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On War (Everyman's Library Classics & Contemporary Classics) Hardcover – May 25, 1993


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Product Details

  • Series: Everyman's Library Classics & Contemporary Classics
  • Hardcover: 920 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman's Library (May 25, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679420436
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679420439
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.1 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #203,047 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"American Culture Transformed offers an interesting sampling of the cultural landscape in America after 9/11. The authors provide compelling snapshots of iconic moments and figures from the military, economics, the arts, and politics. The book will stir memories and make us uncomfortable again."
- Mary Poovey, New York University
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Carl Philipp Gottlieb von Clausewitz was a Prussian soldier and German military theorist who stressed the moral and political aspects of war. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

This is my second read of this book.
rob mayfield
Much better to get the 1976 translation with commentary edited by Michael Howard and Peter Paret.
Edward J. Hynes
Karl von Clausewitz If you have read Sun Tzu you need to read this.
David

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

147 of 152 people found the following review helpful By seydlitz89 on May 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is not an easy book to understand. It takes sustained attention, several readings of the most important parts, guidance from supplementary articles, time and interest. After the required investment, the diligent reader will come to understand Clausewitz's system and the remarkable way that it stills aides in understanding the phenomenon of war. Readers who know of what I speak will agree that the results of the recent NATO war against Serbia over Kosova can be explained very accurately in Clausewitzian terms. Much has been made of the fact that Clausewitz died before he could complete the work. We will never know what added insights the Prussian philosopher may have been able to come up with or the additional nuances that he may have added to the framework that he had established. While true, this attitude detracts from what he was able to accomplish. The only finished portion of the book, Part 1 of Book 1 is also the most important. The rest of Book 1, Book 2, Book 3 and Book 8 (the last) are in Bernard Brodie's words, "pure gold". The other books have relevant information for our times too, but one must shift through much which belongs to the past. Clausewitz's theory of war considered war to be "a remarkable trinity" of rational action (policy), irrational action (passion) and the play of chance (friction versus genius). These three points act as poles above which "theory" itself is suspended like a magnet. Alan D. Beyerchen has pointed out that Clausewitz was talking about a non-linear system in that the course the magnet will take as it hovers above and in and out of the three fields of attraction produces an irreproducible trajectory highly sensitive to the initial conditions which set it in motion.Read more ›
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68 of 69 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
A word of caution to anyone ordering the paperback edition of this work. It is incomplete with some of the books missing. If you are genuinely interested in strategy, buy the hardcover Everyman's edition rather than the Penguin edition.
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96 of 103 people found the following review helpful By Edward J. Hynes on April 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
On War is an essential work but this is an abridgement first published in the late 1960s and based on a poor translation dating from around 1908. The editor, Anatol Rapoport, is a scientist, not an historian, and the commentary is something of a hatchet job.
Much better to get the 1976 translation with commentary edited by Michael Howard and Peter Paret.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
Carl von Clausewitz is required reading at the War Colleges of the United States Armed Forces because his precepts are timeless. Trying to understand why man makes war, especially in the extremely destructive era in which he lived, he explores all aspects of warfare. This work is written for military officers, and exemplifies the aphorism of a classic: it's a book people want to have read, but don't want to read. This antipathy is understandable. Clausewitz was a staff officer in the army of a state which no longer exists, and he wrote in 19th century German. Still, this book is essential to all who wish to understand war and its place in statecraft.
Rather than this Penguin edition, I recommend the Princeton University Press edition, translated and edited by Michael Howard and Peter Paret. That version includes very helpful essays and introductions by those two academics, as well as Bernard Brodie. Together, these three help the reader understand what Clausewitz was writing, and gently remind the reader that he should be somewhat forgiving of the author. After all, he had only just begun a major renovation of his entire work when he was felled by the cholera epidemic that struck Europe.
If you are interested in Clausewitz, READ HIM. Do not join the illiterati who quote and misquote him without ever reading On War. While it is not an easy read, the Princeton University edition is readable, and On War is the most important book on the most serious of political subjects.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas J. Bertollo on March 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
On War is an incredible work, but the Penguin Classics edition is terrible - the translation was done by an editor who was openly hostile to Clausewitz, something to do with Kissinger (whom our editor detested) being a Clausewitz fan. There are entire sections that are specifically translated in ways that make Clausewitz look bad, and edits to the same effect.

I highly suggest that you read this book - but read the Everyman's or Princeton version - those editions have the Peter Paret translation and are far superior in every way. The Everyman's edition in particular is fantastic - hardcover, elegant, and only a few dollars more than Penguin's steaming pile of excrement.
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46 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Arthem on January 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
Not really a relaxing bedtime read. On War is challenging, and not to be undertaken lightly. Still, its concepts are eminently more utile than Sun Tzu's, when all is said and done.
I would have given it five stars, but for the 72 pages of nonsensical introductory ranting by Anatol Rapoport, included with this volume. If you can find a volume without Rapoport's introduction, buy that one instead and save a tree.
(Honestly, I will never understand why modern publishers insist on pre-forming the reader's reactions to classic works by adding an introduction from some third-rate aging socialist. If I wanted to read Anatol Rapoport, I would have looked him up in "Great Irrelevant Figures of the 20th Century").
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