Jim is a very engaging writer, making military doctrine accessible to the general reader. He has a great admiration for the British operation against the insurgents in Malaya and draws much from the lessons learnt there. This book also has chapters on the reform of the "dysfunctional culture" of the Intelligence services and on the use of the media in the battle for hearts and minds.
The book is timely given the problems that have arisen in the aftermath of the Iraq war and the failure to follow the doctrine of Clausewitz that "war has to be treated as part of some other whole; the name of which is policy." Sir Michael Howard has written a foreword for the book, outlining various lessons that the US should have learnt from the past. He says:
"It might have been expected that the United States would have learned all these lessons a generation ago in Vietnam, but apparently it did not. Now that it is having to start all over again, this book is a very good place to begin."