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The Evolution of Strategy [Kindle Edition]

4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Is there a 'Western way of war' which pursues battles of annihilation and single-minded military victory? Is warfare on a path to ever greater destructive force? This magisterial new account answers these questions by tracing the history of Western thinking about strategy - the employment of military force as a political instrument - from antiquity to the present day. Assessing sources from Vegetius to contemporary America, and with a particular focus on strategy since the Napoleonic Wars, Beatrice Heuser explores the evolution of strategic thought, the social institutions, norms and patterns of behaviour within which it operates, the policies that guide it and the cultures that influence it. Ranging across technology and warfare, total warfare and small wars as well as land, sea, air and nuclear warfare, she demonstrates that warfare and strategic thinking have fluctuated wildly in their aims, intensity, limitations and excesses over the past two millennia.

Product Description


'This is a real masterpiece. As a history of strategic thinking, ancient and modern, it is comprehensive, learned and authoritative. Its discussion of contemporary issues is shrewd and illuminating. It is lucid, wise, often witty, and above all, deeply humane. It should be essential reading for all students and practitioners of strategy: indeed I doubt whether they will need any other for a long time to come.' Sir Michael Howard, former Regius Professor of Modern History, University of Oxford

'Beatrice Heuser has produced a book of immense and unique scholarship. The study provides the most detailed and comprehensive survey yet written on strategic thinking across the ages from Roman times to the contemporary debates about the future of warfare in the twenty-first century. It is essential reading for any serious university or military student of strategic studies or international security.' John Baylis, Emeritus Professor and formerly Pro Vice Chancellor, Swansea University

'With this work Beatrice Heuser has made a major contribution. This is much more than just a survey of strategy through the ages, but a deep, intellectual examination of the complex relationships between strategy and war through the course of history.' Williamson Murray, Professor Emeritus of History, Ohio State University

'Heuser's history of strategic theory and practice demonstrates extraordinary range, erudition, intelligence, and insight. She appears to have read everything, in many languages, about attempts to apply armed force effectively. The Evolution of Strategy will be the first port of call for those wanting to check up on the development of land strategy in the eighteenth century, maritime strategy in the nineteenth century, nuclear strategy in the twentieth century, or counterinsurgency strategy in the twenty-first century.' Lawrence D. Freedman, Foreign Affairs

'Beatrice Heuser … has written one of the most important books on strategy and war to appear in recent years.' H. R. MacMaster, Survival

'… Hauser's deeply intellectual analysis of the history of military strategy achieves its aim and achieves it with style. It is comprehensive without being dry, it is intellectual without being geekish and it is authoritative without being academically arrogant … It should be read, digested, considered and appreciated like one would approach a Cuban cigar and cognac in the study or ante-room. The author is to be congratulated for a fine piece of work and a major contribution to the study of strategy.' Dave Mugridge, The Naval Review

'There can be no dispute that this is a major work by a recognised authority. Heuser set out to provide a survey of the literature discussing this subject over much of European history and there can be little doubt that she has achieved her aim.' Australian Defence Force Journal

Book Description

This magisterial account traces the history of Western thinking about strategy from antiquity to the present day. Assessing sources from Vegetius onwards, and with a particular focus on strategy since the Napoleonic Wars, Heuser explores themes ranging across land, sea, air, nuclear and total warfare.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2102 KB
  • Print Length: 593 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0521199689
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 4 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (1 Mar. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004V9MT1E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #536,652 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Top Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By M. V.
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In this book, Beatrice Heuser gives a very thorough overview of evolution of (Western) military strategy throughout the ages. The book consists of seven parts in which strategy on land warfare, naval (and maritime) strategy, air power and nuclear strategy, small wars and the evolution of strategy since the world wars are discussed. All major, and many minor, thinkers are discussed within the strategic debate of their age. Well worth the effort.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 17 Sept. 2013
By Jeanne
As a student of Beatrice's at the University of Reading I can say that this book (which alongside works by Colin S Gray) forms an excellent core and compulsory set of reading. It is well written and covers an excellent range of subjects. It is a must read for anyone studying the field of military history and the development of strategy.
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By Robbo
Strategy has become an overused, and often misused term, now covering a range of endeavours, from business to management strategies, rather than its original military application. Some refer to strategy with little understanding of its actual meaning, as seen when the term is used to address what are actually tactical issues. In this book Beatrice Heuser returns to its original military connotation. In a monumental work she investigates western approaches to strategic thought through the ages, and ‘The Evolution of Western Strategy’ might have been a better title. For although Asian approaches are considered briefly in Part VI - Asymmetric or ‘small wars - this book is overwhelmingly about European and American strategic thought.

Nonetheless, within the parameters of her work, Professor Heuser has presented a remarkable study and analysis of western strategic theory and ideas, and the abundant literature it has spawned. Never before in one book has such a comprehensive study of this enormous field of thought been compiled and considered. Clearly Heuser has an extensive knowledge of her subject, which she has mastered to deliver an excellent contribution to the study of military strategy.

After asking ‘ What is strategy?’ Heuser takes us on journey of strategic thought from Roman times to the early twenty-first century, addressing along the way such powerful influences as the Napoleonic paradigm; the World Wars of the twentieth century; maritime, air power and nuclear strategies; as well as those associated with ‘small wars’, counter-insurgency and wars without victory.
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