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The Clausewitz Roundtable Cometh….

Lexington Green released yesterday the list of participants in the January Clausewitz Roundtable at Chicago Boyz, along with their bios. It is a very strong group of scholars, practitioners, theorists and bloggers ( I will add the appropriate site links to contributors on Wednesday – the hour is late):

Clausewitz Roundtable: List of Contributors

Shane Deichman


“Lexington Green”


Critt Jarvis


Capt. Nathaniel T. Lauterbach, USMC

Samuel Liles

Jay Manifold

“Carl Ortona”

William F. Owen


Chris Rasmussen



Tim Stevens

Aled Roberts Tien


Mathew Borton

The rules and schedule of the roundtable as set down by Lex are as follows:

Clausewitz Roundtable: Schedule and Marching Orders

Book I, week of January 11, 2009.
Book II, week of January 18, 2009.
Book III, week of January 25, 2009.
Book IV, week of February 1, 2009.
Book V, week of February 8, 2009.
Book VI, week of February 15, 2009.
Book VII, week of February 22, 2009.
Book VIII, week of March 1, 2009.
Concluding comments and analysis, week of March 8, 2009.

Each “Book” above refers to one of the eight “Books” into which On War is divided.

I gave the roundtable participants, who were announced yesterday, their marching orders today. They are reproduced below the fold.


Purpose of the roundtable: The overall goal is for each participant to read On War and to learn something from it, and to convey what he has learned in an interesting and engaging and informative way to the other participants and to our readers. Everything else is to flow from that goal and to be consistent with that goal.

1. Each participant shall read the book.

2. Each participant shall post his thoughts, comments, analysis, and impressions of the book, including its relevance and application today and in the future. The general thrust is to engage the text of the book, to “meet Clausewitz” and then for each participant to communicate what he has learned in that meeting. Application of Clausewitz’s views, as conveyed in On War, to current and future issues of strategy, warfare, politics or any other pertinent subject, is encouraged.

3. There is no absolute prohibition on discussing context, other writers’ views, the history of Clausewitz’s influence, etc. However, the focus should be the text. Each participant shall use his discretion in this regard.

4. The schedule for the roundtable is as stated above. There is no ironclad requirement that each person post each and every week. Nor is there a requirement that each participant only post once per week. However, one post, per week, on the Book which is scheduled for that week, is the guideline. Again, each participant shall exercise discretion in this regard.

I will put up an announcement a few days prior to January 11, 2009. Then from midnight on that date, everyone is free to post per the above schedule.

If other personal or professional commitments come up, that is understood and excused in advance.

If a participant wants to put up some short post pertaining to the roundtable, prior to the formal beginning date, I leave that to each person’s discretion, but request that no one “jump the gun” with any substantive post prior to the first week.

5. Each participant should feel free to respond to issues raised by other participants in their posts, leave comments on posts, crosspost on their own blogs, or otherwise engage in “lateral” dialogue about the book. Such lateral engagement is encouraged. Disagreement and argument of a civil and productive nature is also encouraged.

6. Mechanics. Each post shall have a title “Clausewitz, On War, Book __:” then the title the participant is using for the specific post, after the colon. This will help everyone keep track of where each participant is in the book. Each post shall be labelled with the category “Clausewitz Roundtable”.

Those are your marching orders.

I believe these instructions give everyone scope for creativity, within a consistent framework.

5 Responses to “The Clausewitz Roundtable Cometh….”

  1. Seerov Says:

    Zen, your biography always says that you’re a "teacher."  I have learned a lot from your writings but do you actually "teach" anything formally?  High school history?  Kindergarten?  Sunday School?

  2. zen Says:

    Hi Seerov,
    Gracias! At one time or another, I’ve formally worked with students from Kindergarten to adults to special subpopulations (gifted, At-Risk) to periodically giving presentations on methodology or curriculum to teachers interested in best practice.  For teaching history, I like middle school and High School upperclassmen best. College undergrads would be fine too but I don’t have the time to do that; cost-benefit ratio not worth it just to do a section on a p/t basis.

  3. Clausewitz Roundtable « The Committee of Public Safety Says:

    […] a comment » ZenPundit announces the rules of the Clausewitz […]

  4. YT Says:

    Zen : In your excitement, you’ve placed the dates for the year 2008 instead of 2009.

  5. zen Says:

    Hi YT,
    Heh. Not my excitement, that was a cut n’ paste quote but thank you for catching that. Fixed. Merry Christmas !

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