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Modern Strategy 1st Edition
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An excellent and necessary textbook for the international relations student. THES, February 2000
The Book is a dazzling accomplishment. The Washington,Times March 2000
Modern Strategy is a major contribution to our understanding of strategic theory and practice. The Washington Times, March 2000
Over the years, no writer has addressed the topic of strategy more comprehensively or systematically than Colin Gray. The Washington Times, March 2000
Modern Strategy is his finest effort to date. The Washington Times, March 2000
`Gray has been writing about, professing, or "practicing" strategy for thirty years, and whether or not you agree with him, he is among the few scholars of strategy who should never be ignored.' Mark T. Clark Director, National Security Studies, California State University. Naval War College
Review, Spring 2000
`...his thesis is worth understanding; modern strategy (indeed all) strategy is still a subject worth studying. Anyone interested in learning more about it will benefit from his work.' Mark T. Clark Director, National Security. Naval War College Review, Spring 2000
"The material is so rich in allusion and reference...the approach so novel, the insights often so extraordinary...there are many "brilliant pebbles" of wisdom and insight" Naval Review, April 2001
Covers so much ground...masterfully sets out the relationship between politics, ethics and strategy....Gray's critique is considered and he always draws what is best from the theories he rejects....a dazzlingly brilliant guide to a wide range of issues...Gray writes from the perspective of an
insider in the western military establishment, but even its critics will be informed, entertained and provoked by this book." Royal Institute of International Affairs, Vol 76, October 2000
About the Author
Colin Gray is Professor of International Politics and Director of the Centre for Security Studies at the University of Hull. He is the author of numerous books on strategy, including The Navy in the Post-Cold War World: The Uses and Value of Strategic Sea (1994), Explorations in Strategy (2nd edn, 1998), and The Second Nuclear Age (forthcoming 1999).
- Lexile measure : 1630L
- Item Weight : 1.69 pounds
- Paperback : 432 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0198782519
- ISBN-13 : 978-0198782513
- Dimensions : 9.6 x 0.9 x 6.6 inches
- Publisher : Oxford University Press; 1st edition (November 18, 1999)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #462,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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THIS BOOK IS NOT LIGHT READING, do not expect to go through this quickly, if you do you will miss the pearls of his insights that are contained on each page. Also, if you can, be sure to have a 1976 edition of On War, Ed by Howard and Paret.
Ideally, take your time with this book and take time to digest what he compares and contrasts with other historical and contemporary thought leaders and academics on this topic.
All i can say is that this book will surely be your desk reference, once you dig into it.
Gray has undertaken a massive endeavor with this work. Clausewitz himself set out to do the impossible by trying to explain the nature of war, something no single person is likely intellectually capable of understanding, in his seminal work "On War" which was actually a set of notes that was never finished before his pre-mature death let alone sufficiently organized into coherent book form. Picking up from this stepping stone, the brightest shining gem to guide us in strategic affairs we have, Gray tries to continue organizing Clausewitz's thoughts and to account for the additional layers of complexity introduced since his time or ignored by the great man, namely seapower, airpower, electromagnetic warfare, cyberwar, nuclear war, the modern resurgence of irregular warriors versus regular combatants, and spacepower. As such, combined with reading "On War" first, this is probably the best book to ground anyone with an interest in strategy and give them the tools to actually learn strategy from analyzing history using the tenets of Clausewitzian thought spelled out in here. It is also good history of the strategic thoughts and their contribution to the whole of strategic theory of many luminaries since Clausewitz, including figures as diverse as Jomini, Mahan, Ludendorff, Corbett, Smuts, Boyd, and Ralph Peters.
Gray also makes a consistent and persuasive case that the nature of warfare does not change, only it's character. Like the costumes or set pieces changing in different productions of a play, the look and feel may be different but the underlying story is the same. Much of this book represents his fight against modern trends to be allured by the chimerical promises of "new" warfare, i.e. 4th gen or bloodless cyberwar, and the consequential folly of abandoning the lessons of history.
If nothing else Gray is extremely widely read and comprehensive, and there is scarcely a sentence in this book that isn't footnoted. He has certainly done his homework, and after reading it you will be armed with a set of references you can read to bring yourself up to speed with practically any topic in the pantheon of modern war.
My only criticism of this book is that Gray's writing style is dense and repetitive, which of course is not made easier by the complexity and difficulty of his subject. This book is not light or fun reading! It requires a lot of time and patience to get through it, and it will not deliver enlightenment nor free people from being beholden to ideology. But it will give you the strategic tools to analyze history and strategic options more effectively and efficiently, or at least make your ideological case more elegantly.
Recommended for military officers, and especially for defense industry officials and politicians involved in defense.