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Editor reviews

"You fail to read this book at your peril." (Admiral James G Stavridis, US Navy, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe.)

Summary

Featuring an exclusive postscript read by the author.

Closely modeled on his NATO experience of war gaming future conflicts, War with Russia is a chilling account of where we are heading if we fail to recognise the threat posed by the Russian president.

Written by the recently retired Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe and endorsed by senior military figures, this audiobook shows how war with Russia could erupt, with the bloodiest and most appalling consequences, if the necessary steps are not taken urgently.

President Putin said, 'We have all the reasons to believe that the policy of containment of Russia which was happening in the 18th, 19th and 20th century is still going on....' And 'if you press the spring, it will release at some point. Something you should remember.'

Like any strongman, the Russian president's reputation for strength is everything. Lose momentum, fail to give the people what they want, and he fails. The president has already demonstrated that he has no intention of failing. He has already started a lethal dynamic which, unless checked right now, could see him invade the Baltic States.

Russia's invasion and seizure of Georgia in 2008 was our Rhineland moment. We ignored the warning signs - as we did back in the 1930s - and we made it business as usual.

Crimea in 2014 was the president's Sudetenland moment, and again he got away with it. Since 2014 Russia has invaded Ukraine. The Baltics could be next. Our political leaders assume that nuclear deterrence will save us. General Sir Richard Shirreff shows us why this will not wash.

©2016 Strategia Worldwide Limited (P)2017 Hodder & Stoughton

What members say

Average customer ratings

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Hugely important insight clumsily delivered.

What Sir Richard has to say in this book is extremely important for British defence policy and for stability in Europe. He knows what he's talking about better than almost anyone and concerned citizens and politicians alike should heed what he says. The fictional narrative is an interesting and potentially compelling way of translating a very realistic wargame scenario to a wider popular audience however the story telling itself is a little amateurish and the exposition of Sir Richard's argument is often far too obvious and clumsy, or clunky. The characters are a little stereotypical with bulk described, stock back-stories. The narrative itself just cuts between three essential locations of the same groups of characters (with a few scenes as exceptions).
Very informative and significant, but sometimes feeling like a school boy vehicle for an argument.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Plausible

Great story. Very interesting considering the current political climate. Would recommend to anyone who likes alternative or future history.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A wake up call for those in power

With a real political and frank agenda this book is written with a clear understanding of military and global politics and points to clear and very possible future. Well narrated, explained and just right level of detail to keep either a military or non-military mind on the edge of their seat.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent and informative work of fiction?

Really interesting to hear an up to date narrative based on sound factual knowledge taking into account many global facets, thank you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Insightful

The UK armed forces have a pride in their history and fighting spirit. Defence cuts have eaten away at its effectiveness to the point of international ridicule.

It is refreshing that the author has written this as a story of fiction based on the stark reality of where we could end up due to complacency.

The Ineffectiveness of the UN in the Balkans highlights the problems inherent with multi national armed forces led by weak Politicians. Now replace that with NATO against a major World Power like Russia and you can only imagine how much of a bureaucratic minefield it would be.

If you want a war story with descriptive battle scenes this is not the book for you. If you want an understanding of tactical insight at strategic level written by an author with personal first hand knowledge then read this.

The audible book narrator does well with his various accents to try and bring the characters to life but it's not easy to replicate a Russian and a Brummie.

The only downside to the book without giving too much away was that I felt it all ended a bit abruptly.

On the whole I enjoyed the read and would recommend this to anyone with an interest in the escalating tensions in Europe.

I only hope for my children's sake that the authors message is heard before it's too late.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Was this really the best way to tell this story?

A vital warning to everyone in "The West" about Russian intentions.
The narrator did a great job and different characters were instantly recognisable.

Putting the whole thing into a Tom Clancy style thriller was a risk that I don't think worked out. Some of the writing is really quite cheesy and detracts from the seriousness of the subject.

Also, post-Trump, the book sounds quite dated In the novel America takes the lead. I'm really not sure if that would actually happen these days or if Trump weeks simply regard the Baltics as "small places" "far away" that do not require US support.

Despite my criticisms, I really hope someone in 10 Downing Street reads this and listens.

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Never a more important time

.... then to have listened to this book during the week of Trump-Putin’s Helsinki summit. Dangerous world.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

100% relevant and true

Read this book if you want an accurate appraisal of the current NATO situation. General Sir Richard Shirreff gives an open and honest account of the political manoeuvrings within British defence, and further afield throughout NATO which are putting us on the slippery slope towards war with a nationalist Russia led by a totalitarian oligarch.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A little flawed, but needs to be taken in context

This book follows in a long heritage of former generals, freed from the shackles of the job, venting their spleen about what is wrong with the military they have just retired from. Inevitably, it follows a well-trodden path of a hypothetical war where their side is hamstrung by poor funding over many years, but grit, determination, and maybe a bit of luck allow them to come through..... just. Along the way one enjoys a healthy dollop of score-settling with politicians and maybe some fellow generals who did not "tell it like it is" in service of their careers.

This is no exception. Where this is perhaps more worthwhile than most in this (admittedly niche) genre, is the vigour of its delivery, as well as the worrying real-world backdrop which makes it urgent as well as strident. The indignation at the parlous state of the UK military is genuinely heart-felt, and the conviction about Russia's intent is ringingly consistent with the headlines we see so often. It is difficult to digest the implications, cogently argued, and not feel disturbed.

It is also just plain good fun listening to a general venting his frustration and unalloyed contempt for the politicians who can no longer touch his pension. David Cameron is treated with a venom which must be listened to to be believed. Whilst the author doles it out in spades here, I cannot help wondering how he himself behaved whilst still in uniform.

Other reviewers have found fault in the writing skills of the author. I think that rather misses the point. If you want an edgy, well-crafted techno-thriller, laced with credible dialogue, you are in the wrong place. What this delivers is insight, not character development.

All in all, I enjoyed it, but am less comfortable about the future having finished it.

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Gripping Fiction about a Plausible Future History

A brilliant story since so many of the scenarios and issues raised in the audio book are very believable. The General's obvious knowledge and understanding of the subjects discussed is ever present. Very enjoyable.

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  • Stephen Veal
  • 15-02-17

Great Book with Outstanding Narrator

As a former military intelligence officer who serve during the cold war in the 1970s, I find this book highly descriptive of the problems that NATO now faces. When the American president is ambivalent about NATO and defending the countries in NATO we all have a real problem. Putin only respects strength.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • A. M.
  • 09-05-17

Fantastic on many levels

Any additional comments?

First off, the narration couldn't have been better. I was hoping for it not to end. Second, the author obviously knows the world in which he speaks. A stunning example of how things can go belly up in a weak Europe.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Alan Miller
  • 10-07-17

No Sir John Hackett

If your looking for throwback to the of Sir John Hackett books about a WW3 scenario you'll be taken in by the beginning of this book, but you'll realise there's no comparison.

The story lacks imagination and sprints at the end to an unsatisfying conclusion that really feels half assed.

I listened on Audible and the performances were more than adequate and even if I don't like the ending the were some good parts so if you catch the book on sale go for it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Conan Moore
  • 19-07-17

Interesting summer read

Interesting story line. I appreciated the tie in with current events.

I had a hard time with some of the characters. While I understand the need to describe jargon and acronyms for the civilian readers, I can't imagine senior NATO officers needing to describe military technology to each other during high level briefings. Similarly, terms only need to be described once in the story. Its annoying to hear the description of an F16 in an early chapter and find a similar description repeated in the last act.

Aside from these quibbles, I'd read another novel by Mr. Shirreff.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Howie
  • 09-07-17

Great Listen, entertaining....but.....

The ending is really lame for such a long and well told tale,think he said I need to finish this soon and did.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-11-17

So bad it's almost good. Almost.

Whilst perfectly listenable, the story is centimeter deep and the characters are like something from a 80s Commando comic book. The voice acting and accents are incredibly grating - should have just read it straight. The plot is ok if a bit unrealistic at points, although it is very clear the author has a political axe to grind. It's certainly no Hackett World War Three.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • C. Carpenter
  • 16-09-17

Mixed Signals (spoiler alert)

Struggled to finish this one. I agree with the author's prologue where he uses his experience to outline the very real threat Russia poses to western Europe and creates a risk of nuclear war. He also, very aptly, illustrates the lack of concern of western political leaders about this issue as well as the atrophy NATO and western militaries have suffered since the end of the cold war. But, his story contradicts his assertions by allowing the "good guys" pulling it out in the end despite all the things he outlined which would cause us to lose. The characters are ok, but highly influenced by typical modern type casting. Overall, it's OK, but the story became so predictable it was difficult to finish.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • DavidSanFran
  • 14-08-17

A great listen

a really gripping narratives and excellently performed But it feels like it's missing one or 2 chapters at the end

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Matt
  • 13-04-17

Eerily accurate...

I'm on Chapter 11 and genuinely having a difficult time distinguishing between what I heard in this book and what I saw on CNN. The events that have unfolded in recent weeks are as if this was a playbook that was referenced. The author's insight to the (fictional) propaganda, triggers, events, and ramifications provide much more color than than is inferred or omitted on the news. Really good book so far. Here's hoping for a favorable conclusion for the Allies or that his predictions start to become less accurate...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Brandon Wright
  • 10-04-17

Better historical fiction

one of the better historical fictions around. accents are okay to great for some characters.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful