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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9780226567709
9781982442439
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Grouped Work ID aecdc9fe-95e3-c583-8a8f-093e3bb5e8e9
Grouping Title learning to eat soup with a knife counterinsurgency lessons from malaya and vietnam
Grouping Author nagl john a
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2019-09-01 04:30:52AM
Last Indexed 2019-09-21 04:26:52AM

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auth_author2 Pruden, John.
author Nagl, John A., 1966-
author2-role Pruden, John.|Narrator
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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.
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2012
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ils:.b16460595 Book Books University of Chicago pbk. ed. English University of Chicago Press, 2005. xxix, 249 p. ; 23 cm.
hoopla:MWT10024411 eAudiobook Audio Books Unabridged. English Blackstone Publishing, 2012. 1 online resource (1 audio file (8hr., 46 min.)) : digital.
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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
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] Nagl, John A., 1966-
title_short Learning to eat soup with a knife :
title_sub counterinsurgency lessons from Malaya and Vietnam
topic_facet Counterinsurgency
History
Underground movements
Vietnam War, 1961-1975