Victory Came Too Easily; Review of Rick Atkinson, Crusade: The Untold Story of the Gulf War

Review of Rick Atkinson, Crusade: The Untold Story of the Gulf War (New York: Houghton-Mifflin, 1993), 560pp.

Issue: Spring 1994

Review of Rick Atkinson, Crusade: The Untold Story of the Gulf War (New York: Houghton-Mifflin, 1993), 560pp., $24.95.

Rick Atkinson has written an excellent account of the victory of the U.S.-led coalition against Iraq in the Persian Gulf War, a work impressive for both the breadth of its research and for the drama of its narrative. That said, perhaps the most serious problem with the book is its somewhat misleading title.

The title--Crusade: The Untold Story of the Persian Gulf War--comes from one of two epigraphic quotes, this one from Karl Shapiro, identified as an "American poet"; "Every war is its own excuse...That's why they're all crusades." (The other epigraph, from the Duke of Wellington, contains far more truth: "Nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won.")

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