Throught history warfare has been littered with appalling blunders leading to humiliating defeats and unnecessary loss of life. We are all familiar with the Charge of the Light Briaged and the horros of the somme, but we are less aware of more recent blunders such as the failure of the Patriot missile during the Gulf War and the long-term aeffects of Agent Orange.
In this account of thrity such blunders, Geoffrey Regan considers why each occurred. Sometimes the responsibility lies with the leaders themselves: Montgomery's ambition led to 70% of his troops being illed or captured at Arnhem in 1944. At other times it is the politics of the time, like the Cold War paranoia that led to the US attack on Grenada in 1983. Technology, too, has played its part, most recently in the Nato bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade.