With the 100th anniversary of World War I upcoming and old enmities between America and Russia resurging in contemporary form—for example, Glenn Beck recently said, “I will stand with GLAAD against…hetero-fascism” in Russia—due to the approach of that gayest of sporting events, the Winter Olympics, I thought it worth taking a look back at the war that didn’t happen: the one between NATO and the Warsaw Pact.
So I dug out my battered copy of Sir John Hackett’s 1978 sci-fi novel, The Third World War: August 1985, which scared the hell out of me when I received it as a Christmas present on December 25, 1979, the day the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. ...
This bestseller is little remembered today, although its dry, logistics-oriented tale pleading for more defense spending has enjoyed an odd afterlife by inspiring Max Brooks’s zombie apocalypse novel World War Z that became last summer’s Brad Pitt blockbuster (which has provided me with no end of punning titles such as “World War G” and “World War T”).
Read the whole thing there.
I hadn't consciously been aware that Max Brooks was so influenced by Sir John's book, but it all made sense on a Plate of Shrimp level, hence all my World War G / World War T riffing.
A lot things turn out to be less random than you'd think. For example, Hackett has the Soviets finally stopped by West German reservists at a river in the Netherlands, just as Hackett's brigade was stopped by Germans at a river in the Netherlands when they parachuted in during Operation Market Garden in September 1944.
By the way, one of the great works of British boys' literature, Richard Adams' talking rabbit novel Watership Down, is an allegory of the paratroopers' terrified retreat from the bridge too far.