Top positive review
Good Reading For Any Desert Storm Vet
Reviewed in the United States on September 4, 2008
I was in the Persian Gulf (Saudi Arabia)in the U.S. Army, from October '90 to August '91 as part of Desert Shield/Storm. This was the first book I've read on the subject. The ground war was so short (100 hours), and was such an anti-climax after waiting months for something to happen, that I didn't feel any book would be very good reading. This book was very good, though not great. Very revealing.
The first part of the book leading up to the air campaign kind of dragged a bit at times. It was interesting to read about the preparations at the higher levels, and the in-fighting amongst the services. Saddam Hussein's blunders early on are explained very well. I had never heard of any of these arguments before. Had Saddam waited a few months more to invade Kuwait, the U.S. military would have been in the midst of a huge drawdown in personell, and we would have had even more problems coming up with the forces to act against him. (The draw down did happen, starting in late 1991 after all the units had returned.)
The book left me with a very negative view on Colin Powell. He was willing to leave 400,000 troops sitting in the desert (99% of us who would be living in tents) for over a year waiting for economic sanctions to work. Go to Death Valley and live in a tent, General!!!
Once the air campaign starts, the book reads like a Tom Clancy novel. Very riveting.
General Schwarzkopf comes off as an egotistical hothead, and a bit of a 'screw-up'. He fails to seriously heed intelligence on the poor morale and combat effectiveness of the Iraqi troops. There also seemed to be a lot of blundering getting the ground campaign off on the right track.
Schwarzkopf was also overly generous to the Iraqi's after thier defeat. He allowed them to fly helicopters, which they used to slaughter thousands who rose up against Saddam.
General McCaffrey, who commanded the 24th Mech Division, comes off as one of the Army's best generals. To bad he wasn't in charge of the whole operation.
After reading this book I realized that this was not such a great victory as advertised. Mainly due to a very political JCS Chairman (Powell), various other politicians, and an egotistical (Jonathan Winters look alike) General Schwarzkopf, who had his memoirs planned before it was all over.
The military acronyms used might be a problem for someone never in the military, but the authors do a good job of explaining them at the outset.
There is not to much 'high tech' mumbo jumbo either. The book flows decently.