[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“]
Strategy: A History by Sir Lawrence Freedman
I have a new article up at Pragati – The Indian National Interest Review, a review of Sir Lawrence Freedman’s Strategy: A History:
Strategy is a fascinating subject. Seemingly always useful, sometimes vital, strategy is attempted by many, done poorly by most and understood well by remarkably few. One of those few is Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman of King’s College War Studies Department, who has authored one of the most comprehensive books on the historical context of strategy-making ever written. Not content at explaining strategy in warfare or western civilisation from ancient times to modernity, the simply titled Strategy: A History aims to reveal strategy in life in its broadest terms without losing its elusive essence.
It is customary for works on strategic history to have canonical references – Sun Tzu, Thucydides, Napoleon, Clausewitz, Jomini– and Freedman of course does have these, but he has created a massive and protean 629 page richly detailed codex in which also appear such unlikely figures as Eldridge Cleaver, Mutaqda a-Sadr, Satan, Vilfredo Pareto, Edward Bernays, Sumantra Ghoshal, Quakers, the cartoon strip Dilbert and troops of chimpanzees. Strategy: A History displays an intellectual range of astonishing breadth and texture in clear prose that merits comparison as much with Jacques Barzun’s magnum opus From Dawn to Decadence as it does with famous classic Makers of Modern Strategy edited by Peter Paret.
Read the rest here.