The Dragon’s Teeth by Benjamin Lai

The Dragon’s Teeth by Benjamin Lai

Publisher: Casemate Publishing
Publication Date: 21 September 2016

In under a century, communist China has risen from somewhat humble beginnings to take its place amongst the world’s super-powers. A significant part of that rise has been the development of its armed forces – the People’s Liberation Army, Navy and Air Forces, as well as other paramilitary forces. The Dragon’s Teeth serves as a history lesson of significant events and milestones – primarily since the Second World War – which contributed to the development of those forces. For the most part, it stays out of the political realm, which one might have expected in such a history.

From an outside perspective, I have always thought of China as something of a little brother to Soviet Russia, with a lot of their military developments either being derived directly from, or copied from weapons systems which originated in that country. The Dragon’s Teeth outlines how that is true to an extent, but also covers the domestic development and armament industries which exist. While not going into the political side of the relationship, it also examines the rifts which occurred between the two countries in the late 20th Century, and the military consequences which resulted from that.

I found the book to be an extremely comprehensive read, although I did skip over a few parts which did not particularly interest me. I realise that it was written primarily as a historical look at the PLA, but I would have appreciated more information about China’s cyber operations. There are several off-hand mentions of the development of cyber capability, but the author didn’t explore this in any depth. I acknowledge that this may have resulted from a lack of available material, and that to some degree it was beyond the scope of the book; but at the same time, it is a future battlefield that the world is going to have to compete on.

This is a well-researched, and well-sourced history of the Chinese military.

I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

4 stars.

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