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Surprise Attack

Surprise Attack

The Victim’s Perspective, With a New Preface

Ephraim Kam

ISBN 9780674013544

Publication date: 05/15/2004

Ephraim Kam observes surprise attack through the eyes of its victim in order to understand the causes of the victim’s failure to anticipate the coming of war. Emphasizing the psychological aspect of warfare, Kam traces the behavior of the victim at various functional levels and from several points of view in order to examine the difficulties and mistakes that permit a nation to be taken by surprise. He argues that anticipation and prediction of a coming war are more complicated than any other issue of strategic estimation, involving such interdependent factors as analytical contradictions, judgmental biases, organizational obstacles, and political as well as military constraints.


  • Surprise Attack: The Victim's Perspective offers implications based on the intelligence perspective, providing both historical background and scientific analysis that draws from the author's vast experience. The book is of utmost value to all those engaged in intelligence work, and to those whose operational or political responsibility brings them in touch with intelligence assessments and the need to authenticate and then adopt them or discount them. Similarly, the book will interest any reader intrigued by decision-making processes that influence individuals and nations at war, and sometimes even shape national destiny.

    —Ehud Barak, Former Prime Minister of Israel


  • Ephraim Kam is Senior Research Fellow and former Deputy Director at the Institute for National Security Studies, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Book Details

  • 304 pages
  • 0-11/16 x 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press