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1. Krieg und Kriegf hrung
2. Clausewitz and Contemporary War
3. Clausewitz and Modern Strategy
4. Clausewitz and Escalation: Classical
5. Reimagining War in the 21st Century:
6. Understanding War: Essays on Clausewitz
7. On Clausewitz: A Study of Military
8. Clausewitz, Philosopher of War
9. Clausewitz and Chaos: Friction
10. Masters of War: Sun Tzu, Clausewitz,
11. Clausewitz and African War: Politics
12. Clausewitz: A Biography
13. Clausewitz and America: Strategic
14. Clausewitz and the State
15. Masters of War: Classical Strategic

1. Krieg und Kriegf hrung
by Carl von Clausewitz 1780-1831 Buchheit Gert 1900- ed
Paperback: 110 Pages (1854-12-31)
list price: US$10.65 -- used & new: US$10.65
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Asin: B003S9X3MM
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This reproduction was printed from a digital file created at the Library of Congress as part of an extensive scanning effort started with a generous donation from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.The Library is pleased to offer much of its public domain holdings free of charge online and at a modest price in this printed format.Seeing these older volumes from our collections rediscovered by new generations of readers renews our own passion for books and scholarship. ... Read more

2. Clausewitz and Contemporary War
by Antulio J. Echevarria II
Hardcover: 264 Pages (2007-11-17)
list price: US$99.00 -- used & new: US$73.36
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Asin: 0199231915
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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While many scholars agree that Clausewitz's On War is frequently misunderstood, almost none have explored his methodology to see whether it might enhance our understanding of his concepts. This book lays out Clausewitz's methodology in a brisk and straightforward style. It then uses that as a basis for understanding his contributions to the ever growing body of knowledge of war. The specific contributions this study addresses are Clausewitz's theories concerning the nature of war, the relationship between war and politics, and several of the major principles of strategy he examined.

These theories and principles lie at the heart of the current debates over the nature of contemporary conflict. They also underpin much of the instruction that prepares military and civilian leaders for their roles in the development and execution of military strategy. Thus, they are important even in circles where Clausewitz is only briefly studied. While understanding On War is no more a prerequisite for winning wars than knowledge is a requirement for exercising power, Clausewitz's opus has become something of an authoritative reference for those desiring to expand their knowledge of war. By linking method and concept, this book contributes significantly to that end. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Content,Excessive Price, Free Options Online
I have known the author for many years, and my own work, monographs for the Strategic Studies Institute where he has been the Director of Research, benefited considerably from his mature and measured editing.His most helpful work for me is his piece on "The American Way of Battle," a brilliant analysis of how the US Government has lost the ability to do strategy ("strategic decrepitude" is when you confuse ideology, body counts, and powerpoint briefings with being a strategy) and instead obsessed on training, equipping, and organizing to do battles--and then our less well educated officers call the Taliban cowards, unmindful of the fact that they have held a "modern" armored force at stalemate for a decade wearing robes and sandals and using old single-shot weapons.Viet-Nam deja vu.

This is an important book and I consider it appalling that it is being offered for such a high price.As it is published by Oxford the normal free online copy is not to be found at the SSI site.Certainly all the rest of this author's many great contributions to strategic thought are free online there, as well as those of Colin Gray, Max Manwaring, Steve Metz, and many others.

This book should be offered to the public in soft copy at no more than $29.Until that happens, settle for the "pieces" online, and recognize that the source site, Strategic Studies Institute, offers everything they produce at taxpayer expense free online.Search for the author's name and enjoy most of what he offers at no additional cost.

At Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog, where I have more discretion, you can see all of my reviews on Strategy, on Force Structure, on Sorrows of Empire, etcetera, easily grouped (I read in 98 categories, all non-fiction).All my reviews lead back to the Amazon Page, and to my often buried contributions, should you wish to vote or comment.I respond to comments daily.At my review of this book there, you will find a link to Dr. Echeveria's SSI Home Page, wherehis SSI contributions (not those external to SSI)can be accessed free. ... Read more

3. Clausewitz and Modern Strategy
by Michael I. Handel
Hardcover: 352 Pages (1996-10-03)
list price: US$180.00 -- used & new: US$89.00
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Asin: 0714632945
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Addition to Your Strategic Theory Library
This book is a compilation of essays that were presented at a Clausewitz conference in 1986.Given the nature of strategic theory and Clausewitz, twenty years doesn't necessary make something outmoded.In the case of strategic theory, we seem to be living through a particularly dark period in the US, where our sense of strategy, or even the existence of a "strategic culture" is in question.Political and even military leaders mix up "strategy" with "objectives", failing hopelessly to see that the former allows for the achievement of the latter through the use of the military instrument, not the two terms being one in the same.That Clausewitz is still basic to strategic thought should be obvious to even the most narrow-minded of technocrats at this point since the fiasco in Iraq has been shown to be very much a "political" struggle by nature, regardless of the range of military "grammar" applied.

The essays include the subjects or Guerrilla warfare, intelligence, "time and space", chance and uncertainty, and various ways that Clausewitz had been misperceived in the 19th and 20th Centuries.

Of particular interest is the essay by Martin van Creveld entitled "The Eternal Clausewitz".In it van Creveld argues convincingly that Clausewitz's approach of dealing with war not as an object of scientific study (as in attempting to develop a positivist theory or "cook book" as vC puts it), but as a complexity of social interaction, and using scientific methodology - looking at war from a social science perspective - while at the same time considering war also from a philosophical perspective, ensures his lasting relevance.

One has to asked, "what happened?" concerning van Creveld, who has since dismissed Clausewitz through an obvious misreading of the Clausewitzian "trinity". . . In my opinion this change of heart has more to do with van Creveld's political views, than with strategic thought, since misunderstanding Clausewitz's meanings is hardly the case.

This book is more for the advanced student of strategic theory, not so much the beginner, although Michael I. Handel's essay on "Clausewitz in the Age of Technology" does provide an excellent primer on applying Clausewitz to modern warfare.
... Read more

4. Clausewitz and Escalation: Classical Perspective on Nuclear Strategy
by Stephen J. Cimbala
Hardcover: 218 Pages (1991-08-01)
list price: US$180.00 -- used & new: US$161.41
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Asin: 0714634204
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5. Reimagining War in the 21st Century: From Clausewitz to Network-Centric Warfare (Routledge Critical Security Studies)
by Manabrata Guha
Hardcover: 240 Pages (2010-09-17)
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Asin: 0415561663
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This book interrogates the philosophical backdrop of Clausewitzian notions of war, and asks whether modern, network-centric militaries can still be said to serve the 'political'.

In light of the emerging theories and doctrines of Network-Centric War (NCW), this book traces the philosophical backdrop against which the more common theorizations of war and its conduct take place. Tracing the historical and philosophical roots of modern war from the 17th Century through to the present day, this book reveals that far from paralyzing the project of re-problematisating war, the emergence of NCW affords us an opportunity to rethink war in new and philosophically challenging ways.

This book will be of much interest to students of critical security studies, social theory, war studies and political theory/IR.

Manabrata Guha is Assistant Professor (ISSSP) at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, India.

... Read more

6. Understanding War: Essays on Clausewitz and the History of Military Power
by Peter Paret
 Hardcover: 252 Pages (1992-06)
list price: US$39.50
Isbn: 0691031991
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These essays provide an authoritative introduction to Carl von Clausewitz and enlarge the history of war by joining it to the history of ideas and institutions and linking it with intellectual biography.These essays provide an authoritative introduction to Carl von Clausewitz and enlarge the history of war by joining it to the history of ideas and institutions and linking it with intellectual biography. ... Read more

7. On Clausewitz: A Study of Military and Political Ideas
by Hugh Smith
Paperback: 272 Pages (2005-03-02)
list price: US$38.00 -- used & new: US$26.30
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Asin: 1403935874
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Clausewitz is often quoted but more often misunderstood. On Clausewitz presents his central ideas about war and politics--such as war as an instrument of policy, the concept of Absolute War, friction and the fog of war--in a clear and systematic fashion. It also presents the man, his life and the military and intellectual environment in which he produced his great work On War. A final section considers Clausewitz's relevance to the rapidly changing nature of war today.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Work in Strategic Theory
This book is an excellent campanion volume to On War.I would rate it at the same level of Michael Handel's Masters of War, but below Raymond Aron's Clausewitz and Uwe Hartmann's Carl von Clausewitz.

Professor Smith's work is well written and organized.He presents not only Clausewitz's views but also those hoping to replace his paradigm of war which has been the dominate one for the last 200 years.In addition I find his work to be far better in describing the current Global War on Terror, although that is not its main intention, than recent works by Colonel Hammes for example.While Hammes loses himself in a maze of his own and others' reified concepts, Smith knows what strategic theory is, the natural tension between it and praxis and the danger of attempting to make the reality fit the subjective doctrinaire model and thus "falling short".

In fact On Clausewitz presents the tensions associated with Clausewitzian theory very well, with one exception.

First we have the tension between analysis and doctrine.War does have a rational element, and that rational element ought to make war into an instrument of policy.So analysis becomes when dealing with this rational element fused with doctrine.The same is true concerning political - military relations, conflicts between which Smith sees as "a serious omission" since Clausewitz fails to discuss this (page 219).He assumes that the state will treat war as a policy instrument and will not expect from war something outside its nature to achieve.Yet this happens, as in Bush's plan to remake the Iraqi political identity into an American (and Israeli) friendly anti-traditional arab state with only a limited investment of military resources to carry it through.I see this "omission" more the nature of a warning since the nature of war as political instrument remains, if one side loses control of the instrument it can mean that the other side gains control and thus uses the war to achieve its own policy goals.Notice how this describes well the current situation in Iraq in regards to Iran and Iranian goals in Iraq. . .

Clausewitz remains silent as to what the military should do when the political leadership botches a war, but his own actions at Tauroggen in 1812 indicate his subjective response in this matter.I think Clausewitz was unable to deal with this difficult situation in a theoretical manner, dealing with as it does personal values, which leaves each officer to find his own way should he find himself serving a strategically incompetent political leadership or a leadership which wages war for its own interests and not those of the nation it represents..

The next tension that Smith brings out beautifully is the tension between theory and praxis.He goes through Clausewitz's Kritik methodology and introduces praxis as the third step where of course it belongs.Theory for Clausewitz is used to understand history and in understanding current reality.Clausewitz's theory is not a grand system of reality (this is where he is definitely not tied to Hegel, but actually anti-Hegelian) but a flexible and tension filled framework of concepts and principles used to sort out the important events from the unimportant.

The third tension I would mention is that associated with Clausewitz's concept of cohesion.Cohesion acts as the force that keeps a state together, forms its center of gravity(ies) and forms the basis for its alliances.A lack of state cohesion detracts from the advantages otherwise associated with being on the defense.On the international level, states pursue policies equal to their own weight and cohesion.The international balance of power is maintained by the cohesion of international relations and interests which tend towards equilibrium, to the detriment of a single state that attempts to gain power over all.Thisflexible concept is very applicable to the international situation today in the Middle East and elsewhere where mineral resources are becoming contested.So cohesion works at all three levels - the tactical, the strategic (or operational) and that of war plans.

However it is this fourth and last tension I will mention where Smith's excellent book falls a bit short.Had he been familiar with Hartmann's work (unfortunately not available in English) he would have been aware of the Schliermacher dialectic, or rather the three types of this dialectic that run all through On War. Instead, Smith mentions Clausewitz's thinking as "dualistic rather than genuinely dialectic" (page 61), since for him there is only the dialectic associated with Hegel that comes into question.Rather as Hartmann, and indirectly Aron, have pointed out, Clausewitz.deals with conceptual pairs that exist in a sort of constant tension that is never resolved.Instead of a synthesis, this version of Schliermacher's is a reverse dialectic which returns to the source of the conflict between the two types - thus the Weberian ideal types of Absolute and Real War when "reduced" reveal the "remarkable trinity" as the unifying and tension-causing element able to explain both.

This shortcoming does little to affect the overall worth of the book, is more the nature of a specialist's comment.

In all I recommend this book to all readers of On War and or those with an interest in cultivating an effective strategic analysis of the current the Global War on Terror.

Smith's work shows Clausewitz's applicability to the full spectrum of warfare, including Nuclear War (strangely similar to Clausewitz's concept of Absolute War) and what he describes as "Anti-Modern Warfare" or Guerrilla Warfare along with Terrorism.Smith's comments at the end of this chapter are particularly useful in lifting the conceptual fog surrounding "Terrorism".Although in connection with this latter type, I think retaining the Clausewitzian terms of Kleiner Krieg and "People's War" along with a discussion of Clausewitz's seminar of 1811 would have been very useful.

Contrary to the current 4th Generation Warfare view of Mao as the father of this "art of warfare", as Smith shows, he must be placed in a larger context of revolutionary war which would include Lenin and the Comintern.The connection between Clausewitz on the one side and Lenin and Mao on the other is clear and historically proven: Lenin having extensively commented on Clausewitz and Mao having read On War in translation in 1938.Aron has detailed the entire connection between communist strategic thought and Clausewitz well in the work I mentioned above.

Hopefully this book will not only shed light on a complex subject for students of On War, but also for those followers of the currently popular anti-Clausewitzian faddish concepts which only achieve in clouding the waters ever more thoroughly. ... Read more

8. Clausewitz, Philosopher of War (A Touchstone book)
by Raymond Aron
 Paperback: 418 Pages (1986-09)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$121.66
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Asin: 0671628267
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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3-0 out of 5 stars Awful translation
Not even Raymond Aron's crisp clarity can survive a translation so doughy and poorly edited.Read this work in French, if you can.Every page of the English translation reminded me of the aphorism, "Ce qui n'est pas clair, n'est pas francais" (What is not clear is not French).

Aron has useful things to say, and his original work (Penser la Guerre, Clausewitz) received many accolades from his fellow 20th century analysts of life, politics, and war.Unfortunately one may read a 25-page chapter of this atrocious translation and end up thinking, "OK, Aron has just spent 25 pages arguing that Clausewitz did indeed mean it when he said, 'Defense is the stronger form of war.' "The reader would have been prepared to stipulate that 24 pages earlier, just to make the turgid and repetitive prose stop.

All this said, I must confess that I found even the French original a bit too extended in its treatment of such key Cold War subjects as "Defense:Did Clausewitz really mean it?"Confusion on this head is induced not by Clausewitz but by the unique features of global thermonuclear war, as conceived by Cold War strategists.

Thus the question that weighed on Cold War thinkers was what "defense" really amounted to, and not so much whether Clausewitz was, in truth, favorably disposed toward what HE thought constituted defensive warfare.From this standpoint, Aron's analysis of Clausewitz is a classic representation of a particular school of Cold War thought.Partisans of this school essentially chose to ignore Clausewitz's key corollary to the aixom that defense is stronger -- which was that defense could not achieve decision, and had to be followed by a transition to the offense at some point.

If it interests you to read an elegantly ordered argument for the "ignore-the-offense" school of Clausewitz's interpreters, then by all means, investigate Aron's treatment.If you don't have the means to read it in the original French, however, make sure you have plenty of ibuprofen to see you through. ... Read more

9. Clausewitz and Chaos: Friction in War and Military Policy
by Stephen J. Cimbala
Hardcover: 240 Pages (2000-11-30)
list price: US$125.00 -- used & new: US$100.80
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Asin: 0275969517
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Failure and folly are inevitable in war and in security policy related to war. Technology cannot rescue flawed policy or strategy. In his review of U.S. military strategy, Cimbala points to the possibility that excessive faith in technology may lead American strategy into a cul-de-sac. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

2-0 out of 5 stars Cimbala keeps beating the same dead horse
In Clausewitz and Chaos, nuclear strategist and historian Stephen Cimbala analyzes the role of "friction" in military planning and strategic decision making. Taking friction to the level of politics and strategy is an excellent idea, and one that many politicians might learn from. I enjoyed the book, and found the review in the first chapters on the modern thought about friction to be quite helpful.

The remainder of the book, though, rehashes themes that Cimbala has covered in significant depth in the past. He uses the examples of Russian war planning at the start of WWI, US/Soviet relations during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and nuclear war planning to demonstrate how inflexible plans and thoughtless leaders can precipitate undesired wars. In this, the book is a simple repeat of his earlier book, Military Persuasion.

Cimbala does include two thoughful chapters that expand his earlier themes and contribute to the study of friction in modern, information driven conflicts: one on NATO action in Kosovo, and one on the Gulf War of 1991. Both chapters are useful and highlight his thesis that war planning in the information age is just as susceptible to friction as it was 100 years ago.

Overall, those interested in friction in policy decisions, or friction in information war will find the book useful. Those who have read some of Cimbala's other works can safely pass this one up.

4-0 out of 5 stars Doctrine, Discipline, Intelligence, & Initiative = Victory

The author, and this book, may well be among the strongest elements of what I perceive to be a growing backlash against the prevalent technophelia characteristic of the military-industrial complex that President and General Eisenhower warned us against--a technophelia that advocates a "system of systems" with no provision for strategy, doctrine, or intelligence; and a Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) that looks to micro-UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and robotic ants as the primary means for defeating any enemy.We will simply assume every enemy will conveniently expose themselves to the narrow range of capabilities that we have devised at great expense!

The author provides as good a review of "friction" in war and in policy as one could hope for.Although sometimes tedious and not always easy to follow, this book is a must for any serious scholar of future conflicts between states, nations, and organizations.Above all, this book is a giant compressed Castor Oil pill for the techno-meisters so eager to believe they can shape a world where our money and our technology can overcome every obstacle and every opponent.

A few highlights intended to recommend the purchase of this book and its digestion:

1) Friction is not receiving the attention it merits from modern social scientists, including all those on the Department of Defense payroll.We still conceptualize our capabilities along techno-rational lines instead of human-normal chaos lines.

2) It is the combination of thoughtful doctrine, individual and unit discipline, initiative at all levels, and good intelligence (individual, organic, and external) that leads to victory through the reduction of friction--what General Alfred M. Gray, former Commandant of the Marine Corps institutionalized with his concept of "commander's intent" on top of training for war with the assumption that communications and computing *will* collapse in the heat of battle.

3) Although very brief in his coverage of intelligence per se, the author is helpful in reviewing Clausewitz's top eight sources of friction, the first three of which deal with information: insufficient knowledge of the enemy; unreliable information from patrols and spies; and uncertain knowledge of our own capabilities and dispositions.The author administers the coup de grace to technophiles with some elegant quotes from these worthies claiming that the new world of satellite intelligence is taking us to a non-Clauswitzian world where friction can be overcome by "information superiority"--these are the same folks that cannot find Bin Laden and had to invade Panama in order to capture Noriega--the same folks that let a warlord in Somalia run amok and let a small crowd chase away a U.S. Navy ship of war from docking in Haiti...the same folks that ignore 18 distinct genocide campaigns on-going today, with all that implies in terms of forced migration and epidemic disease and failed states and rampant destabilizing crime.

4) The author's review of groupthink (Janis) and how this leads to policy fiasco's is very worthwhile, not only because it is acutely relevant to how we are making decisions today in defense, energy, health, and fiscal policy, but because it highlights so clearly the dangers that come from a leadership that thinks it is invulnerable, morally superior, self-censored, sharing illusions of unanimity, subject to stereotyped visions of the world, and--worst of all--protected from reality by self appointed "mind guards" who put direct pressure on "deviant" naysayers (or dump them from the team).

5) The author is one of the few to focus on the impact of friction on what Clausewitz calls the ultimate disconnect, that between ends and means in war.As America prepares to rethink its military force structure, it is especially appropriate to note that we are planning to downsize the conventional forces while investing heavily in electronic capabilities, at the same time that the most advanced thinkers have moved beyond asymmetric war to non-traditional soft power including major emphasis on disease control, water preservation, transnational law enforcement, and major diplomatic and economic assistance options.Looking at today's situation through the author's eyes and this book, one can see that we do not have a strategy; we don't even try to understand what everyone else's strategy might be; and we are completely ignoring the need to fully integrate home front and overseas defense, foreign affairs, and trade strategy and capabilities management.

Over the course of 7 chapters, the author reviews friction both at the policy/acquisition level and the operational level of command, in relation to irrelevant and inflexible war plans; nuclear crisis management; within Desert Storm; in small wars, "faux wars" and peace operations; in modern deterrence; and in relation to mass destruction and information warfare paradigms.In the latter instance, he is acutely sensitive to the teachings of Dr. Steve Blank, that one man's information "warning" attack is another man's signal for "total war"--witness Russian doctrine that considers a C4I attack to be fundamental and requiring an immediate "dead hand" retaliatory attack.

The author concludes the book with a review of simple, compound, and complex friction in policy and operations, with examples, and for this section alone the book merits inclusion in any serious library concerned with international security.

... Read more

10. Masters of War: Sun Tzu, Clausewitz, and Jomini
by Michael I. Handel
 Paperback: 176 Pages (1992-09)
list price: US$15.00
Isbn: 0714640875
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11. Clausewitz and African War: Politics and Strategy in Liberia and Somalia (Cass Military Studies)
by Isabelle Duyvesteyn
Hardcover: 200 Pages (2004-12-02)
list price: US$180.00 -- used & new: US$164.61
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Asin: 0714657247
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Oil, diamonds, timber, food aid - just some of the suggestions put forward as explanations for African wars in the past decade.

Another set of suggestions focuses on ethnic and clan considerations. These economic and ethnic or clan explanations contend that wars are specifically not fought by states for political interests with mainly conventional military means, as originally suggested by Carl von Clausewitz in the 19th century. This study shows how alternative social organizations to the state can be viewed as political actors using war as a political instrument.

... Read more

12. Clausewitz: A Biography
by Roger Parkinson
Paperback: 352 Pages (2002-12-25)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$10.00
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Asin: 0815412339
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The Prussian general and military theoretician Carl Phillip Gottleib von Clausewitz spent much of his life combatting Napoleon's army, recording his martial insights in the demanding book On War. Parkinson details the events of Clausewitz's life, and aids ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Biography on Clausewitz; what a concept!
You'd think that a man who's philosophy on war is more read, quoted, and debated than any other would have had a biography done on him years ago, but that's not the case.Although many biographies on Clausewitz were published in German, especially in the late 19th and early 20th century, it's difficult to find anything in English.Hence Roger Parkinson's book truely does fill a gap in the literature, especially since Clausewitz' experience in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars affected the development of his own writings, such as "On War."

One of the reasons for the limited availability of biographies is the limited availability of sources.In his discussion of sources, Parkinson notes that personal information on Clausewitz is limited to the letters he wrote to his wife, and to a lesser extent to his friends and mentors Gneisenau and Scharnhorst.What this means is the much of the information on Clausewitz is inferred or drawn from secondary sources such as books on the Prussian reforms and/or reformists of the period; a movement in which Clausewitz was involved.

This is why my rating is 4 stars; not through any fault of the author's, but because the lack of primary sources does not allow a full exploration of Clausewitz as a person or his role in the Prussian and Russian armies.Unfortunately this means the book often tells Clausewitz' story via a military history of the battles in which Clausewitz is involved; the author adds as much as he can, when the information is available, as to where Clausewitz was, and his role, in a given battle, but in many cases this means one is reading another straight forward history of a given campaign or battle.

Having said that, this does allow a perspective on Clausewitz and his writings.Just knowing about his involvement in specific battles against the French in the Revolutionary Wars, Jena-Auerstadt, Napoleon's Russian Campaign, and the Waterloo Campaign allow some understanding into his thinking.

The bottom line is that this book must be read by someone who is interested in Clausewitz' writings.It adds substance to Clausewitz the man and not just the philosopher on war.

5-0 out of 5 stars Clausewitz, and the Wars That Made Him
This is a wonderful and lively biograpgy of a man and the tumultuous times he lived in.To many readers Clauswitz might seem just the author of a somewhat dry and theoretical treastise on warfare.A sort of modern update on Machiavelli's THE PRINCE.This work shows him to be something much more than that.Clausewitz expereinced the full extent of the Napoleonic Wars, both as a field and staff officer.Therefor, he was in a unique position to understand and to later write about the conduct of war.

Clausewitz saw first-hand the castastrophe of his country.Prussia had done relatively little in the earlier wars of the French Revolution.By staying neutral Prussia should have observed and studied the new systems of warfare that were being developed by France and Napolean.Instead a rigid adherence to the older theories of Frederick The Great were maintained, forgetting the fact that the great King himself would have adapted to circumstances.The Prussian army of 1806 has been described by some as a museum piece.

When Napolean finally turned against Prussia that year Clausewitz would see first-hand how ill prepared his nation was.Present at Jena-Auerstadt, he witnessed how incapable the Prussian army was against the new flexible tactics and formations of the French.Resounding defeat brought his spirits low, and even though personally he did well, this biography shows that Clausewitz was of a brooding and withdrawn nature.He became obsessed with revenge against Napolean.Soon he fell in with the influential reformers of the Prussian army.Gneisenau, Schernhorst and Stein all knew Clasewitz well, and he became one of those men behind the scenes working with these great people.

This biography brings all these famous people who interracted with Clausewitz to life, and shows what exciting and difficult times he lived in.As Prussia slowly rebuilt after the crushing defeat of 1806 Clasuewitz became increasingly desperate to see his nation take the field again against Napolean.Prussia's king, the conservetive Friedrich William III had other notions.While desiring to ride his kingdom of French domination, the king did not wish to change his government.Aware that the army desperately needed reforms, he resisted the ideas ofClauswitz and others who wanted a greater citizen invovlement in Prussia's military.To the King such ideas were dangerous to the Hohenzollern monarchy which relied upon the time honored principles of central rule.Clausewitz and the reform group were desperate to implement these changes.Only by mobilizing the general populace could Prussia ever hope to ride itself of Napolean.

As the years passed and opportunities came and went, the vacillating Prussian king grew ever more resistant to change.When Napolean demanded a Prussian contingent for his invasion of Russia in 1812, the king meekly consented.The reformers were outraged.Disqusted, Clausewitz quite the Prussain service, much to the kings annoyance, and sort employment with Russia.Here he was in an excellent position to analyize the 1812 invasion.Clausewitz observations on the strategies, the Tsar, and the feuding Russian generals and staff provide for much fascinating reading.Present at Borodino he participted in some of the horrific fighting of that great battle.

Later he followed the French retreat and would suffer great personal hardships from the Russian winter.His services were instrumental in bringing York's Prussian coprs over to the Russian side in the treaty of Tauroggen, which again almost went against his king's wishes.Reluctantly, the Prussian king would throw his lot in with the Russians against Napolean, but he never quite forgot Clausewitz's impertinance!Clauswitz would partake of the campaigns of 1813-14, and would take a major part in the Waterloo campaign of 1815.

This biography proivides a fascinating look at a very complex individual.It also shows a Prussian/German perspective of the Napoleonic wars not often seen in English.This is a very readable and exciting work.The author really gets into the people and times, and he provides first-rate descriptions of many great battles of the period.We find interesting portraits of all the famous personages in Prussian at the time, including Friedrich William III, Blucher, York, Schonhorst and Gnesenau.The author concludes with a summation of Clausewitz famous work "Vom Kreig" - "On War", used by political theorists to this day.A first-rate and highly readable biography of a fascinating time in German history. Should be in every Napoleonic library.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Story of a Military Man
This book follows the action of the Napoleonic wars, where Clausewitz spent most of his life and his energy.Parkinson motivates Clausewitz's famous, later work, 'On War', by telling us of a man obsessed with fighting for the Fatherland against the French.As the pages turn, the reader empathizes with the Prussian Junker, who has trouble talking to women and even more hardship trying to reform the Prussian army.The final chapter concerns itself with 'On War' and its misinterpretation in the many wars following its publication.Parkison has a fluid writing style which makes the reading fast.

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic and highly scholarly study of military theory
Clausewitz: A Biography by biographer Roger Parkinson relates the life and work of German officer and military theorist Carl Phillip Gottleib von Clausewitz (1780-1831) who is perhaps best known for his historic contribution to military studies titled "On War." Scrutinizing Clausewitz's life and ideas in the keenest detail, Clausewitz: A Biography is a classic and highly scholarly study of military theory, as well as a straightforward and very strongly recommended presentation of a great leader's life. ... Read more

13. Clausewitz and America: Strategic Thought and Practice from Vietnam to Iraq (Strategy and History)
by Stuart Kinross
Hardcover: 256 Pages (2007-09-25)
list price: US$160.00 -- used & new: US$102.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0415380235
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This book demonstrates how Clausewitzian thought influenced American strategic thinking between the Vietnam War and the current conflict in Iraq.

Carl von Clausewitz's thought played a part in the process of military reform and the transition in US policy that took place after the Vietnam War. By the time of the 1991 Gulf War, American policy makers demonstrated that they understood the Clausewitzian notion of utilizing military force to fulfil a clear political objective. The US armed forces bridged the operational and strategic levels during that conflict in accordance with Clausewitz’s conviction that war plans should be tailored to fulfil a political objective. With the end of the Cold War, and an increasing predilection for technological solutions, American policy makers and the military moved away from Clausewitz. It was only the events of 11 September 2001 that reminded Americans of his intrinsic value. However, while many aspects of the ‘War on Terror’ and the conflict in Iraq can be accommodated within the Clausewitzian paradigm, the lack of a clear policy for countering insurgency in Iraq suggests that the US may have returned full circle to the flawed strategic approach evident in Vietnam.

Clausewitz and America will be of great interest to students of strategy, military history, international security and US politics.

... Read more

14. Clausewitz and the State
by Peter Paret
Paperback: 496 Pages (1985-12-01)
list price: US$33.00 -- used & new: US$16.86
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 069100806X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Originally published in 1976, Clausewitz and the State presents a comprehensive analysis of one of the significant thinkers of modern Europe. Peter Paret combines social and military history and psychological interpretation with a study of Clausewitz's military theories and of his unduly neglected historical and political writing.

This timely new edition includes a preface which allows Paret to recount the past thirty years of discussion on Clausewitz and respond to critics. A companion volume to Clausewitz's On War, this book is indispensable to anyone interested in Clausewitz and his theories, and their proper historical context.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars "Essential Military History Library" book
I thought I knew Clausewitz.I have an advanced degree in International Relations and Strategic Studies in a program that emphasizes Clausewitz's writings and general influence in its curriculum, including a close, semester-long reading and discussion of "On War" in its entirety.In addition, since graduating I've read several biographical sketches and insightful academic essays on Clausewitz and his theories by Michael Howard, Alan Beyerchan, Christopher Bassford, Barry Watts, and other noted Clausewitz scholars.The only reason I picked this book up was because of the glowing praise it received from Williamson "Wick" Murray, one the nation's most prominent military historians, in a military bibliography he compiled as part of a DoD contract.He listed "Clausewitz and the State" as one of twenty-five books making up "The Essential Military History Library."(To give the reader a sense, other books in this elite category include Thucydides' "History of the Peloponnesian War," Clausewitz's "On War," Tolstoy's "War and Peace," Grant's "Memoirs" and Churchill's "Life of Marlborough."Lofty company, indeed.)Given such a strong endorsement from such a qualified source, I felt compelled to add it to my reading list, although I was only expecting a "Clausewitz refresher."I was wrong.

Paret's work is a masterful mix of biography, philosophy and history, which combine to provide the reader insights into Clausewitz's character and theories like no other secondary work has or likely ever will.

The great feature of this book is the 360-degree view of Clausewitz it presents.Even with the best intentions, most biographers end up presenting an idealized view of their subjects.But the Clausewitz presented by Paret is entirely human.It's a tall task to get a twenty-first century American to truly understand an early nineteenth century Prussian, but that's precisely what Paret's book enables.The author includes a number of incisive quotations on Clausewitz from military performance evaluations, professional recommendations, book reviews of his work, and the diaries of leading socialites.Some are effusive in praise; others are quite denigrating.But nearly all capture the essence of a man of intense ambition and genius, but from a humble background, socially awkward and perceived (incorrectly) by the senior state leadership as a man with dangerously radical political tendencies.All of this combined to create a remarkable career given his social roots, but nevertheless supremely frustrating to a man of rare ability.The effect is similar to the character development of a great novelist.You begin to feel that you actually know Clausewitz, as though he were a close, life-long acquaintance.You begin to sense that you could accurately guess how he would react to any given situation.All of this is more than just interesting reading: it makes Clausewitz's theories and intentions much more understandable.

One of the most common complaints from Clausewitz critics and enthusiasts alike is that his original ideas and writings have been misunderstood and subsequently warped over the years.Even some of the philosopher's sharpest critics - most notably the British military historian B.H. Liddell Hart - have conceded that much of the destruction done in Clausewitz's name is attributable to those who misread his true point or, more commonly, never actually read "On War" at all except for a few phrases taken out of context."Clausewitz and the State" was written as a companion to Paret's groundbreaking 1976 re-translation of "On War" and it should not be viewed as a substitute for that great work.Nevertheless, no serious student of war and peace will want to approach Clausewitz, his theories and his magnum opus without also closely reading this book.It is simply indispensable.

4-0 out of 5 stars From Idealist to Realist
Paret argues that the great Prussian military theorist Karl von Clausewitz was a realist with a life-long affinity to serve the nation-state and pursued a desire to understand this intricate and diverse concept. Clausewitz progressed from an idealized vision of statehood as a young man to a realist outlook in later life. This realism, argues Paret, is evident in Clausewitz's political writings as well as his mot famous treatise _On War_the ultimate extension of policy by concerted use of force. Yet it is the "Psychological and historical genesis" (p. 10) of Clausewitz's theories that Paret ultimately wants to convey. Paret concludes: "Clausewitz combined two very different callings-service to the state and scholarship-with remarkable success" (p. 436). Paret utilizes a contextual approach. Paret contends that in order to better understand Clausewitz's theories, the reader must first identify with the time frame that Clausewitz lived. Paret divides the book between biography and analysis of some prominent historical and political writings. Paret utilizes biography to illustrate Clausewitz's transformation from idealist to realist. Paret's analysis of Clausewitz's writings serves to show the differentiation between Clausewitz the political commentator and Clausewitz the military theorist. The printed materials available on Clausewitz are extensive though Paret leans more towards primary sources in this study. Besides the vast array of Clausewitz's own writings, Paret also makes extensive use of letters. Correspondence between Clausewitz and his fiancée/wife Marie v. Brühl and August von Gneisanau, collected in a plethora of German language sources are the most frequently cited. Paret makes it known, however, that new primary evidence dealing with Clausewitz is still surfacing though "widely dispersed." Source books and collections by Werner Hahlweg, Hans Rothfels and Walther Shering are also critically cited. It is obvious that Paret is enamored with Clausewitz and gives more than a sympathetic portrayal of his subject. Paret only passes lightly over criticisms of Clausewitz mainly the writings of W. Hahlweg and H. Rothfels and completely ignores the works of John Keegan and B.H. Liddle-Hart. Although the vast arrays of German language sources are impressive, they seem overdone for a book aimed at English speaking readers. As Paret mentions, this book provides an excellent companion volume to the M. Howard, P. Paret translation of _On War_ (Princeton: 1976) that is becoming a much-standardized text. Paret has succeeded in helping the reader to better understand Clausewitz by placing him in a contextual setting, especially his early experiences, influences, and education. Without a doubt, Clausewitz lived through some turbulent political changes in Europe between 1815-1831 and Paret illustrates this successfully. A major consensus seems to be that one can only understand Clausewitz by reading him. Paret certainly has created a thirst to do so in this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Illuminating Biography of Military Theorist
This book is a biography of a noteworthy but relatively obscure figure, Carl von Clausewitz, whose main claim to fame is having coined the famous dictum, "War is the Extension of Politics by other i.e. violent means" cited to by V.I. Lenin and others.This work, while dense and sometimes tedious in its explication of Clausewitz' views isfascinating in its description of its subject's life and times which facts serve to illuminate his ideas and their evolution.

Clausewitz was born into a middle-class family in Prussia in the late 18th Century.His father, not being a noble, was unable to retain his provisional officer rank of lieutenant he had achieved during the Seven Years War (known as the French and Indian War in the North American theater of operations).Thus a subtext of Clausewitz and his family's dubious pretentions to nobility that were finally "recognized" in the wake of his own and to a lesser extent his brother's-who also became a lesser known general-achievements.

Clausewitz and his older brother were farmed out to the military by their father in 1792 when Clausewitz was 12 years old as officer cadets during the Wars of the French Revolution and he served in the military throughout the entire Napoleonic period and thereafter rising to the rank of major general.It was this highly charged political atmosphere that conditioned Clausewitz' world view and made him-along with his mentor Gerhard Scharnhorst-realize that the old set piece notions of war which played out like a chess game held in a gentleman's club between rival aristocratic principalities were no longer viable.It also gave added fuel to his and the other "reformers" views that certain social changes were needed to neutralize the appeal of the French Revolution.Thus they called for the scaling back of aristocratic privilege and the building of a military based on broader nationalist and meritocratic bases.They also emphasized, ironically given the reputation of mindless obedience that Prussian militarism retained, the importance of inculcating troops with a spirit of self reliance which involved de-emphasizing dogma and promoting analytical thinking that could form the basis for decision making in unforseen circumstances of crisis. These ideas took on greater urgency after Prussia's stunning and swift defeat at the hands of Napolean in 1806 in a few weeks of fighting (when Clausewitz was taken prisoner and actually was granted an audience with the French Emperor)- a situation that ironically suggests the fate of France of 1940, but this in the era of horse cavalry!-resulting in Napolean and the Grand Armee marching triumphantly through the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.As a result Prussia was for a number of years reduced to a virtual vassal state of France, not unlike what Vichy France was to Germany a century and half later, and when war broke out again in 1812 it was forced to take the side of Napolean.This was deeply offensive to patriotic and nationalist advocates like Scharnhorst, Clausewitz and others like Field Marshal Gneisenau and ultimately Clausewitz decamped to Russia where he became involved with the "Russo-German Legion" which after Napoleon's reverses there was able to first convince the Prussian commander Yorck to switch sides and then Prussia-like Italy in WW2-to do the same.Clausewitz then went with the "Allied" armies all the way to Paris and thereafter fought in a rear guard action at Waterloo.

The sweetness of this victory for him and others (Sharnhorst having died on the field of battle in 1813) was muted by the extreme reactionary turn of the victors towards resurrecting old time aristocratic and monarchical privilege, something Clauswitz from his vantage point of a military instructor in Berlin saw as holding back both Prussia and Germany's social and political development internally towards becoming a modern nation state and only adding fuel to the fire of discontent throughout Europe.Moreover, his reputation as a bourgois, if not "liberal", reformer caused his career to stall.It was in this context, that returned to line duty, he died of cholera while observing the events of the revolution of 1830 in Poland.

The book's shortcoming is its dense style which makes its ideas less accessible than they could be.Moreover, the ideas of its subject could be elucidated better; the author relies too heavily on extended quotations from his subject's work.For example, an entire chapter of On War is reproduced with little gloss.

After having read this book, I saw a documentary about James Cameron's recent mission to the wreck of the battleship Bismarck and was able to appreciate its references to two of the heavy cruisers in that great warship's battle group: Scharnhorst and Gneisenau.Finally, for what it's worth, we can speculate about what Clausewitz' view of later German military history might have been, but one conclusion seems inescapable: he would have found Hitler's invasion of Russia a collosal blunder breathtaking in its ingnorance of the lessons of history which resulted in a similar outcome that snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Real Clausewitz
Clausewitz was not a god of war, nor an advocate of the waging of war for war's, or conquest's, sake.He was a thoughtful, experienced soldier who saw much service, wrote about his experiences and tried to improve thearmed forces of his country, Prussia.

This exceptional book by PeterParet not only gives interesting information on Clausewitz the soldier andthe man, but also explains the interesting enigma that was Prussia before,during, and after the Napoleonic Wars.This is not a companion book toanything, but a well-researched volume that stands on its own asauthoritative history.

Paret goes into detail on why Prussia wasdefeated, and its army destroyed by Napoleon in the cataclysm of 1806. Conversely, the thoughtful, professional soldiers who sought to rebuildthat army, 'with vengeance very much in mind' are developed to the extentthat they are perceived as human without the false front of a textbook.

Excellently reserarched from original sources and credible secondaryones, Paret also goes in depth to cover the Prussian 'War of Liberation' ofGermany from the French, the liberation in large part meaning annexation byPrussia.Additionally, he also explains that the Prussian civilianpopulation, somewhat a thing apart from the Prussian army, was persuaded,by force if necessary, to participate in the wars in 1813-1814.

This bookgoes a long way into explaining Clausewitz and his times, is worthfavorable, consideration, and belongs on the bookshelf of every thoughtfulstudent.

5-0 out of 5 stars Provides an excellent start to the study of Clausewitz
Der Krieg ist eine bloße Fortsetzung der Politik mit anderen Mitteln.That one line from Carl von Clausewitz's most famous work, On War, is the most often quoted and perhaps most misunderstood concept that belongs tothe Prussian officer's theory of war.Clausewitz's ideas are complex andhis writings require study and contemplation to understand, but for thosewho invest the time and effort the results will be that your view of warwill change forever. Professor Paret's book provides a helpful aide tothis understanding.While Clausewitz and the State is not light readingand a background in German or at least Napoleanic history is helpful, thisbook provides the basis for developing a fuller understanding of Clausewitzand his concepts. The Clausewitz that Paret introduces is hardly thestereotype Prussian marinet.He's a reformer and distinctly modern in hisoutlook.A career officer who joined a line regiment as a cadet at 12, sawhis first action at 14 and rose to the rank of Major General, yet wrote ofthe profound sorrow he felt upon leaving home at such a tender age,Clausewitz put his sense of duty to the state, and by extension thePrussian people, before his duty to the monarch. Branded a radical hiscareer suffered, but he remained true to his convictions.The GeneralStaff officers of the 20 July 1944 plot against Hitler can trace the rootsof their decision to him. This book provides an excellent base from whichto start in understanding the thoughts of this trully novel thinker.Ialso recommend a visit to the Clausewitz Page on the web.Read this bookbefore you attempt to take on On War. ... Read more

15. Masters of War: Classical Strategic Thought
by Michael Handel
Hardcover: 344 Pages (1996-10-31)
list price: US$55.00 -- used & new: US$287.42
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0714646741
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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Masters of War is the first comprehensive studybased on a detailed textual analysis of the classical workson war by Clausewitz and Sun Tzu and to a lesser extent by 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 is 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 second, enlarged, edition contains a new chapter on the Clausewitzian principles of continuity and the culminating pointof victory. There are also six new appendices. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Sun Tzu and Clausewitz Salad, Right Here!!!!
Handel does a great job of reflecting upon how Sun Tzu and Clausewitz still influence today's world. These two shape how generals think, and as a result, how nations fight wars. Handel does a great job of going through and illustrating how each thought, as well as the differences and similarities that can be found in their texts. The message he sends is that these two represent the keystone of strategic thought. However, he does go on to discuss lesser strategic thinkers, and even notes how they fit into the larger discussion. All in all, a very good book, but on a narrow topic.

2-0 out of 5 stars if only there were another way...
This book is an analysis of Carl von Clausewitz's treatise On War. The author seems biased to Clausewitz's version of warfare, but admits there are inconsistencies. The other military philosophers cited are used to back up his points. There are too many citations and not enough coherent development of the various points trying to be made.

That being said, I am only half way through it, and am not enjoying it. The author is clearly well studied in the classical works of Clausewitz and Sun Tzu. As I already said, he uses many of Machiavelli's, Jomini's, and Mao Tsetung's works to back up the various points he is presenting. I feel like the author is over-citing these points, and he will use many citations in succession to prove a point. Some of the citations are quite long, and leave me confused. Right now, it is a struggle...

While I cannot argue that I am not learning anything, the pace at which this is occurring is agonizing. I would not continue to read this book if it was not for a class in military philosophy. The other text for the class is Mark McNeilly's Sun Tzu and the Art of Modern Warfare, which I thoroughly enjoyed, even though it focused almost exclusively on Sun Tzu. Maybe I am biased...

3-0 out of 5 stars More pages then necessiary for the material.
I liked his use of direct quotes by the various strategists, but... it uses too many pages for what it is at 400 pages or so in length. It could be called a good scholastic treatise that probably deserves an "A" grade but for those of us wanting only a summary of the thoughts of each master of war the writing spent way too much time justifying his point of view (thus too scholastic) so I can't afford the time to read the book. It was not the succinct summary I had hoped for.

The non-judgmental use of theory by revolutionaries who justify common murder may wear on your nerves while reading - of course this makes the book politically correct in the modern dumbed down USA scholastic environment. I am glad I tried this book though since I was considering going back to graduate school, again, but now realize that being subjected to so much time reading politically correct jargon and justifications is a waste of my short life.

I am trying next: Earle, Edward M. Makers of Modern Strategy: Military Thought From Machiavelli to Hitler. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Univ. Press, 1943. 553 pp

5-0 out of 5 stars Masters of War
Imagine what it would be like if scientist or physicians were to rely on a text written over 150, let alone 2,000, years ago as the most valuable source of introduction in their profession.

Yes, Masters on War is an academic book, while military history & strategy enthusiast should still find many topics interesting. The hypothesis of the author is that the basic logic of strategy is universal. Which should appeal to the non academic reader too ... it's not light reading though!

For a lighter Military Strategy reading, but without loosing depth, there's the masterful written book 33 Strategies of War.

As the saying goes, military collected more genuine intellects and risk thinkers than most if not all other professions. The author won't let down the ambitious reader.

5-0 out of 5 stars Comparative study
I liked the way Handel compares the classical thoughts of Clausewitz and Sun Tzu.This a good way of understanding the fundamental similarities and differences in approach to war the West and East have. ... Read more

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