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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful introduction to strategic studies
This introductory textbook of strategic studies covers four main themes: the enduring issues of strategy, the evolution of joint warfare, twentieth-century theories, and contemporary issues of grand strategy. The book is written from the perspective of 'Western security interests', but even so, studying strategy helps us to think clearly about the ways in which states and...
Published on 14 May 2002 by William Podmore

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3.0 out of 5 stars Depends on your needs
This book is a helpful introduction to the subject but it does not provide an intellectually rigorous critique of the relevant arguments/theories and neither does it couch the considerations in particularly academic terms.

For example, instead of referring to "the causation correlation fallacy", it will simply describe this without ever drawing on the formal...
Published 17 months ago by REB


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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful introduction to strategic studies, 14 May 2002
By 
William Podmore (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This introductory textbook of strategic studies covers four main themes: the enduring issues of strategy, the evolution of joint warfare, twentieth-century theories, and contemporary issues of grand strategy. The book is written from the perspective of 'Western security interests', but even so, studying strategy helps us to think clearly about the ways in which states and others use organised force for political ends.
The writers all refute technological determinism: new weapons - artillery in World War One, tanks in World War Two, guided missiles in the Arab-Israeli war of 1973, precision bombing and superior ground force technology in the Gulf War - were none of them unbeatable. They show that the basic principles of conducting land warfare have hardly changed in the last hundred years. Armies need to combine their arms, defend in depth, keep large reserves, use cover and concealment, and integrate movement and suppressive fire. In particular, Stephen Biddle shows that, contrary to many claims, the USAF air war in the Gulf did not destroy all the Iraqi armour. Possibly 4,100 armoured vehicles later fought the US ground forces, but they did not fight according to the basic principles, so they were beaten.
However, the editors err in dividing what they call '20th-century theories' - deterrence, arms control, terrorism and 'irregular warfare' (national liberation struggles) - from the 'contemporary issues' of technology, weapons of mass destruction, and humanitarian intervention. These are all still live issues. Further, the editors could have presented them in the livelier form of debates.
As with any collection of pieces by many hands, the quality is uneven, but generally the better essays are more grounded in the realities of 20th-century military history. The worse ones try to discuss, for instance, the causes of war in terms of biology or psychology. As a rule, strikingly individual expressions of one person's views, like Colin Gray's Modern Strategy, or Bernard Brodie's War and Politics, provoke more thought than compilation textbooks
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3.0 out of 5 stars Depends on your needs, 24 April 2013
This review is from: Strategy in the Contemporary World: An Introduction to Strategic Studies (Paperback)
This book is a helpful introduction to the subject but it does not provide an intellectually rigorous critique of the relevant arguments/theories and neither does it couch the considerations in particularly academic terms.

For example, instead of referring to "the causation correlation fallacy", it will simply describe this without ever drawing on the formal name, as I have here noted. This may not seem a terrible problem but another example is the reference by Garnett to Otherness, again this is not identified and only a description is given. I find such labels for concepts a useful shorthand because it captures the concept succinctly and in terms of cognition, this aids its transferability and development.

Furthermore, the book is written very clearly which is good if it takes you some time to grasp the point. But for the quick-learner, the well-explained point leads to boredom very quickly!

On this basis, I find the textbook does not meet the requirements of a university level text but I am new to the subject so perhaps it is simply a reflection of intellectually lazy subject-matter in itself or a discipline which lacks a few good philosophers!

I would suggest the textbook is suitable for A-level students.

I am a second-year IR student.
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5.0 out of 5 stars University Worthy, 24 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Strategy in the Contemporary World: An Introduction to Strategic Studies (Paperback)
This was the core textbook for my module at university, and comes up again in a future module - where I imagine it will be just as useful and fantastic as it was with that module.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Literature, 25 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Strategy in the Contemporary World: An Introduction to Strategic Studies (Paperback)
Love this book. Its simple to understand; contains details of important subject areas in strategic history and contemporary strategic thought.
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