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Makers of Modern Strategy: Military Thought from Machiavelli to Hitler Hardcover – October 21, 1943

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 566 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; 1st edition (October 21, 1943)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691069077
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691069074
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.7 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,914,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Although a classic in historical scholarship and deserving every dollop of praise, it is still a formidably dense series of brilliantly written 20 chapters that the casual reader would find imposing. To the military specialist or enthusiast, however, this book is awesome for its rarefied intellectual standard.

This book traces the development of total war beginning with Machiavelli (1469- 1527). A battery of the greatest minds and ruthless men follows, such as Frederick the Great, Napoleon, Clausewitz, Adam Smith, Engels and Marx, General Foch, Lenin, Stalin, Mahan and ends with Hitler. Bibliographical notes for every chapter show each author's deep learning. The constellations must have been aligned right in 1943 that 20 brilliant scholars should write as one. Although an updated edition in 1986 has only reprinted 3 of the original chapters, this original classic on total war will continue to be valued for generations. You will cherish it, get it while you can.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although written soon after the Second World War and therefore a little dated and superceded by a revised edition by Peter Paret, the subject areas covered still have value and interest for the military historian in tracing the development of military thought beyond Jomini and Clausewitz. Well worth purchasing alongside the Paret edition.
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Format: Paperback
I came to this book by way of "George Kennan An American Life", and figuring if he read it, I might want to read it to understand the impact it had on him. Kennan had a lot more time to read than I do, and it took me forever to wade through it. "Makers Of Modern Strategy" is a collection of essays, most of which refer to each other so the reader is carried along from one period to the next with ample connections between them. Reading about the evolution of war alone is quite interesting, and the book serves well as a compendium of history---how empires fell, and the mistakes they made on the battlefield. But, I still can't say why anybody should read this book, today.

The premise of the book, and one I'd been coming around to myself, is that war is not some interruption in human history but an unfortunately integral aspect of our history and should be studied as such---not to encourage more war, but to prevent it. To paraphrase Clausewitz, who is oft quoted and has a chapter almost to himself, war is policy by other means. The book argues for a grand strategy (one that spans decades, and looks far into the future) to avoid letting little conflicts get out of had and end up causing wars. The problem is that the book was written in 1943, with an allied victory in sight, when it seemed prudent to plan for a post war world. Obviously, they could not foresee the atomic bomb and the effect it would have on the national psyche (Don't like world events? "Nuke em! Nuke the commies, Nuke the Chinese!") and the paranoia that would develop once the Soviets got the bomb and when China went communist. It also didn't foresee the coming of the Military Industrial Complex and how that would change America to its core.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book--exceeded expectations. This is a highly recommended work on the evolution of military strategy that shows up in many recommended reading lists on the subject.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Basic truths to understand today's politics and strategy.
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