1960, Malaya -- History -- Malayan Emergency, 1948-1960, United States. -- Army -- History -- Vietnam War, 1961-1975, Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Underground movements
target_audience Adult
target_audience_full Adult
title Learning to eat soup with a knife : counterinsurgency lessons from Malaya and Vietnam
title_alt Counterinsurgency lessons from Malaya and Vietnam, Counterinsurgency lessons from Malaya and Vietnam.
title_display Learning to eat soup with a knife : counterinsurgency lessons from Malaya and Vietnam
title_full Learning to eat soup with a knife : counterinsurgency lessons from Malaya and Vietnam / John A. Nagl ; with a new preface by the author ; foreword by General Peter J. Schoomaker, Learning to eat soup with a knife: counterinsurgency lessons from Malaya and Vietnam [electronic resource]
title_short Learning to eat soup with a knife :
title_sort learning to eat soup with a knife counterinsurgency lessons from malaya and vietnam
title_sub counterinsurgency lessons from Malaya and Vietnam
topic Counterinsurgency Malaysia Malaya, Counterinsurgency Vietnam, Great Britain. Army History Malayan Emergency, 1948-1960, Malaya History Malayan Emergency, 1948-1960, United States. Army History Vietnam War, 1961-1975, Vietnam War, 1961-1975 Underground movements
topic_facet Counterinsurgency, History, Underground movements, Vietnam War, 1961-1975