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Victory in War: Foundations of Modern Strategy Expanded edition Edition

3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521177733
ISBN-10: 0521177731
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Editorial Reviews


"William Martel has written and expanded an exceptional work on a critical subject. His book, Victory in War, insightfully addresses an issue that has plagued our modern strategic decision makers. Since the end of World War II, they have failed to effectively and clearly define and articulate 'victory' in the conflicts we fought. This work has been brilliantly researched and presented. Martel's book should be required reading for all those who set our strategic course and for all those who want to understand how this should be done."
- General Anthony C. Zinni USMC (Retired)

"What does it mean to win a war? This question has never been more important than it is today, as ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan raise existential questions about the meaning of victory. Yet among the hundreds of works of serious military theory from ancient times to the present, few writers have addressed this question directly, and none has done so systematically. In Victory in War, William Martel has produced an important work on a vitally important subject."
- Fred Kagan, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

"Martel offers a comprehensive and theoretically guided analysis of the meaning of victory in war that takes one well beyond the accumulation of battlefield successes to a deep appreciation of all the dimensions victory has as a warfare goal. The framework he creates is valuable for both students of war and those who make it."
- Harvey M. Sapolsky, Professor Emeritus and former Director of the MIT Security Studies Program

"William Martel has written a theoretical narrative of what the phrase 'victory in warfare' actually means. He points out throughout his excellent study that unless policy makers articulate in more precise and systematic language exactly what constitutes victory, that failure to do so usually results in a slow but steady erosion in support of any military effort. Small setbacks become major decisive turning points. Public support soon wavers. Martel's book goes a long way toward correcting misconceptions about what it means to be victorious in war. I predict this book will become required reading for all students of national security affairs."
- Charles P. Neimeyer, Director and Chief, USMC History, Quantico, VA

"Martel gives us an important book on a pressing subject of overriding importance to policy makers and military planners - namely, how do we define victory in the post-modern, post- heroic age of gritty little wars waged to stop regional bullies, terrorists, and other desperadoes?"
- Geoff Wawro, Professor of Military History, University of North Texas

"In this important and unfailingly intelligent book on the meaning and form of victory in war, William Martel fills a wide and sorely-felt lacuna in strategic theory. Developing and greatly expanding on the ideas of Sun Tzu, Clausewitz and Liddell Hart, he distinguishes between tactical, strategic and grand strategic victories and considers what it takes to achieve and sustain them. Stimulating and laying the ground for thought on the subtle interplay between aims and means required to achieve success in war, Victory in War is of crucial relevance to policy makers, strategists and scholars alike."
- Azar Gat, Ezer Weitzman Chair of National Security, Tel Aviv University

"William Martel has provided a very useful summary of the thinking about and meaning of victory throughout history, which will enrich our discussions about the wars with which we are presently involved."
- Robert D. Kaplan, Senior Fellow, Center for a New American Security

Book Description

This volume explores the development of a theoretical narrative for victory as a way to help scholars and policy makers define carefully and precisely what they mean by victory in war in order to achieve a deeper understanding of victory as the foundation of strategy in the modern world.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; Expanded edition edition (June 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521177731
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521177733
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,160,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Thomas J. Tucker on April 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A fresh, original, pioneering book that adds a new roadmap to thinking about military endeavers. Like any good philosophical work, there is an emphasis on precision in language. The Book begins with 9/11. President Bush declared victory in Iraq after several weeks of combat operations. Since we're still stuck there, what did he mean? In the introduction, the author addresses two major questions. "...there is no theory or precise language that permits policymakers, military officials and the public to agree on what 'victory' means or when 'victory' has been attained." Second: "...humans have been waging war for the past six thousand years without a framework for victory, and yet have successively waged wars. How can this be so? Is a theory of victory something distinct from a military strategy in war or a theory of war. What do we gain by developing one? How would such a theory fit into modern defense planning?" The author modestly describes this book as only the first step.

The next two chapters, beginning with Sun Tzu, provide a useful summary of the major military thinkers. They conclude with the problems arising from nuclear warfare. Remember the "nuclear winter" discussions of the late eighties. Victory would be meaningless. However, the War on Terror has restored the concept of victory to the language.

He spends the next two chapters exploring what could be meant by "victory" and the definition problems. They cover in detail the American concept of "victory" arising from our history. The next six chapters provide thoughts on selected American military actions post vietnam, beginning with the raid on Lobya. The next chapter discusses military power and the concept of victory. In the final analysis, successful occupation by ground forces is the ultimate seal.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is actually about three stars, but I had to give it just one to offset the 5 star review apparently written by the author's dad. This book makes a couple good points that could have been covered in a short article, without the need for the extensive droning. If I had purchased a new copy (and not a used one for $3) I'd probably be less generous in assessing the merit of his ideas: That policy makers should figure out exactly what they are trying to accomplish, then set actual metric to see if they're achieving their goals. And, having read this, you can save your $3.
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