Association of Former Intelligence Officers

THE GRAND STRATEGY OF PHILIP II, by Geoffrey Parker, Yale University Press 1999. For the intelligence reader, a change of pace to context and strategy. This book is useful as a case study both in leadership -- an intelligent ruler who was unable to delegate meaningful authority to subordinates -- and as an example of strategic reach exceeding strategic grasp -- with the notable intelligence correlary that an abundance of information is not an automatic blessing nor guarantor of success. Philip II presided over a global empire during the 16th century. He was a man of high moral principle, and incorruptible. With all that he compiled one of the worst won-lost records in Western history, including the debacle of the Grand Armada and the disastrous religious war in the Netherlands. This is a well written, interesting and readable book by a veteran historian, with many lessons for today - including the parallel problem of data abundance (overload) versus effective data procesing into knowledge, for executive decision-making, and the influence of the cultural domestic environment and values upon fitness for world leadership. (From rev. by Gary Anderson, WTimes 16Jan99, p. A13) (RoyJ)

Reviewed in AFIO Weekly Intelligence Notes #03-99, 20 January 1999

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