[by Mark Safranski / “zen“]
The Clausewitz Roundtable edited by Michael J. Lotus, Mark Safranski and Lynn C. Rees
It is a common observation that Clausewitz is more often quoted than read. It could also be said with equal probability that Clausewitz is more often read than he is understood. In 2008 a group of bloggers, military officers, scientists, lawyers, professors, computer programmers, world travelers, Clausewitzian experts and Clausewitz skeptics came together online at Chicago Boyz blog to read and discuss On War together.
Founded by alumni of the University of Chicago, Chicago Boyz seemed a good place to read On War in “the Chicago Way”, methodically, deeply and with attention to the original text discussing and debating each chapter in detail. For many of us it was a rich learning experience; some were reading On War for the first time, others had read it many times but all had insights to contribute, all found something in Clausewitz that was new. It was really blogging at it’s intellectual best and an experience that is now somewhat lost and forgotten in the rapid-fire era of 144 character tweets and Facebook memes.
We decided the discussions were interesting and profitable to merit being edited into an e-book for more convenient reading than leaving these discussions to gather digital dust in the archives. What do you get if you plunk down a mere $2.99 for The Clausewitz Roundtable?
A methodical and erudite chapter by chapter analysis and debate over On War and Clausewitz’s ideas
553 pages of discussion of strategy, strategic theory and military history including Napoleon, Ludendorff, Svechin, von Moltke, Nathan Bedford Forrest, Jomini, Herman Kahn, Ehud Barak, William Slim, John Boyd, Richard Nixon, Thomas Schelling, Vo Nguyen Giap, Frantz Fanon and many others.
The original comments made on the posts, some of which were fine essays in their own right
If you are reading On War for the first time or are a master Clausewitzian, you will find The Clausewitz Roundtable to be a useful and engaging supplement.
Order a copy for the war nerd in your life!