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War, Peace and International Relations: An introduction to strategic history 2nd Edition

3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0415594875
ISBN-10: 0415594871
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Editorial Reviews


'The author’s discussions and clarity of thought and expression make this work ideal as a textbook for introducing civilian students and prospective military officers of the various military academies to the subject.' - Parameters

About the Author

Colin S. Gray is Professor of Politics and International Relations at the University of Reading, UK. He has published twenty-five books and innumerable journal articles.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (December 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415594871
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415594875
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David C. Leaumont on April 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
The intention of this text, according to Dr. Gray's introduction, is to provide a textbook for students of strategy. Gray's theme is to "provide a coherent narrative and analysis of the past two centuries, keyed to the strategic perspectives." He frames this around Clausewitz's concept of continuity and discontinuity in strategic history. In fact, his second chapter serves as a summary of Clausewitz's "On War" to ensure readers have an introductory knowledge of the foundational text of military strategy. (Anti-Clausewitzian readers will be disappointed by the frequent reliance on Clausewitz frequently found in Gray's writing; however, this reviewer remains unconvinced by the anti-Clausewitzian camp's critiques.)

Gray extols the difference between conducting war (strategy) and warfare (tactical). For instance, Napoleon was a genius at warfare while lacking in the ability to conduct war. As Gray discusses the different phases of history over the past two hundred years, Gray focuses on war/strategy.

The title of war, peace and international relations is accurate; however, the text focuses more on the war and peace aspect while being a little lighter on international relations. This is not a critique, but simply an observation. Gray has a less-than-positive view on air power in this text and bucks the convention that air power stood as a predominant factor in defeating Germany during WWII. While I valued his opinion on this aspect, I did not completely agree.

Dr. Gray's writing structures this text in a manner for quick yet meaningful digestion. Each chapter begins with a `Reader's Guide' that provides the reader with a preview of major points. He ends each chapter with a review of major take-aways.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Gladfelter on April 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
Professor Gray adds this book to his extensive list. More of a text book (as intention) than history or "relax under a tree" reading pastime. I'm giving it four stars for several reasons: It's well researched and argued (if that's the correct word). He knows his stuff, if you will. The pace is steady. Each chapter is short enough to be manageable, as dense at it is, but long enough to capture the implications in the titles. He stays on course, resisting temptations of discussing tactics, history and hindsight analysis.
I didn't give 5 stars because: His writing style is very "branchy". That is to say he'll insert qualifiers, comments, some back history, or some other off-topic quip into sentences. These quips can be sentences on their own, but he chooses a tongue-in-cheek approach, a bit like Dennis Miller. Makes for un-smooth reading (not really difficult, but it can get cumbersome).
Overall, this is a good book for those seeking to understand international relations, which necessitates understanding war and the contexts of war. His separation of war and warfare is quite important, a distinction that needs to be elongated, in my opinion, more often.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By wimiam on January 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
Genuinely a rare text book of use to undergraduates of international security and military history - comprehensive, giving 21 chapters, usefully organized on themes that really matter, mostly historical, but with sufficient analysis along the way to warrant use in a political science class. Starts with a chapter on the themes of the history, which cross international relations theory, although he's not strong on this, and the relationship between politics and war, on which he is strong, mostly because of grounding in Clausewitz. In fact the second chapter is on Clausewitz - it's an excellent brief summary of an important book, although critics of Clausewitz, probably most especially Martin Van Creveld, should have been given their due, as well as other military philosophers beyond Jomini, for balance. Clearly Gray is a Clausewitzian Cold Warrior and that won't change. After this chapter, the book becomes a military history, starting with the French Revolution and these chapters are excellent, because they summarize the history elegantly and pose and answer key questions (like: Why did one side win?). His answers to these self-imposed questions are genuinely analytical and briefly balance a review of some limited literature with a gathering of evidence - it's impressive, although inevitably at times he excludes more recent scholarships or betrays some eccentricity that grates. The chapters proceed chronologically, 2 for WW1, 4 for WW2, 2 for the Cold War, 1 for the post-cold war world, one on post-9/11 terrorism, another on irregular warfare, chapter 19 on geography and war, which is a somewhat old fashioned interest of his but probably warrants a chapter in a book of this scope.Read more ›
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