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May 20, 2024

Book Review: Armies in Retreat: Chaos, Cohesion, and Consequences

Book Cover: Armies in Retreat: Chaos, Cohesion, and ConsequencesMilitary History | 
 Editors: Timothy G. Heck and Walker D. Mills
| Reviewed by Dr. J.P. Clark, associate professor of strategy, Basic Strategic Art Program, US Army War College |
Dr. J.P. Clark provides a thoughtful analysis of this anthology on retreat, an "under-studied topic in the US military." The book covers case studies spanning from the ancient world to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021 and even discusses retreat in the context of cyberspace. Clark employs his expertise as a strategy professor to give a valuable critique, highlighting the book’s merits (for example, the “intriguing angle” of the Gallipoli Campaign analysis) and some weaknesses (such as “a conflation of retreat with defeat”). Overall, Clark concludes that the “volume as whole” is “well worth readers’ time,” which he supports through his engaging expert assessment.

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Keywords: retreat, Carl von Clausewitz, cyberspace, Gallipoli Campaign, Afghanistan