The Human Factors Of Fratricide, by Laura A. Rafferty, Neville A. Stanton, and Guy H. Walker
As the second of the two books that I received from H-Net simultaneously to review, this is a book that I almost requested in my previous round of book reviews, but held off and found that no one had requested it during the last couple of months. I’m not sure whether that is a good sign or a bad sign, but at any rate the book is now my responsibility to read and review. Looking at the book, this is not at all what I expected, but that does not mean it will not be a worthwhile book to read. It merely means that I had expected something that was a bit more human and what I got instead was something highly mathematical (again, this is not a problem for me, but it may have been a problem for other potential reviewers).
Of particular interest in my own brief examination of the book so far is the way the book examines the good and bad sides of talking and communication, pointing out that connectivity and cohesion are not necessarily positives with regards to the effectiveness of teams. This is an area of interest far outside of the military, including routine business and institutional groups where communication can have mixed effects depending on the specific situation. This book appears to show a great deal of nuance in its approach and a high level of technical language. The book is only slightly more than 200 pages, but looking at it, it feels like it is going to be a longer book as a result of its rather in-depth statistical analysis. The whole book itself appears to be an exercise in the development of a model (called the F3 model) to fratricide through the use of case study analysis.
Clearly, a book like this is not going to have a large market. The casual reader of military history is generally not going to be interested in highly technical models of behavior that seek to explain the constrained optimization of communication between team members in a combat situation. Nevertheless, those readers who do share those interests and have an interest in the use of modeling to understand human behavior in combat for the sake of improving those behaviors will no doubt find much to appreciate here and will not be upset by the diagrams and charts and technical language. This does not look like a quick or particularly enthralling read, but I look forward to it being an informative one at least.