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On War (Everyman's Library Classics & Contemporary Classics) Hardcover – May 25, 1993
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Top Customer Reviews
That said, it is not easy to read. There are three primary reasons for this:
First, it is unfinished. The first chapter ("book" as Clausewitz called it) is sharp, well-organized and focused, other chapters are so-so, and still others are almost formless collections of notes.
Second, Clausewitz is thinking philosophically. Most people, including many or most in his target audience, are unaccustomed to thinking this way, and find it difficult to re-orient themselves.
Third, parts of it are firmly locked in a particular time and place. The reader must work to determine what (if any) lessons in those parts are of enduring value and must understand references that, however clear they would have been to his contemporaries, are today obscure.
So, given all of the above, it is fair for the reader to ask why he should bother. The reason is the power of Clausewitz's answers to:
(1) What is the nature of war itself?
(2) What is war's relation to the larger world in which it exists?
(3) How can success in war be achieved?
Clausewitz's answer to question (1) is that war in itself is a duel on a large scale, which unless acted on from the outside, tends towards the maximum possible amount of violence. This discussion of "pure war" has probably been responsible for more mis-interpretations of Clausewitz than anything else he wrote.Read more ›
Likewise, to say that Asian warfare differs in some fundamental way from Western war, or from war in general, is nonsense, as is the idea that Sun Tzu--whose all-knowing general controls events far more than either Clausewitz or historical experience would suggest is possible--somehow represents a "decentralized" approach. Sun Tzu is extremely valuable, but he and Clausewitz are best understood together. Read Michael Handel on that.
There are several English translations of ON WAR, in many editions, and these vary greatly in value. Amazon's listings often confuse the different versions, so be careful. The version edited by biologist/musician Anatol Rapoport is particularly worthless. His lengthy, lunatic, 1968 introduction is actually about Kissinger, not Clausewitz.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Purchased this book for my husband. It is required textbook for cybersecurity degree. Book is well organized and easy to read.Published 15 days ago by DDR
On War by Carl von Clausewitz is one of the most well-known books on the theory of warfare and is considered a hallmark in military theory. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Du Nguyen
...What? THIS IS A .TXT PRINTED AS A BOOK. THEY DIDN'T EVEN REFORMAT IT; IT SAYS "ONWAR.TXT" ACROSS THE TOP OF EVERY PAGE. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Amazon Customer
This is one of the most interesting reads that one can read. Makes one understand better how the world worksPublished 2 months ago by Gary
I read this book as part of my Army War College studies and highly recommend it. a good read!Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Not being a career military man this is one of those books offering a "nice to know but not necessary in a practical sense" content. It is interesting.Published 4 months ago by Howard C. Mayberry, Jr.