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Book Review: Senator’s Son

March 28, 2010

Was preempted by the Korean warship story. Here it is again!

How to manage the guerrilla? Such has been the major question of this new century, and various methods have been applied, are still being tried to deal with this new but ageless threat to civilization. They include ignoring the threat, or at least putting it off for some future generation to handle.The other extreme is launching massive conventional power against the elusive insurgent in hopes of stifling any outbreaks in its early stages.

So far the most successful course for defeating the guerrilla, also known as militant, terrorist, or insurgent, has entailed a long-term commitment. This solution is often the least desirable by admirals, generals, and politicians alike, since it may take years, in contrast to the deterrence of the Cold War, or the quick, decisive blitzkrieg of the First Gulf War. There is instead the subsequent loss of personnel on both sides, including civilian casualties topping the media headlines;grueling attrition that wears on the public will as well as pocket-book.

This solution is not just a text-book theory, but tried and true principles of COIN warfare. As Mauro Mujica explains in the preface about this modern conflict “Military forces can no longer shield themselves in bases and armored vehicles”.

Luke Larson’s Senator’s Son opens decades in the future, yet the premise is current events. A Chinese submarine surfacing within firing range of a US aircraft carrier actually occurred in 2006, nearby the USS Kitty Hawk. The ongoing controversy in the South China Sea over who controls the oil-rich Spralty islands area will resonate for those of us who see the rising fleets of the region as planning for future conflict.

Equally familiar to the modern reader is the decision making that is the heart of Senator’s Son, about whether or not to send American military forces to the region in a long and bloody war. This time, instead of the weight of responsibility falling on the President, it is a US Senator who fate has decided will hold the deciding vote . Also a US Marine, the Senator recalls his military career some 40 years earlier in the Iraq War to make his final, history-making vote.

Here is warfare at its grimmest, not a pretty picture, nor should it ever be pictured otherwise. Luke Larson’s uses his own battle experience as a Marine infantry officer with two tours of duty in the most contested fight the US has seen since Vietnam, to remind us this inconvenient fact. He cautions us that the decision for taking young Americans into combat should never be taken lightly, without addressing the consequences or properly preparing the nation.

If you enjoy uncensored military fiction that also has the feel of  first-person narrative, or if you want to better understand the current conflicts of this new century, then Luke Larson’s Senator’s Son is the book for you!

Available from Amazon and also the website here.

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