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Decoding Clausewitz: A New Approach to on War (Modern War Studies)

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

For nearly two centuries, On War, by Carl Phillip Gottfried von Clausewitz (1780-1831), has been the bible for statesmen and military professionals, strategists, theorists, and historians concerned about armed conflict. The source of the famous aphorism that "war is an extension of politics by other means," it has been widely read and debated. But, as Jon Sumida shows in this daring new look at Clausewitz's magnum opus, its full meaning has eluded most readers—until now.

Approaching Clausewitz's classic as if it were an encoded text, Sumida deciphers this cryptic masterwork and offers a more productive way of looking at the sources and evolution of its author's thought. Sumida argues that On War should be viewed as far more complete and coherent than has been supposed. Moreover, he challenges the notion that On War is an attempt to explain the nature of armed conflict through the formulation of abstract theories.

Clausewitz's primary concern, Sumida contends, was practical instruction of the military and political leadership of his country. To achieve this end, Clausewitz invented a method of reenacting the psychological difficulties of high command in order to promote the powers of intuition that he believed were essential to effective strategic decision-making. In addition, Sumida argues that Clausewitz's primary strategic proposition is that the defense is a stronger form of war than the offense. This concept, Sumida maintains, must be understood in order to make sense of Clausewitz's positions on absolute and real war, guerrilla warfare, and the relationship of war and policy/politics.

Sumida's pathbreaking critique is supported by examination of the Prussian officer's experience during the Napoleonic Wars, previous major theoretical and historical scholarship on Clausewitz and his writing, and modern philosophical and scientific works that have much in common with Clausewitz's creative guide to the consideration of strategic practice.

A major study of intellectual and military history, Sumida's book provides a provocative and above all readily comprehensible treatment of a previously inaccessible classic. It will surely become essential reading for all military professionals and serious students of military thought.

Synopsis:

A pathbreaking critique of the thought of military studies icon Carl Phillip Gottfried von Clausewitz and his magnum opus On War that illuminates why and how that work should be viewed as much more mature, coherent, innovative, and complete than suggested by previous accounts.

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments

Introduction

1. Theorists

-Dismissal: Antoine Henri Jomini

-Advocacy: Julian Corbett

-Repudiation: Basil Liddell Hart

2. Scholars

-Text: Raymond Aron

-Context: Peter Paret

-Method: W.B. Gallie

3. Antecedents and Anticipations

-Historical Analysis

-Philosophical Invention

-Scientific Perspective

4. Imagining High Command and Defining Strategic Choice

-Absolute War and Genius

-History and Theory

-Defense and Attack

Conclusions

Appendix One. A Pictorial Representation of Critical Analysis

Appendix Two. Bach's St. Matthew Passion as a Model for Critical Analysis

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780700618194
Author:
Sumida, Jon Tetsuro
Publisher:
University Press of Kansas
Subject:
Science Reference-Technology
Subject:
Military - Strategy
Publication Date:
20080931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
256

Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
History and Social Science » Military » General History
History and Social Science » Military » Strategy Tactics and Deception
History and Social Science » Politics » General
Reference » Science Reference » Technology
Religion » Comparative Religion » General

Decoding Clausewitz: A New Approach to on War (Modern War Studies) New Trade Paper
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Product details 256 pages University Press of Kansas - English 9780700618194 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A pathbreaking critique of the thought of military studies icon Carl Phillip Gottfried von Clausewitz and his magnum opus On War that illuminates why and how that work should be viewed as much more mature, coherent, innovative, and complete than suggested by previous accounts.
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