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On War (Classics of World Literature) Paperback – Abridged, 5 Jul 1997

4.1 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions; Abridged Ed edition (5 July 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853264822
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853264825
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2.2 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

General Carl Von Clausewitz (1780-1831) is undoubt- edly one of the most important military theorists in history. His exhaustive examination and analysis of the Napoleonic wars are based on his long military career and direct participation in events." The Russian Campaign of 1812" is an essential volume on this turning point in European history.

Tom Griffith has also translated Plato's The Republic, Symposium, Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Phaedo, and Phaedrus.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Without going into the details and virtues of Clusewitz's work (suffice to say that whether you agree with what he says or not, this is compulsory reading for anyone interested in war and strategy) I think it's important to point out that this particular translation (by Sir Michael Howard and Peter Paret) is widely acclaimed as far and away the best English language translation available. If you are considering getting hold of On War (especially if you are going to be studying it formally), put your hand in your pocket and get this version.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This edition only includes Books I-IV of 'On War,' just half the book, and the 'active' table of contents only extends to the introduction. Look elsewhere.
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Format: Hardcover
This is not an easy book to read nor understand. It takes several readings. A large investment in time will allow the reader to understand Clausewitz's system and the remarkable way that it stills aides in understanding the phenomenon of war. The text is adorned with many historical examples. Continuously emphasizing that war is 'a continuity of policy by other means. He has defined perfectly the theory of war, its tactical and strategic purposes. A must for an military or political leader.
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Format: Paperback
This Penguin Edition of On War should be avoided at all costs. This is a weirdly edited and seriously misleading edition, put together by Anatol Rapoport in 1968. Rapoport was a biologist and musician--indeed, he was something of a renaissance man and later made some interesting contributions to game theory. However, he was outraged by the Vietnam War and extremely hostile to the state system and to the alleged "neo-Clausewitzian," Henry Kissinger. He severely and misleadingly abridged Clausewitz's own writings, partly, of course, for reasons of space in a small paperback. Nonetheless--for reasons that surpasseth understanding--he retained Maude's extraneous introduction, commentary, and notes, then used Maude's errors to condemn Clausewitzian theory. Between Graham's awkward and obsolete translation, Maude's sometimes bizarre intrusions, and Rapoport's hostility (aimed more at the world in general, and at Kissinger in particular, than at Clausewitz personally), the Penguin edition is badly misleading as to Clausewitz's own ideas. The influential modern military journalist/historian John Keegan apparently derives much of his otherwise unique misunderstanding of Clausewitz from Rapoport's long, hostile introduction--necessarily so, since he has obviously never read Clausewitz's own writings, not even the rest of the text of this strange edition. I would recommend the Graham or Graham/Maude translation. I if you do own this twisted Penguin version put it in a glass case, get it bronzed, or burn it--but READ something else.
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Format: Paperback
this was a tough read at times as the author often writes in a very dry scientific way that unless you grasp every word he says you can be left at the end of page wonder what the hell he was on about. but most other times you will find yourself slightly nodding at his theories and assessments. On War is a classic work that as been widely read all through the years after its publication and although it was written in a time when warfare was very different to that of today it is still an important read because while the technology and tactics of war may change the basic things of it will always remain such as what it takes to be an effective commander, the importance of logistics and the principles by which all wars are fought. its at times a heavy read but others a joyful one as you lie amazed at the perceptive grasp the author had for the subject and one in which he has examined all areas of from a definition of war to the difference between strategy and tactics so for the officer in training out there or the average armchair general this is a must read.
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Format: Hardcover
Clausewitz treats war as a natural, social organism, which can best be understood by practical experience. In reaction to the attempts by Jomini and other strategists to rationalize the theory and practice of war into discernible, scientific laws, Clausewitz emphasizes the capriciousness of warfare. As in all human endeavors, chance is a random variable in the conduct of war. Implicit in Clausewitzian thought is a distinction between strategy and tactics. While certain principles are useful for tactical calculations, Clausewitz asserts that no "laws" for strategy exist; experience, though, can prove of great use to the military commander. Another Clausewitzian innovation is the idea that defense is a stronger form of war than offense. In defensive warfare, a greater degree of the state's internal resources (including her citizen-soldiers) are brought to bear on the military effort. Clearly, Clausewitz warns that offensive advantage, once it has lost its initial momentum or has seen its concentration of force weakened or divided, can quickly be transmuted into a defensive orientation. Thus, a good defense is necessary for good offense (even if only during momentary pauses).
The main contribution of Clausewitz is represented by his maxim that "war is merely the continuation of policy by other means." In other words, war is basically an extension of politics. The initial motive for warfare is encapsulated by a political objective; war is a means to a political end. Clausewitz argues that policy permeates and essentially determines the character and extent of all military operations; the authority of the military commander is circumscribed by the political aims of the state. Thus, Clausewitz essentially maintains that the public sector (the state) must exercise authority over military operations.
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