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The evolution of strategy: thinking war from antiquity to the present

Heuser, B. (2010) The evolution of strategy: thinking war from antiquity to the present. Cambridge University Press, UK. ISBN 9780521199681

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Abstract/Summary

Latin had no word for "strategy", but the East Romans, whom we call the Byzantines, did. This book tracks the evolution of the concept of warfare being subjected to higher political aims from Antiquity to the Present, using Greek, Latin, French, Spanish, Italian, English and German sources. It tracks the rise, fall, and resurrection of the belief in the Roman and later the medieval and early modern world that warfare was only legitimate if it pursued the higher goal of a just peace, which in the 19th century gave way to a blinkered concentration on military victory as only war aim. It explains why one school of thought, from Antiquity to the present, emphasised eternal principles of warfare, while others emphasised, in Clausewitz's term, the "changing character of war". It tracks ideas from land warfare to naval warfare to air power and nuclear thinking, but it also stresses great leaps and discontinuities in thinking about strategy. It covers asymmetric wars both from the point of view of the weaker power seeking to overthrow a stronger power, and from the stronger power dealing with insurgents and other numerically inferior forces. It concludes with a commentary of the long-known problems of bureaucratic politics, non-centralised command and inter-service rivalry, which since the 16th century or earlier has created obstacles to coherent strategy making.

Item Type:Book
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Politics, Economics and International Relations > Politics
ID Code:18790
Publisher:Cambridge University Press

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