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Posted July 30, 2010
Too broad and yet too narrow
I read this book as a part of a 19th-20th century warfare class I was taking for my history minor. I found it to be interesting, yet ultimately biased and (dare I say) a bit pushy. Liddell Hart really pushes his theory of the indirect method as the ultimate strategy of war, but his definition of the "indirect approach" is as broad and confusing as his definition of the "direct approach" is narrow. By literal definition, "indirect" is anything that is not "direct," but to say that an indirect approach is the only way to win is pushing it. Liddell Hart's distinctions eventually become blurred as he spends half of his book summarizing 25 centuries of combat and declaring victories "indirect" and defeats "direct." He criticizes several generals I have always considered (warning: opinion) successful: Frederick the Great, Moltke the Elder, etc. At one point he declares that someone's "indirect approach was too direct." It seemed a strange comment to make in the midst of his thesis. Furthermore, he disparages any disciples of Clausewitz as bloody-minded and destructive, claiming that they have a narrow reading of the Prussian, only to later demonstrate his own narrow reading of Clausewitz, who he widely discredits in the second half of the book. Another issue that discouraged me from the book was the absence of any battles or wars that didn't agree with the overall thesis. Specifically, the Russo-Japanese War was relegated to less than a page, and the Boer War didn't make an appearance at all.
In the end, I simply found Liddell Hart biased and confusing. It is as if he chose a broad thesis to defend and then refused to admit that there may be problems with it or exceptions to the rule.
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Posted September 8, 2008
This book has all the details you want from the first wars back 16th Century. Every 100 years a country becomes military powerful and conquer lands with there ecomoical strengh. Mostly this book tell you how to lose battles from WWI and WWII on the hittler side. I bought this book from my personal information that I got some of it. Basically, just tells the same thing every chapter so there is no change to strategy when new weapons for the infantry, tanks, and other combat units out there today.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 11, 2006
There are so many military books that are a toast to the author's acuity. There are no doubts about Liddel-Hart's confidence in his understanding of the subject. But then, by the end of the book, you have confidence in your own understanding of the subject. What Clauswitz does for definitions of war, Liddel-Hart does for clarifying how and why to move the pieces. This book belongs, well worn, next to On War. It should be required reading for captains and above.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 28, 2002
"Business", "Theatre", " Politics"
"Business", "Theatre", or "Politics"; that B.H. Liddell Hart was a soldier and a military theorist/historian rather than businessman, a playwright or a politician is the only reason this work is not otherwise so named, and thus focused. His own limited martial experience, later enlightened and informed by exhaustive professional study, enabled his use of the history of warfare for a verdant field of analogy, metaphor and example. An alternate approach to the study of waging war is expressly not his chief intent, however. Advocacy for the "indirect approach" in his ultimate purpose. Unlike many military writers, ancient and modern, who reduce their theories to slim maxims out of "superficial obfuscation" more often than "genuine profundity"; Hart's readers are treated to illustrations from the Hoplites of classical Greece, to the hydrogen bomb and the early Cold War. That the "consequences of failure in war are greater than in any other human enterprise", Hart's use of military examples is especially useful in communicating his main; though not necessarily exclusively military, premise. The author does not offer a cursory introduction and overview to military history and strategy, but carefully selects and examines contests of will, some of them bloodless, which convincingly support his central theme: the superiority of "expending brains instead of blood", of "fighting with the legs instead of the fists". Moving always along the "line of least expectation" and striking with the greatest surprise. A commander's grasp of the "indirect approach" while quantifiable in material and geographic victories; is best understood through its impact psychologically - the havoc and confusion it achieves in the mind of the opponent. The aim of "grand strategy" then is the engineering of conditions, circumstances and perceptions which make ultimate defeat of an enemy on the battlefield an historic inevitability or a mere useful finality for a specific contest. Though every vignette is culled from military history, minimum imagination and extrapolation will yield the obvious applicability of the "indirect approach" to business, romance, entertainment or politics - any field of human endeavor where one will contends for supremacy or influence over another.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 22, 2009
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