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Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age [Paperback]

by Peter Paret, Gordon A. Craig, Felix Gilbert
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 1, 1986 0691027641 978-0691027647 1

The essays in this volume analyze war, its strategic characterisitics and its political and social functions, over the past five centuries. The diversity of its themes and the broad perspectives applied to them make the book a work of general history as much as a history of the theory and practice of war from the Renaissance to the present. Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age takes the first part of its title from an earlier collection of essays, published by Princeton University Press in 1943, which became a classic of historical scholarship. Three essays are repinted from the earlier book; four others have been extensively revised. The rest--twenty-two essays--are new.

The subjects addressed range from major theorists and political and military leaders to impersonal forces. Machiavelli, Clausewitz, and Marx and Engels are discussed, as are Napoleon, Churchill, and Mao. Other essays trace the interaction of theory and experience over generations--the evolution of American strategy, for instance, or the emergence of revolutionary war in the modern world. Still others analyze the strategy of particular conflicts--the First and Second World Wars--or the relationship between technology, policy, and war in the nuclear age. Whatever its theme, each essay places the specifics of military thought and action in their political, social, and economic environment. Together the contributors have produced a book that reinterprets and illuminates war, one of the most powerful forces in history and one that cannot be controlled in the future without an understanding of its past.

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Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age + The Dynamics of Military Revolution, 1300-2050 + On War, Indexed Edition
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Makers of Modern Strategy , first pub lished in 1943, deserved and demanded updating. The 28 essays in the new vol ume7 more than in the original range from excellent to outstanding. They reflect the skills of a cross-section of leading military historians. But re viving a classic is a difficult task. Some original contributions were discarded, some rewritten, some left virtually in tact. Old and new frequently coexist awkwardly, as when Hajo Holbom and Gunther Rothenberg compete for 19th- century Germany. The editors' reluc tance to impose a common format add ed to an intellectual diffusion most visible in a split between biographic and thematic approaches. As a result, this revision cannot equal its predecessor's status as a standard text. As an antholo gy, however, the work is brilliantly suc cessfuland that is no mean achieve ment. Recommended for all students of military history. Dennis Showalter, History Dept., Colorado Coll., Colora do Springs
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"[The essays] are authoritative and convincing. Taken together, they demonstrate the complexity of strategy and the importance of it being closely integrated with politics."--
New York Times Book Review

Product Details

  • Series: Princeton Paperbacks
  • Paperback: 941 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; 1 edition (March 1, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691027641
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691027647
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still, this is a good book..... August 11, 2000
Although I agree with the reviewer preceeding me that this might not be as strong of a book as was the masterpiece which preceeded it (by Earle), it is still a strong book and does (generally) what it sets out to do: to provide an accounting of major developments in military thought (i.e. western military thought) from the Renassance to the modern age.
As a text or as a reference, this is still a powerful and useful book. Each of the chapters discusses a major figure's thought in a fashion that can be dealt with easily in a sitting: for those people who don't want to sit and sort through Jomini (though everyone reading this should sit down with Clausewitz! ) or Douhet, to see their rights and wrongs....
I like this book. I bought my copy for $8.00 in NYC and have had it with me through a number of moves since....
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makers of Modern Strategy September 22, 2005
"Makers of Modern Strategy" is a scholarly collection of high quality papers on strategy since Machiavelli to the present nuclear age. The beauty of the book is that one can focus on the era that one is interested in. There is no need to read the book cover to cover as the various essays are stand alone although they are presented sequentially and related papers are adjacent to each other. I have read and re-read some of the papers. The book is about strategy and the realities of war. The essays are clearly balanced and not biased. The phenomenon of war was clearly explained from the studies of past wars. It is clear that war has been a fundamental reality of social and political existence from an early stage of political organisation to the present times. The tragic aspects of war and the intellectual and emotional disturbances it creates could be discerned from the essays.

The book is divided into the following five parts:

Part One: The Origins of Modern War.

Part Two: The Expansion of war

Part Three: From the Industrial Revolution to the First World War.

Part Four: From the First to the Second World War.

Part Five: Since 1945.

The eminent contributors include Peter Paret, Felix Gilbert, John Shy, Gordon A. Craig, Maurice Matloff, Condoleezza Rice, Lawrence Freadman, Michael Carver and D. Clayton James. Their essays showed the role of force in the relations between states. It is now very clear to me that war has always been a compound of many elements ranging from politics to technology, to human emotions under extreme stress. Strategy is one of the critical elements of war.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mandatory Reading for Army Staff Majors March 12, 2002
As the title indicates, the Army's Command & General Staff College requires students to read Makers of Modern Strategy in the core history class. Professors can make best use of this book as a supplement. As other reviewers have noted, the chapters are disjointed with each other. Taken separately, however, many of the chapters help the history student or enthusiast to develop a depth of understanding on a particular subject. Authors such as John Shy, Douglas Porch, Michael Howard, and Condoleeza Rice, just to name a few, explore many of the strategic issues involved with the evolution of military thought.
From Machiavelli and Clausewitz to strategies of world wars and colonial wars, Makers of Modern Strategy adds value to any serious study of warfare. The high quality academic research and thought that underlies many of the articles is worth the price of the book. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Resource January 25, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book as it was required for USMC Command and Staff Course, but it is a good resource for anyone who wants a selection of articles and pieces from a wide range of time periods who has an interest in military strategy. The book is divided into eras and within each era there are a number of articles. As a result, it is fairly easy to find what you want without a huge hassle. It doesn't go into extreme detail on any one topic or era, but is a great resource for a general overview and enough of an understanding that you feel pretty good about the topic.
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44 of 63 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Newer is Not Necessarily Better July 18, 2000
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This second version of the book is disappointing. I would have thought that it being edited by an historian as good as Peter Paret would have improved on the original, which was edited by Robert Earle. However, it is weaker both in scholarship and accuracy, especially John Shy's essay on Jomini. Old myths are resurrected about the Swiss renegade whose own works are generally historically inaccurate.

Many of the older, more professional, historians, who are unfortunately no longer with us were much more careful in their research and writing, hunting down sources that newer historians either refuse to look for or refuse to use. they also were more blunt, calling a spade a spade, and weren't worried about offending people or in 'revisionist' (read inaccurate) history. Political correctness was unknown to these stalwarts.

Books of this type are highly useful. If you are looking for this particular volume, get the first version edited by Earle, even if you have to go looking in second hand book stores or on the internet in used book services. I did, and it is well worth the effort.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this book
Mr. Paret does a good job of picking the events that best describe the subject. I enjoyed reading this book and learned from it.
Published 3 months ago by Nathan
5.0 out of 5 stars great shape
needed the text to teach a course after losing my original years ago. Book arrived quickly and in great condition, as expected
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Bought for a college course
If I hadn't been required to read this book I would have never bought it. So, if you are a student of history you might find it enjoyable. I didn't. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Raymond Jones
1.0 out of 5 stars fails to mention Spain's contribution
How can any reader take seriously a book on the history of modern military strategy without devoting a single chapter to the military revolution initiated by Spain in the early XVI... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Aranda
5.0 out of 5 stars School reading
The book was required as class material. I thought it would be another boring book analyzing war, actually it is a fun read!
Published 12 months ago by amazon shopper
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Strategy Intro
Great book for expanding your knowledge of strategic history. The font is a bit small, but I highly recommend this book.
Published 13 months ago by Gift Card Recipient
2.0 out of 5 stars Never liked compilations
There are a few good articles, but this book is for hard corps political & military history academics. It was required reading for a required military academic course. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Robert A Piagentini
3.0 out of 5 stars Required reading
Required reading. Interesting but, would not have gone out of my way to buy this had I not been required too.
Published 16 months ago by Teddy Call
4.0 out of 5 stars Should be an Ongoing Series
The introduction to the current edition (1986) states on page 5, "A replacement for Makers of Modern Strategy has now become desirable. Read more
Published on November 17, 2011 by Meow Tomcat
4.0 out of 5 stars Professional Military Development
This book is several inches thick and that will turn off many people who want to add something to their professional reading list. Read more
Published on September 18, 2010 by C. Reich
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