Sunday, 19 May 2019
Firing from others’ shoulders
By Ali Ahmed
eBook XI – Compilation of book reviews

For Major General (Retired) Dipankar Banerjee
In gratitude

This ebook compilation comprises book reviews written 2008 onwards. The book is aptly titled, Firing from others’ shoulders, since it discusses ideas thrown up by authors in respective books. The books were prominent contributions to the literature, mostly in the field of strategic studies. Some have been agenda setting and many discussed ideas already in the national security discourse. Between them, they illuminate vast stretches of South Asia, its happenings and times over the past decade. Many of the points made have been referred to by me in my writings, collected in the earlier ten compilations. The strategic studies field has been greatly advantaged by the swirl.
The ebook traces the intellectual ferment in strategic, security and peace studies. The books covered touch topics ranging from nuclear doctrine to terrorism. In discussing the books - and adding my two pennies worth - the attempt has been to deepen thinking on regional and national security. I believe the mainstream can do with some stirring. It is far too statist, cloistered in realism and – worse - made vapid over the period by the ideological contamination of ascendant cultural nationalism. Swimming against the current has been challenging, but made interesting on that account all the same. It can hopefully be seen on these pages from choice of books to review and the particular idea to highlight, thrash out or trash.  
I am grateful to editors who have given space in their publications, in particular the prominent journal, The Book Review India. I must mention Adnan Farooqui in this breath. I have not included the reviews that were carried in service journals in the period and prior to 2008. In the nineties, I was an avid contributor of book reviews to the United Services Institution Journal, where some 30 reviews were published, albeit with a few being merely a paragraph long. All told, I have crossed the 100 book reviews mark. Not only have I enjoyed the reading, but also the thinking that went into taking the work further to sets of readers, both within and outside uniform. The book would interest students and academics, besides helping narrow the reading lists of practitioners constantly short of time. The books appear chronologically, making it easier for lay readers to follow the developments from the global to the local.
I dedicate the book to General Dipankar Banerjee, who I have had the privilege of knowing all through my time on the strategic circuit and who has constantly had an encouraging – and at times life defining - word all along.
As with all other Preface write ups in my ebook compilations, I end this one with a word of thanks for my family, who have patiently allowed me to disappear from time to time behind book covers and then proceed right away to bang away at the keyboard. My excuse has been that the output might be worth something. Since I fire from others’ shoulders in this book, I am certain this time round it would not be a lame excuse.

Happymon Jacob, Line on Fire: Ceasefire violations and India-Pakistan escalation dynamics, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2019
Srinath Raghavan, The Most Dangerous Place: A History Of The United States In South Asia, 2019, Penguin Random House, Gurgaon, India
Saifuddin Soz, Kashmir: Glimpses of History and the story of Struggle, Rupa Publications India, 2018
Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, Pshycho-nationalism: Global Thought, Iranian Imaginations, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018, pp.170, ISBN – 978-1-108-43570-3.

Chris Ogden, Indian National Security, New Delhi: Oxford University Press (Oxford India Short Introductions), 2017; ISBN 0-19-946647-5, pp. 152; Rs. 295/-
Chris Ogden (ed.), New South Asian Security: Six Core Relations Underpinning Regional Security, New Delhi: Orient BlackSwan, 2016, pp. 183, ISBN 978 81 250 62615
Avinash Paliwal, My Enemy's Enemy: India in Afghanistan from the Soviet invasion to the US withdrawal, HarperCollins; 1 edition, 2017
Kaushik Roy and Sourish Saha, Armed Forces and Insurgents in Modern Asia, Routledge, 2016

TV Paul (ed.), Accommodating Rising Powers: Past, Present and Future, Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2016, pp. 326, ISBN – 978-1-316-63394-6

Sumit Ganguly, Deadly Impasse: Indo-Pakistani Relations At The Dawn Of The New Century,  Cambridge University Press, New Delhi, 2016, 188, 395

Ikram Sehgal, Escape from Oblivion: The Story of a Pakistani Prisoner of War in India, Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2012, pp. 138, Rs. (Pak) 695/-, ISBN – 978-0-19-906607-0

Vivek ChadhaIndian Army’s Approach to Counter Insurgency Operations: A Perspective on Human Rights, Occasional Paper 2, IDSA, New Delhi, 2016, pp. 40

Nandini Sundar and Aparna Sundar (eds.), Civil Wars In South Asia: State, Sovereignty, Development, Sage Publications, Delhi, 2014, pp. 273, Rs. 850.00

Rajesh Rajagopalan  and Atul Mishra Nuclear South Asia: Keywords And Concepts,
Routledge, New Delhi, 2014, pp. 306, Rs. 850.00

Christopher S. Chivvis, Toppling Gaddafi: Libya And The Limits Of Liberal Intervention,
Cambridge University Press, New Delhi, 2014, pp. 249, Rs. 495.00

Taj Hashmi,  Global Jihad And America: The Hundred-Year War Beyond Iraq And Afghanistan, Sage Publications, Delhi, 2014, pp. 322, Rs. 995.00

Ahmed S. Hashim, When Counterinsurgency Wins: Sri Lanka’s Defeat Of The Tamil Tigers ,
Foundation Books, Delhi, 2013, pp. 267, Rs. 850.00

Hy Rothstein and John Arquilla (eds.), Afghan Endgames: Strategy And Policy Choices For America’s Longest War, Cambridge University Press, New Delhi, 2013, pp. 229

Feroz Hassan Khan, Eating Grass: The Making Of The Pakistani Bomb, Foundation Books, Delhi, 2013, pp. 520

V.R. Raghavan (ed.), Internal Conflicts Military Perspectives, Vij Books, New Delhi, 2012, pp. 324,`1250.00

Sumit Ganguly and William R. Thompson (eds.) Asian Rivalries: Conflict, Escalation, And Limitations On Two-Level Games, Foundation Books, New Delhi, 2011, pp. 259.

D. Suba Chandran and P.R. Chari (eds.), Armed Conflicts In South Asia 2011: The Promise And Threat Of Transformation, Routledge, New Delhi, 2012, pp. 297, `795.00

Ali S. Awadh Asseri, Combating Terrorism: Saudi Arabias Role In The War On Terror, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2009, pp. 196, Rs 450.00

Bharat Karnad, India’s Nuclear Policy, Pentagon Press, Westport (CT), 2008,
pp. 221, Rs. 795,  ISBN 978-0-275-99945-2

K.S. Sheoran, Human Rights and Armed Forces in Low Intensity Conflict, Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi: Knowledge World, 2010, pp. 88, ISBN 978-93-80502-24-3, Rs 225. 

Sumit Ganguly and S. Paul Kapur, Nuclear Proliferation in South Asia: Crisis
Behaviour and the Bomb, Routledge, New York, 2009, pp. 251, $126, Rs 795, ISBN

Jaideep Saikia and Ekaterina Stepanova (eds.), Terrorism: Patterns of Internationalisation, Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2009, pp. 266, Rs. 695, ISBN 978-81-7829951-8 (Hardback)

Harsh V. Pant, Contemporary Debates in Indian Foreign and Security Policy: India Negotiates Its Rise in the International System, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2008, pp. 202, ISBN 0-230-60458-7

M.J. Akbar, Tinderbox: The Past and Future of Pakistan, Harper Collins, New Delhi, 2011, 343 pp., Rs 499, ISBN 978-93-5029-039-2

Gurmeet Kanwal, Indian Army: Vision 2020, New Delhi, Harper Collins, 2008, pp. 342, Rs. 495/-, ISBN 13: 978-81-7223-732-5
Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, A Metahistory of the Clash of Civilisations: Us and Them Beyond Orientalism, Hurst and Company, London, 2011, $45, 338 pp., ISBN 978-184904-097-6
Talmiz Ahmad, Children of Abraham at War: Clash of Messianic Militarisms, Delhi: Aakar Books, 2010, pp. 475/-, Rs 1250/-, ISBN 978-93-5002-080-7
Suba Chandran, D., “Limited War: Revisiting Kargil in the Indo Pak Conflict”; India Research Press, New Delhi, 2005; pp. 161, Rs. 495/-
Praveen Swami, India, Pakistan and the Secret Jihad: The Covert War in Kashmir, 1947–2004 (New York: Routledge, 2007, Pp. 258. Price: Rs 495. ISBN 978-0-415-40459-4

Carey Schofield, Inside the Pakistan Army: A Woman’s Experience on the Frontline of the War on Terror, Pentagon Press; 2012 

Astri Sukhre, When More Is Less: The International Project In Afghanistan 
Hurst & Co, London, 2011, pp. 293, £ 25.00

D. Caldwell, Vortex Of Conflict: US Policy Toward Afghanistan, Pakistan And Iraq, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2011 (First South Asian Edition 2012),

Stephen P. Cohen and Sunil Dasgupta, Arming without Aiming: India’s Military Modernisation, New Delhi: PenguinViking, 2010

Priyanjali Malik, India’s Nuclear Debate: Exceptionalism and the Bomb, New Delhi: Routledge, 2010, ISBN 978-0-415-56312-3, pp. 344, Rs. 795/-

Ayesha Jalal, Partisans of Allah: Jihad in South Asia; Ranikhet, Orient Longman Pvt Ltd; pp. 373, Rs. 695/-; ISBN 81-7824-231-1

Karnad, B., ‘Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy: New Delhi, MacMillan, 2002; pp. 724, Rs. 795/-

Rajagopalan, Rajesh, Fighting Like a Guerilla: The Indian Army and Counterinsurgency, 2008, Routledge, New Delhi

Manpreet Sethi, Nuclear Strategy: India’s March Towards Credible Deterrence, New Dehi: Knowledge World, 2009, pp. 395, Rs. 880/-, ISBN 978-81-87966-70-8