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Download PDF Clausewitz: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

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Lists with This Book. Dec 27, Rich rated it liked it. A Very Short Introduction provides the reader both with the expected and the unexpected. The expected aspect of Howard's short work here provides the reader with the general themes of Clausewitz's On War. However, quite unexpectedly, Howard's work also provides the reader with the context of Clausewitz's zeitgeist.

With regard to the former, having not read Howard's preferred version myself, the Paret and Howard translation, I suspect it is only of limited value in providin Howard's Clausewitz: With regard to the former, having not read Howard's preferred version myself, the Paret and Howard translation, I suspect it is only of limited value in providing the reader an in-depth understanding of Clausewitz's concepts. The most important aspect of Howard's review was Clausewitz's focus upon fighting -- where 'strategy is nothing without fighting Clausewitz was so anxious to deny that of bloodless victory through skillful manoeuvre.

But the victory could be bloodless only if the strategist was prepared to shed blood; to fight and win, at whatever cost, the engagement he offered the enemy. Unexpectedly, Howard provides the reader with a brief overview of Clausewitz's learned experiences in both the sciences, but more strikingly in the arts. Ultimately, Clausewitz was fascinated with iterative learning, thus his desire to revise his unfinished seminal work as merely an example. His studies in aesthetic theory taught him that the artist did not succeed simply by learning and applying a given set of rules, but rather that those rules had significance only as indications of what great artists had actually done, and had to be modified as the innovations and perceptions of new generations enriched the comprehension of their subject.

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All art, all thought for as Clausewitz himself expressed it, all thought is art , was a creative activity, not an imitative or derivative one. And the same applied with particular force to the conduct of war. I found this aspect of Howard's introduction to be very curious, and it reminded me of studies of John Boyd. This furthers my suspicion that the theories of Clausewitz and Boyd are not mutually exclusive, as some have suggested, but rather richly reinforcing.

Ultimately, Howard's Clausewitz was a very good introduction that will be used throughly as a cross-reference while working through On War. There will be more to come in how Clausewitz and Boyd's theories can or cannot be yoked. Apr 01, Maurice rated it really liked it. This easy read is the first and only book you need to understand Clausewitz. Yes, I mean that. What I like about it is that it tells me about the personal life of Clausewitz. That helps me understand his ideas. Secondly, it examines how it was used by generals. You learn a lot about great ideas by looking at how they are used, right?

This short book first tells us about the man Karl von Clausewitz. His personal life and carreer. His struggle to raise in ranks frustrated by This easy read is the first and only book you need to understand Clausewitz.

Clausewitz: A Very Short Introduction - Very Short Introductions

His struggle to raise in ranks frustrated by the fact that top ranks were only open to men of noble birth in a class society. His dream to attain personal honour by victory in a decisive major battle made him a man who wants to be like the great heroes of his own time.


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His worlview therefore was the result of his history and culture. He was a child of his 'Zeitgeist'.

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The surprise is that he came up with ideas that would have been of great value in his own time, and have proven to be valuable ever since. Contrary to other scolars of his time who focussed on the local mechanics of war, he managed to come up with an integral all comprehensive model of war dynamics. His holistic view was therefore the one that stood the test of time and was even able to include airpower and cold-war into the equation when that entered the stage. So despite the omission of seapower and technological innovation in his analysis, his work proved to be universaly valuable.

Still worth studying today. He died before the book was finished. Clausewitz philosophy grew during his writing years and this VSI explains in which chapters of On War that development is visible.

The comments on the reading list at the end is also a valuable step for further study. So now you know something about the man Karl. The second good reason to read this VSI comes next. On War is put informative into historical context. This is very insightfull indeed. We see how On War first collected decades of dust before it was lifted to prominence by authoritative figures in the rising Prussian State.

Next we see how it became misinterpreted because the military essentially said it had to mean that politicians had to do what generals want, rather than the other way around.

Clausewitz: A Very Short Introduction

Furthermore, what Clausewitz teaches about the art of defence, seemed to be put on a dusty shelve for many decades. Not to come back untill his defensive strategies were used effectively to stop the Prussian army's plan in WWI from swooping around and capturing Paris. Jun 02, Ahmad Sharabiani marked it as to-read Shelves: Even though he wrote his only major work at a time when the range of firearms was fifty yards, much of what he had to say remains relevant Clausewitz: Medical and Healthcare Law. Public Health and Epidemiology. Earth Sciences and Geography. History of Science and Technology.

Criminology and Criminal Justice. Front Matter Note on quotations Introduction 1. Clausewitz in his time 2.

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Theory and practice in war 3. Echevarria describes the major types of military strategy and their advantages and disadvantages: He also explores the emerging nano- and bio-genetic technologies and explains how they are affecting today's military strategy.


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Clear and engaging, this book shows that military strategy is essential for understanding major events of the past and becomes even more critical today, in a world increasingly threatened by weapons of mass destruction, terrorist attacks, and new dimensions of conflict, such as cyberwar and space. Nielsen Book Data Military art and science. Publication date Copyright date Series Very short introductions ; ISBN paperback alkaline paper paperback alkaline paper.