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On War (Penguin Classics) Paperback – November 18, 1982
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Top Customer Reviews
That said, it is not easy to read. There are three primary reasons for this:
First, it is unfinished. The first chapter ("book" as Clausewitz called it) is sharp, well-organized and focused, other chapters are so-so, and still others are almost formless collections of notes.
Second, Clausewitz is thinking philosophically. Most people, including many or most in his target audience, are unaccustomed to thinking this way, and find it difficult to re-orient themselves.
Third, parts of it are firmly locked in a particular time and place. The reader must work to determine what (if any) lessons in those parts are of enduring value and must understand references that, however clear they would have been to his contemporaries, are today obscure.
So, given all of the above, it is fair for the reader to ask why he should bother. The reason is the power of Clausewitz's answers to:
(1) What is the nature of war itself?
(2) What is war's relation to the larger world in which it exists?
(3) How can success in war be achieved?
Clausewitz's answer to question (1) is that war in itself is a duel on a large scale, which unless acted on from the outside, tends towards the maximum possible amount of violence. This discussion of "pure war" has probably been responsible for more mis-interpretations of Clausewitz than anything else he wrote.Read more ›
Likewise, to say that Asian warfare differs in some fundamental way from Western war, or from war in general, is nonsense, as is the idea that Sun Tzu--whose all-knowing general controls events far more than either Clausewitz or historical experience would suggest is possible--somehow represents a "decentralized" approach. Sun Tzu is extremely valuable, but he and Clausewitz are best understood together. Read Michael Handel on that.
There are several English translations of ON WAR, in many editions, and these vary greatly in value. Amazon's listings often confuse the different versions, so be careful. The version edited by biologist/musician Anatol Rapoport is particularly worthless. His lengthy, lunatic, 1968 introduction is actually about Kissinger, not Clausewitz.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Avoid unless you are extremely cheap, and even that is no excuse. I wanted the Everyman version and this was listed as a paperback edition of that edition. It is not. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Christian
"War is a continuation of politics by different means". These famous words, often misunderstood, were coined by the Prussian officer Carl von Clausewitz. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Egil Henrik Lehmann
The only reason I'm giving this one star is because there's no option for zero stars. The only reason I'm not sending this back is that the time I'd spend shipping it back is worth... Read morePublished 11 days ago by Big Mike
the book is fine, but if you're buying this for UMUC, do not, you wont use it in class at all.Published 28 days ago by Amazon Customer
Like Homer and Cicero, the classics never go out of style! A must-read for any serious student of the interrelationship of the military and state policy, and an affirmation that. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mike Lareau