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Surprise Attack: The Victim's Perspective di [Kam, Ephraim]
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A new version of this book is now available.

The striking thing about surprise attack is how frequently it succeeds--even in our own day, when improvements in communications and intelligence gathering should make it extremly difficult to sneak up on anyone. Ephraim Kam observes surprise attack through the eyes of its victim in order to understand the causes of the victim's failure to to anticipate the coming war.

Kam analyzes eleven major surprise attacks that have been launched since the outbreak of World War II (by no means the only ones that occured), starting with the German invasion of Denmark and Norway in 1940 and ending with the Eyptian-Syrian attack on Isreal in 1973, in a systematic comparative effort to find the elements that successful sorties have in common. He tackles the problem on four levels: the individual analyst, the small group, the large organization, and the decision makers.

Emphasizing the psychological aspects of warfare, Kam traces the behavior of the victim at various functional levels and from several points of view in order to examine the difficulties, mistakes, and idées fixes that permit a nation to be taken by surprise. He argues that anticipation and prediction of a coming war are more complicated than any other issue of strategic estimation, involving such interdependent factors as analytical contradictions, judgmental biases, organizational obstacles, and political as well as military constraints.

Dettagli prodotto

  • Formato: Formato Kindle
  • Dimensioni file: 3247 KB
  • Lunghezza stampa: 288
  • Editore: Harvard University Press; 1 edizione (15 novembre 1988)
  • Venduto da: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Lingua: Inglese
  • ASIN: B002R5BAGY
  • Da testo a voce: Abilitato
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Abilitato
  • Miglioramenti tipografici: Non abilitato
  • Media recensioni: Recensisci per primo questo articolo
  • Posizione nella classifica Bestseller di Amazon: #560.604 a pagamento nel Kindle Store (Visualizza i Top 100 a pagamento nella categoria Kindle Store)
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Le recensioni clienti più utili su (beta) (Potrebbero essere presenti recensioni del programma "Early Reviewer Rewards") 4.5 su 5 stelle 5 recensioni
1 di 1 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
4.0 su 5 stelle An excellent analysis of the many facets of why surprise attacks occur so frequently in history. 20 settembre 2016
Di Bayard B. - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina flessibile Acquisto verificato
An excellent analysis of the many facets of why surprise attacks occur so frequently in history. The only negative I have is that the book is written by an academic for academics. It’s kind of dry.

The author focuses on psychological aspects, institutional and organizational reasons, and quality of information available as being the critical reasons why surprise military attacks can occur so often in history. These reasons can be summarized as follows:

1. The quality of information and data available for predicting enemy behavior. There is usually a lack of direct evidence of enemy intentions and much of the information is frequently ambiguous.

2. The persistence of conceptions even in the face of contradictory evidence. It appears to be a human psychological characteristic to adopt a belief and then refuse to change that belief even when new information shows that a change is required.

3. The environment in which the gathering and analysis of information takes place. That is, the organization and climate of opinion results in an interdependency among intelligence analysts, decision makers, and superiors as well as policy makers. In any organization, there is always pressure to make assessments that support the policy being espoused by the leaders (i.e., “cherry-pick” the data to support the desired outcome).

The author investigates eleven examples of surprise to assess how their cases of surprise occurred: the German invasion of Norway in April, 1940; the German invasion of France in May, 1940; Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June, 1941; the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December, 1941; the Japanese invasion of Malaya and the attack in Singapore in late 1941 / early 1942; the North Korean attack on South Korea in June, 1950; the Chinese invasion of Korea in October, 1950; the Israeli attack on Egypt in the Sinai in October, 1956; the Chinese attack on India in October, 1962; the Israeli attack on Egypt in June, 1967; and the Egyptian – Syrian attack on Israel in October, 1973.
The author assumes that the reader possesses a good knowledge of these eleven surprise attacks, as little background information is provided.

I found the author’s analysis quite fascinating. I also felt that his arguments can easily be used to explain the political and ideological convictions of voters and elected leaders and the management beliefs of business leaders, especially the argument regarding the persistence of conceptions even in the face of contradictory evidence. There was also a good discussion of the effect of “groupthink” in rejecting contradictory assessments and opinions of the minority member of the group and encouraging everybody to accept the lowest common assessment.
2 di 2 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle Outstanding! 29 maggio 2006
Di Rodger Shepherd - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina flessibile Acquisto verificato
This is a very systematic, thorough, and balanced discussion of the problems of recognizing a surprise attack before it happens. The material is well-organized and very logically presented. The writing is clear but compact and definitely requires the reader's concentration. However, the information and perspective to be gained from reading the book are worth the effort. This book should be read by every student of intelligence assessments and by every Pearl Harbor "buff".
4 di 4 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
4.0 su 5 stelle THE book on strategic surprise 11 novembre 2005
Di E. M. Van Court - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina flessibile
Kam's book is the definative work on strategic surprise. Using historical examples (focusing on the incidents of strategic in the twentieth century, and yes, he gets them all) with qualitative and quantitative analysis of all the incidents, Kam clearly illustrates the causes and effects of strategic surprise.

Each cause of surprise is clearly illustrated with historical example, usually multiple examples. The set of causes for surprise that Kam developed is comprehensive and provides an excellent starting point for serious consideration of how to develop indications and warnings against future surprise attacks. This book also provides a thorough framework for dissecting surprise attacks not covered in the text.

It is a bit dry and pedantic, but the material is so relevant to world events and his case is so clearly made that this shortcoming can be overlooked.

This one is a "must read" for any serious student of national security, and political or military science.
6 di 8 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle Military History Student 7 maggio 2000
Di Un cliente - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina rigida
This is the best book I've seen on the failures of intelligence and operational planing. Kam goes into equisit detail about the psychological factors relating to suprise attack. His unique prespective from that of the victim lends credibility to his arguments and provides an excellent forum for truly learning the lessons needed to be learned in avoiding strategic surprise in the future.
0 di 1 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle Five Stars 23 settembre 2014
Di Troy and Jenny Clements - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina flessibile
I got what was promised.
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