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To celebrate his new release, The Blind Strategist, we’ve asked author Stephen Robinson some questions to find out why we should all be looking closer at the foundation of our military theories and why he decided to focus on Boyd’s theories in particular.

You have written two other military titles before Blind Strategist, what is it about this area of our history that draws you in?

My other books were more straightforward histories while this book goes much deeper into military theory and strategy. I was drawn into these aspects quite by chance after becoming aware of the relationship between military theory and history and, in particular, how superficial historical analysis can negatively inform books on theory and strategy. As I found this aspect to be deeply troubling, I wanted to zero in on this phenomenon to highlight the importance of robust historical analysis when developing theory and strategy.

Why is it important for us to know the history of warfare strategies?

For warfare strategies to be credible they must have a clear basis in historical reality as well as internal logic, otherwise they may sound good in the abstract but hinder progress in the real world. Within the realm of military theory and strategy, far too often historical credibility comes from narrow and selective examples that are manipulative or from the works of outdated history books that contemporary historians have deep issues with. Warfare strategies must accordingly be developed in parallel with cutting edge historical research and change through adaptation as progress is made.

What prompted you to delve into the basis of Boyd’s theories in particular?

Colonel John Boyd’s theories are of critical importance to modern warfare because they are held in such high regard within western militaries and they are central aspects of today’s warfighting philosophies and doctrines. Although there is no disputing the influence of Boyd’s ideas, most people are only aware of them through secondary information and they, therefore, only superficially understand them. By taking a close look at Boyd’s theories we can understand them properly but also see their flaws and limitations as well as how these have become manifest within contemporary military thinking.

A few members of the military community have labelled this book as ‘controversial’, why do you think that is?

Boyd is mostly seen by the military community as a hero who revolted against a corrupt system and successfully reformed it. While there is some truth to this hagiographic view of Boyd because some aspects of his theories have given us a positive legacy, there is also a darker side to his ideas and some people will have a hard time accepting this critical view. However, by acknowledging Boyd’s shortcomings, we can take serious steps towards improving military theory and strategy.

If a reader was to take just one thing away from this book what would you want it be?

Boyd in his paper “Destruction and Creation” published in 1976 challenged us to critically test our own assumptions and preconceptions as well as to breakdown, deconstruct and rebuild our ideas through a process of analysis and synthesis. This is solid logic and sound advice designed to get closer to reality. However, this approach must also be applied to Boyd’s general ideas on military theory and strategy. Boyd’s logic demands that we don’t accept his concepts at face value and we should deconstruct them to identify their flaws while also retaining the positive aspects of his legacy.

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THE BLIND STRATEGIST: JOHN BOYD AND THE AMERICAN ART OF WAR

Colonel John Boyd, a maverick fighter pilot, revolutionized the American art of war but his research relied on accounts written by Wehrmacht veterans who fabricated historical evidence to cover up their participation in Nazi war crimes.
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.

USD $35.99 Tax IncludedAdd to cart

MORE BOOKS BY STEPHEN

False Flags: Disguised German Raiders of World War II

USD $29.99

False Flags tells the epic untold story of German raider voyages to the South Seas during the early years of World War II. In 1940 the raiders Orion, Komet, Pinguin and Kormoran left Germany and waged a ‘pirate war’ in the South Seas — part of Germany’s strategy to attack the British Empire’s maritime trade on a global scale. Their remarkable voyages spanned the globe and are maritime sagas in the finest tradition of seafaring. The four raiders voyaged across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans as well as the Arctic and Antarctic.

False Flags is also the story of the Allied sailors who encountered these raiders and fought suicidal battles against a superior foe as well as the men, women and children who endured captivity on board the raiders as prisoners of the Third Reich.

SPECIFICATIONS: Hardback | 234 x 151 mm / 9 ¼ x 6 Inches | Approx. 50 Black & White photos and maps | 368 Pages |

Panzer Commander Hermann Balck

USD $29.99 Tax Included

Germany’s Master Tactician

A history of one of the world’s greatest armoured warfare commanders, Hermann Balck (1897–1982). During World War II, he commanded panzer troops brilliantly, and we follow his exciting journey through the fields of France, mountains of Greece and steppes of Russia. It is also the story of a cultured and complex man with a great love of antiquity and classical literature, who nevertheless willingly fought for Hitler’s Third Reich while remaining strangely detached from the horrors around him.

SPECIFICATIONS: 9781925820003 | Hardback | 234 x 151 mm / 9.25 x 6 inches | 304Pages

The Blind Strategist

USD $35.99 Tax Included

John Boyd and the American Art of War

Colonel John Boyd, a maverick fighter pilot, revolutionized the American art of war but his research relied on accounts written by Wehrmacht veterans who fabricated historical evidence to cover up their participation in Nazi war crimes. 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.

Specifications: 9781925820348 | Cover and Jacket | 234 x 151mm/9.25 x 6 in | 360 pages 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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 has graduated from Australian Command and Staff College, worked as an officer in the Australian Army Reserve and has served as an instructor at the Royal Military College.

Stephen’s previous books include False Flags: Disguised German Raiders of World War II (Exisle Publishing, 2016) and Panzer Commander Hermann Balck: Germany’s Master Tactician (Exisle Publishing, 2019).

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