on January 10, 2003
This work is a tour de force, perhaps best shown by Secretary of the Army Tom White's enthusiastic adoption of its ideas. Vandergriff ably identifies the Army's longest-lasting and most serious systemic problem -- human resources mismanagement as it affects training, deployment, cohesion, and effectiveness in battle. Based on extremely extensive research (meticulously documented), he ably describes the evolution of the problem and presents the promised "path to victory."
Despite the effectiveness and timeliness of this book, it does have a couple of significant (and related) weaknesses. First, despite the meticulous endnoting, it is difficult to sort out which ideas are Vandergriff's own and which derive from his multitude of sources. The sorting can be done, but, if done thoroughly, would require the reader actually to construct an "idea matrix" from the endnotes as he goes along.
Second, this is a work with 796 (!) endnotes -- but with no bibliography at all. All in all, Presidio Press has made the book quite difficult -- unnecessarily difficult -- to use as a reference. This does detract somewhat from its value as a synthesis of ideas and guide for follow-on work. Fortunately, these weaknesses detract very little from the overall message.
Highly recommended. (But if there's a second edition, could we please have a good solid bibliography?)
on August 7, 2002
Path to Victory is extensively researched, concisely written, and wonderfully appropriate to the current debate over the future transformation of the Army. MAJ Vandergriff has written a book that all senior Army leaders should read, and anyone who follows civil-military relations or current events should own.