cover of book

Surprise Attack
by Ephraim KAM
Harvard University Press, 1988
Paper: 978-0-674-01354-4 | eISBN: 978-0-674-03929-2 | Cloth: 978-0-674-85745-2
Library of Congress Classification U163.K27 1988
Dewey Decimal Classification 355.43


Ephraim Kam observes surprise attack through the eyes of its victim in order to understand the causes of the victim's failure to anticipate the coming of war. Emphasing the psychological aspect 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 and mistakes 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, judgemental biases, organizational obstacles, and political as well as military constraints.

Surprise Attack: The Victim's Perspective offers implications based on the intelligence perspective, providing both historical background and scientific analysis that draws from the author's vast experience. The book is of utmost value to all those engaged in intelligence work, and to those whose operational or political responsibility brings them in touch with intelligence assessments and the need to authenticate and then adopt them or discount them. Similarly, the book will interest any reader intrigued by decision-making processes that influence individuals and nations at war, and sometimes even shape national destiny.
--Ehud Barak, Former Prime Minister of Israel

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