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Editorial Reviews

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

Publisher's 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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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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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

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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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  • Howie
  • Calgary, AB, Canada
  • 07-09-17

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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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

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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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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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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

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  • Flying Tiger
  • 05-31-17

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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  • R Davies
  • 03-12-17

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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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-24-17

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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  • M C CRABB
  • 07-19-17

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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  • Mstephen
  • 05-04-17

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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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Drew Scientific Ltd Bullard
  • 11-03-18

Dreadful

I think this is as good a reason as I can think of to not encourage military officers to write fiction.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Brian G Mills
  • 08-20-18

A wake up call, captivating but FRUSTRATING ending

This is only half a book but I completely agree with the sentiment. It is a wake up call of the utmost reality; one that I fear will fall on deaf ears. We are repeating the mistakes of the 1930's and the UK, with such a woefully underfunded military and such poor political leadership, will not have a second Dunkirk like deliverance. There will be no "Churchill" to rally and save us this time.

Whilst General Sir Richard Shirreff is right in his thesis, i found this book, as a work of fiction, both enthralling and frustrating.The book describes a realistic scenario, echoing recent Russian military adventures, that lead to war between Nato and Russia.The book ends abruptly, mid battle, mid war. The journey to this point is captivating but what a let down. It's as though all imagination deserted the General at this point and the complexity of how the war is won and the risk of a nuclear exchange is adverted becomes unimaginable. If you want to listen to 13 hours of tense build up to be then told mid story (mid battle/mid war), in a five minute end chapter, that we won and everyone lived happily ever after then go for it.

In summary: It's an important message and General Sir Richard Shirreff is a man to be listened to The book as a work of fiction is a disappointment. I wish he had presented a work of non-fiction putting forward his thesis and what he believes we should be doing as a nation to put things right.That is a book I would buy.

Finally. I wish the General would enter politics. Because if only we could replace our current crop of career politicians with people who had real world expertise, the ability to think clearly and strategically, and were not so self serving we might be saved.. The Camerons, Cleggs, Blairs, Corbyns and Mays of this world are leading us to our doom.

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  • William Hayes
  • 07-31-18

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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  • Dan Taub
  • 07-17-18

Never a more important time

.... than 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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  • John Chard
  • 07-07-18

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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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-16-17

Thought Provoking

Not a bad novel. Interesting insight into the workings of NATO and high level government bureaucracy. Although the author has a very valid point with regards to defence spending cuts, the repetition of this throughout the book becomes a little monotonous...still, worth a listen.