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Strategy: Key Thinkers

Strategy: Key Thinkers

Tom Kane

ISBN: 978-0-745-64354-0

Dec 2013, Polity

224 pages

In Stock



Over twenty two centuries ago, the Greek general Pyrrhus questioned the real gains of military victory. Today we might reflect on the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in much the same way. War is not only cruel but capricious; its outcomes are often bitter and frustrating, even for the winning side.

Strategy: Key Thinkers expertly introduces the ideas of major strategic thinkers whose work explores the complex challenges associated with the use of military force. Early chapters deal with the foundational work of Sun Tzu (Sunzi), Thucydides, Vegetius, Machiavelli and Carl von Clausewitz and their relevance to problems facing Western militaries today. The book then considers broader issues, such as the distinctive importance of air and maritime operations, the difficulty of waging offensive land warfare in the face of modern firepower, the implications of nuclear weapons, and the potential of irregular warfare. It concludes by highlighting key themes which connect - and distinguish - the works under consideration, noting how these similarities and differences can inform the strategic debates of the early twenty-first century.

Acknowledgements viii

Introduction: Bringing Strategy to Life 1

1 Hearing the Thunder 8

2 Honour, Interest and Fear 30

3 Conquering Fortune 51

4 Summarizing War 76

5 Right Place, Right Time, Right Technology 101

6 Heavy Metal 124

7 The Once and Future Atom 142

8 The Weak Against the Strong 157

Conclusion: Strategy in the Twenty-First Century 177

References 186

Index 192

"Strategic thought moves strategic practice. Tom Kane's outstanding book explains the enduring relevance of strategic ideas to our human security condition."
Colin Gray, University of Reading

"A uniquely accessible and profound examination of the foundations of contemporary strategic thought. This book should be the starting point for anyone who wishes to understand the theory of war. A major intellectual achievement."
Eric Grove, Liverpool Hope University

"Thoughtful, engaging, and even entertaining, this first-rate book does far more than just present readers with a list of strategic thinkers and their basic ideas – it explains, clearly and precisely, why strategy matters. Readers will gain a deeper appreciation of how the practice of strategy influences the fate of states, and how strategic failure may carry a terrible price."
Dale Walton, Lindenwood University