2034 – A Novel of the Next World War, by Elliot Ackerman & Adm Jim Stavridis

Why this Book: Gifted to me by my friend Doug W, and I’d read a couple of Elliott Ackerman’s other novels which I liked.  Also, I have been impressed with Adm Stavridis over the years. 

Summary in 3 Sentences: The authors create a very realistic scenario regarding China’s dispute with the US over their claim to the Spratley Islands and their territorial waters, and the US commitment to freedom of navigation through those waters.  China continues to push the issue until a small  confrontation leads to China taking military action against the US Navy, which makes the US aware of the degree of sophistication of Chinese cyber capabilities to blind and disable a very computer-dependent military and US economy.  Additionally Iran, and Russia get involved supporting China, while India plays a key role as a semi-neutral player, as tensions increase in a 21st century version of a bipolar cold war and escalate to a tragic confrontation.

My Impressions:  Very well done and realistic, and those watching the news will be afraid that some of this might come true well before 2034.  The two authors create a novel with realistic characters representing the numerous cultures and entities in this tense scenario, to include senior White House officials, senior US military officers, Iranian militants, Chinese military and political leaders, Indian diplomats, as well as Russian military.  

Key Characters include the female Admiral in charge of the US Naval task force which confronts the Chinese in the South Pacific, a US Admiral and senior civilian political appointee on the White House staff,  a US naval aviator, a Chinese admiral working in the political apparatus for the PRC who becomes a Chinese Carrier Battle Group commander, an Iranian senior military officer at the end of his career running terrorist operations against the West, who finds himself in the middle of this great power conflict.   In this short book, the characters are not able to be fully developed, but they are realistic and compelling,  though only two dimensional.  Each of these characters plays a role in providing valuable perspectives and insights into the human dimensions of the miscalculations that led to this complex and multi-faceted international conflict.

I suspect that in this collaboration, Elliot Ackerrman provided the primary literary and novelistic structure and input to this novel, while Admiral Stavridis provided insights into how the US National Security apparatus works (or doesn’t). and brings his extensive experience to bear in how countries interact at the strategic and diplomatic level under crisis, in the international arena.

This is a powerful short book – all the more powerful because it reflects possibilities and potential outcomes of what is playing out in the news today between the US and China, and Russia and Iran.  Well written and highly relevant. 


About schoultz

CEO of Fifth Factor Leadership - Speaker, consultant, coach. Formerly Director, Master of Science in Global Leadership at University of San Diego; prior to that, 30 years in the Navy as a Naval Special Warfare (SEAL) officer.
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1 Response to 2034 – A Novel of the Next World War, by Elliot Ackerman & Adm Jim Stavridis

  1. Pingback: An Avoidable War – The Dangers of Catastrophic Conflict between the US and China, by Kevin Rudd | Bob's Books

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