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Strategy: A History Paperback – September 1, 2015

4.5 out of 5 stars 362 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


"[Freedman's] books manage to delight the experts yet are still comprehensible to the general reader, a rare skill in this genre. On this occasion, he has produced what is arguably the best book ever written on strategy." --Washington Post

"Magisterial... wide-ranging erudition and densely packed argument." --The Economist

"This is a book of startling scope, erudition and, more than anything, wisdom." --Financial Times

"Comprehensive, vigorous survey of strategy and its evolution...A lucid text that raises questions while answering others--of great value to planners, whether of an advertising campaign or a military one." --Kirkus Reviews

"Sir Lawrence Freedman's 750-page magnum opus, Strategy: A History, is encyclopedic, although not alphabetical, a pleasure to dip into here and there...There are grand strategies set forth in several of the greater works covered by Freedman, but Strategy: A History holds the reader to the strategic level, a subset of grand strategy." --New Criterion

"Strategy: A History is easily the most ambitious book that I have read in many years... With a book of this scope anybody can find something to disagree with but nobody can come away from this book without feeling enriched and intellectually challenged. It will live on as a classic. " --Mark Stout, War on the Rocks

"Strategy: A History, is an ambitious and sprawling book by a British military historian who has written widely, and very well, about nuclear and cold war strategy, the Falklands War, and contemporary military affairs, among other subjects... With admirable candor, Freedman tells us that he received the contract for this book in (gulp!) 1994, and that he made a 'number of false starts' with the manuscript. Considering the daunting scope of the subject, this is entirely understandable. Considering the wisdom and analytical brilliance he brings to bear on that subject, it's been well worth the wait." --The Daily Beast

"Tour de force... Unusually thoughtful and clearly written, Freedman's dense tome is a serious academic study in political theory, but it has crossover potential and will attract readers interested in military planning, strategic systems, and the nature of power." --Publishers Weekly starred review

"A vast exploration of strategy... full of surprises, and marked by unsurpassed erudition. It also is witty and reminds us that he in the world who knows most about strategy may be the one who is the most unimpressed with it."--National Review

"An erudite, encyclopedic study that will surely become a standard reference in the discipline." --strategy + business

"A fascinating review of the tools available to all of us to create agile, informed and interesting decisions." --Sheridan Jobbins, the World Economic Forum blog

"Lawrence Freedman shows here why he is justly renowned as one of the world's leading thinkers about strategy, which he defines as the central art of getting more out of a situation than the starting balance of power would suggest." --Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Harvard University and author of The Future of Power

"A marvelous grand tour of the meaning, implications, and consequences of strategic thinking through the ages and in multiple contexts. Freedman is a master of the subject and unsurpassed in his ability to unravel the twists and turns of strategic complexities and paradoxes." --Robert Jervis, Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Politics, Columbia University

"This is a wonderful book--a comprehensive yet deeply considered summation of the very nature of strategy by the premier social scientist of the subject. Strategy: A History is lucid and dispassionate, sometimes rueful, often ironic, always informative." --Philip Bobbitt, author of The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace and the Course of History

"This substantial, comprehensive, hermeneutic work examines the various dimensions and history of "strategy," which Freedman defines as "the art of creating power"...this very ambitious exploration provides readers with a useful introduction to the field of strategic studies." --CHOICE

About the Author

Lawrence Freedman has been Professor of War Studies at King's College London since 1982, and Vice-Principal since 2003. Elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1995 and awarded the CBE in 1996, he was appointed Official Historian of the Falklands Campaign in 1997. He was awarded the KCMG in 2003. In June 2009 he was appointed to serve as a member of the official inquiry into Britain and the 2003 Iraq War. Professor Freedman has written extensively on nuclear strategy and the cold war, as well as commentating regularly on contemporary security issues. His most recent book, A Choice of Enemies: America Confronts the Middle East, won the 2009 Lionel Gelber Prize and Duke of Westminster Medal for Military Literature.

Product details

  • Item Weight : 2.44 pounds
  • Paperback : 768 pages
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0190229238
  • ISBN-10 : 0190229233
  • Dimensions : 6.13 x 1.73 x 9.25 inches
  • Publisher : Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (September 1, 2015)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 362 ratings

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
362 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on November 6, 2014
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Reviewed in the United States on February 8, 2015
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Reviewed in the United States on June 19, 2014
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Top reviews from other countries

Louai R
5.0 out of 5 stars If you're going to read one serious book on strategy, let it be this.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 16, 2017
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Adrian J. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars An epic work
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 11, 2017
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Paul Burton
4.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't quite live up to its title.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 22, 2015
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5 people found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you're into the topic it is a great read. Also
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 23, 2017
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Andrew Curran
4.0 out of 5 stars A clear and fascinating overview of strategy
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 23, 2014
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