5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant overview of the results of modern conflicts,May 26, 2011
Although I loved Bickerton's excellent book, I did find it a demanding read; chapters one, two and three is not material that a general reader like myself often encounters in the contemporary media: the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905 is not a conflict that is considered in accounts of the reasons for contemporary conflicts but the more so that it need be. Far too often the entrails of conflict are not considered and much modern commentary about conflict virtually implies that the event had few if any antecedents implying that it just happened spontaneously. I believe that Illusion of Victory puts that idea away and that seems not to be the author's thesis.
Bickertom summarizes the two centuries of conflict by offering during the discussion of the centuries' conflicts, his thoughtful analysis of how the conflict started, where it went and how the winners and the losers of that conflict fared after a decade, or sometimes much less had passed and totally unforseen events begin to morph the termination of the conflict into something unexpected by both parties.
Some of the information (it is quite a detailed collection) is readily understandable but for instance I did not know or had not ever known about the difficulties that Vietnam had undergone after their defeat of America and the countrie's reunification. The author does an admirable job of providing for the reader the cynosure of the events that occurred before the conflict as well as after. Any person interested about the germination and harvest of 19th 20th and 21st century conflict owes it to themselves to have a copy of The Illusion of Victory in their library.