War Nerd

by Alan Stockholm, SUNY Cortland, December 4, 2008

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THE WAR NERD by Gary Brecher


With skillfully administered sarcastic humor, Mr. Gary Brecher outlines numerous, and often little known, killing wars that the world has experienced since man decided another man had what the first man wanted. To illustrate that wars have been, and are still occurring worldwide, the author guides the reader's attention from the Americas, around the several name-changing countries of Africa, into Europe and the Middle East, and finally over to Asia it is surprising to become acquainted and learn of the number and frequency of our world's bloody, often chaotic messes. His presentation challenges the reader to determine where the line between his spoofing and the facts of his selections of tragic human conflicts. Many of these remote wars were little known to this reader.

The War Nerd
does a fascinating job of pointing out the many varied and low cost ways that are being utilized by man to conduct these wars, leave a country in ruins, and kill off that country's human population. Mr. Brecher also focuses on the frequently applied unconventional approaches to warring where the attackers do not necessarily aim for victory but rather consider their success to be associated with simple attrition and the consumption of time. Brecher points out that far too often the people suffering the most are the innocent bystanders—people who are really oblivious to the political ambitions of the warlords conducting the conflict.

The reader is often left questioning the truth of the author's frequently quoted war specifics such as the numbers of people killed, and the times, places, and scopes of the battles since the book is devoid of any identifiable documentation. Although the text is sprinkled with profanity and vulgar language, which at times is disturbing, to express the writer's opinions about the sensibility of these wars, the passages are entertaining to read, often descriptively eye opening, and generally entrancing in content. The book's underlying message, clearly presented, is the pathetic sadness of several countries' past and present political circumstances and their chances of ever finding a peaceful national calm. One is left wondering where the next fight will inevitably break out and if this is the way our world is always going to be.

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