The Blind Strategist: John Boyd and the American Art of War (Hardcover)

The Blind Strategist: John Boyd and the American Art of War By Stephen Robinson Cover Image

The Blind Strategist: John Boyd and the American Art of War (Hardcover)


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From the author of Panzer Commander Hermann Balck and False Flags comes The Blind Strategist: John Boyd and the American Art of War.

Colonel John Boyd (1927-1997), a maverick fighter pilot, revolutionized the American art of war through his ideas on conflict and the human mind. Boyd claimed that victory is won by the side which transitions through 'decision cycles' faster than the enemy, which paralyses their ability to effectively react and mentally checkmates them with minimal violence. From this revelation, he studied history searching for insights to guide military success and this quest resulted in maneuver warfare theory, a new warfighting creed which gained influential converts in the Pentagon who were seeking a new way of waging war after years of wasted attrition in Vietnam.

Boyd's ideas triggered a revolution within the American military and maneuver warfare concepts became doctrine during the 1980s. Maneuver warfare has since been credited with America's swift victory during the Gulf War in 1991 and the lighting advance to Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. However, such claims have little basis in reality and Boyd's legacy has accidently undermined American security.

When formulating his theories on conflict, Boyd relied upon fraudulent accounts of World War II written by Wehrmacht veterans who fabricated historical evidence to disassociate their reputations from Germany's defeat and to cover up their willing participation in Nazi war crimes. Boyd fell for this deception campaign and unknowingly injected dangerous misinformation into the American military mind. Maneuver warfare has accordingly corrupted the art of war and resulted in catastrophic decisions made in Iraq and Afghanistan during 21st century conflict.

In this in-depth account, acclaimed historian Stephen Robinson critically evaluates the maneuver warfare revolution that has transformed the American military. The Blind Strategist separates fact from fantasy and exposes the myths of maneuver warfare through a detailed evidence-based investigation and is a must-read for anybody interested in American military history.

Stephen Robinson studied Asian history and politics at the University of Western Sydney, graduating with First Class Honours. He has worked at the Department of Veterans' Affairs researching British atomic weapons tests and as a policy officer in the Department of Defence. Stephen Robinson is also an officer in the Australian Army Reserve and has served as an instructor at the Royal Military College. He also graduated from Australian Command and Staff College.

Product Details ISBN: 9781925820348
ISBN-10: 1925820343
Publisher: Exisle Publishing
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021
Pages: 360
Language: English
Stephen Robinson does a superb job of analyzing the momentous debate about the virtues of "maneuver warfare" that took place in the United States during the latter years of the Cold War. He shows in great detail that the proponents of maneuver - including their guiding light, John Boyd - based their claims on a deeply flawed understanding of history. The Blind Strategist is a must read for all serious students of modern warfare.—John J. Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago

Stephen Robinson makes a bold, but utterly convincing, assault on the foundations of nearly fifty years of military thinking. As the United States military and its allies across the globe reorient themselves for the challenges of great state competition, Robinson's fascinating book is certain to be at the center of the debate.—Dr. James Lacey, Horner Chair of Military Theory, Marine Corps University

An important book, one Boyd's advocates will not want to read, but should.—Antulio J. Echevarria II, US Army War College

Robinson's well researched book questions the tenets of Boyd's OODA loop, maneuver warfare, infiltration tactics, blitzkrieg, World War II historiography, Desert Storm success, and much more. This will be controversial. Let the debates begin!—Mark F. Cancian (Colonel, USMCR, ret.), Center for Strategic and International Studies

In this important, engaging and meticulously researched study, Stephen Robinson presents a compelling corrective to the maneuverist myth and Boyd worship affecting large parts of the US defense establishment and other Western militaries. For all the undoubted influence of Boyd's purportedly revolutionary ideas, their uncritical embrace has fostered forms of doctrinal dogmatism, and the resulting operational tunnel vision helps explain recent failures in American strategy. In exposing the flawed foundations of maneuver warfare, this book will hopefully go some way to releasing Boyd's followers from their blind devotion to the blind strategist.—Thomas Waldman, Senior Lecturer in International Security Studies, Macquarie University

If you are going to go the trouble to write a book you may as well make it controversial.—Army News

This book is well constructed, and easy to read, especially for those who have background in Command or Staff positions in any Armed Service. Much was learned from reading it.—RUSI (Royal United Services Institute)

With the Pentagon contemplating multi-domain operations as the next big thing in military transformation, Stephen Robinson’s meticulously researched, razor-sharp critique of John Boyd, which smartly encapsulates current debates about the relative merits of the maneuver warfare central to such operations, is a crucial resource.—Jonathan Stevenson, Senior Fellow for US Defence, International Institute for Strategic Studies, and Managing Editor of Survival

The Blind Strategist is a timely, controversial and iconoclastic book. Stephen Robinson takes aim at a shibboleth of American military doctrine: maneuver. Re-interpreting the story of John Boyd, it debunks the orthodoxy that maneuver is the self-evidently superior form of warfare in all circumstances. Instead, it seeks to re-habilitate the concepts of mass, firepower and attrition articulated in the apparently superseded concept of Active Defence proposed by General William DePuy in the 1970s. This book is essential and challenging reading for US military officers returning to the problem of high-interest inter-state against near peer competitors, after two decades of counter-insurgency.—Professor Anthony King, War Studies, The University of Warwick

An eye-opening book.—The Daily Telegraph