Masters of War : Classical Strategic Thought / Edition 3

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This is the first comprehensive study based on a detailed textual analysis of the classical works on war by Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, Mao Tse-tung, and to a lesser extent, Jomini and Machiavelli. Brushing stereotypes aside, the author takes a fresh look at what these strategic thinkers actually said—not what they are widely believed to have said. He finds that despite their apparent differences in terms of time, place, cultural background, and level of material/technological development, all had much more in common than previously supposed. In fact, the central conclusion of this book is that the logic of waging war and of strategic thinking is as universal and timeless as human nature itself.

This third, revised and expanded edition includes five new chapters and some new charts and diagrams.

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Editorial Reviews

Based on textual analysis of the works of Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, Mao Tse-tung, Jomini, and Machiavelli, this study seeks out the essential, timeless elements of waging war and thinking strategically. The comparative analysis highlights the continuity in the logic of war throughout history, with attention to its political roots, its rational purpose, and the factors influencing its direction and outcome. This third edition includes five new chapters, as well as new charts and diagrams. These chapters discuss the political results of victory, Clausewitz's "Trinitarian Analysis," and Corbett's naval strategy. Handel teaches strategy at the U.S. Naval War College. Distributed by ISBS. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780714681320
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Series: Military History/Strategic Studies Series
  • Edition description: REVISED
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 510
  • Sales rank: 442,182
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Selected Contents: 1. Strategy: Past Theories, Modern Practice 2. Comparing Sun Tzu and Clausewitz 3. The Definition of War: A Question of the Level of Analysis 4. Clausewitz and Mao Tse-tung on Theory and Practice in War 5. ‘Attacking the Enemy’s Plans’ and the Concept of ‘The Center of Gravity’: Eastern Psychology and Western Mechanics 6.The Primacy of Politics and the Military Commander 7. The Rational Calculus of War: Correlating End and Means 8. Clausewitz on the Role of ‘Moral Forces’ in War 9. The Supreme Act of Judgment: Understanding the ‘Nature of War’ and the ‘Trinitarian Analysis’ 10. The First Element of the Remarkable Trinity: The People in Arms 11. The Ideal and the Real: Victory without Bloodshed and the Search for the Decisive Battle 12. Speed, Numerical Superiority, and Victory 13. The Principle of Continuity and the Culminating Point of Victory: The Contradictory Nature of War 14. Clausewitz on War Termination 15. Deception, Surprise, and Intelligence 16. On Military Leadership 17. Boldness and Calculation 18. Corbett, Clausewitz and Sun Tzu 19. Conclusions: Towards a Unified Theory of War

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