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Posted on: November 1, 2023

Conflict: The evolution of warfare from 1945 to Ukraine by David Petraeus and Andrew Roberts


Two leading authorities—an acclaimed historian and the outstanding battlefield commander and strategist of our time—collaborate on a landmark examination of war since 1945. Conflict is both a sweeping history of the evolution of warfare up to Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine, and a penetrating analysis of what we must learn from the past—and anticipate in the future—in order to navigate an increasingly perilous world. In this deep and incisive study, General David Petraeus, who commanded the US-led coalitions in both Iraq, during the Surge, and Afghanistan and former CIA director, and the prize-winning historian Andrew Roberts, explore over 70 years of conflict, drawing significant lessons and insights from their fresh analysis of the past. Drawing on their different perspectives and areas of expertise, Petraeus and Roberts show how often critical mistakes have been repeated time and again, and the challenge, for statesmen and generals alike, of learning to adapt to various new weapon systems, theories and strategies. Among the conflicts examined are the Arab-Israeli wars, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, the two Gulf Wars, the Balkan wars in the former Yugoslavia, and both the Soviet and Coalition wars in Afghanistan, as well as guerilla conflicts in Africa and South America. Conflict culminates with a bracing look at Putin’s disastrous invasion of Ukraine, yet another case study in the tragic results when leaders refuse to learn from history, and an assessment of the nature of future warfare. Filled with sharp insight and the wisdom of experience, Conflict is not only a critical assessment of our recent past, but also an essential primer of modern warfare that provides crucial knowledge for waging battle today as well as for understanding what the decades ahead will bring.

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