The Practice of Strategy: From Alexander the Great to the Present

Hardcover | November 13, 2011

EditorJohn Andreas Olsen, Colin S. Gray

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The Practice of Strategy focuses on grand strategy and military strategy as practiced over an extended period of time and under very different circumstances, from the campaigns of Alexander the Great to insurgencies and counter-insurgencies in present-day Afghanistan and Iraq. It presentsstrategy as it pertained not only to wars, campaigns, and battles, but also to times of peace that were over-shadowed by the threat of war. The book is intended to deepen understanding of the phenomena and logic of strategy by reconstructing the considerations and factors that shaped imperial andnation-state policies.Through historical case studies, the book sheds light on a fundamental question: is there a unity to all strategic experience? Adopting the working definition of strategy as "the art of winning by purposely matching ends, ways and means," these chapters deal with the intrinsic nature of war andstrategy and the characteristics of a particular strategy in a given conflict. They show that a specific convergence of political objectives, operational schemes of manoeuvre, tactical moves and countermoves, technological innovations and limitations, geographic settings, transient emotions and moremade each conflict studied unique. Yet, despite the extraordinary variety of the people, circumstances, and motives discussed in this book, there is a strong case for continuity in the application of strategy from the olden days to the present. Together, these chapters reveal that grand strategy and military strategy have elements of continuity and change, art and science. They further suggest that the element of continuity lies in the essential nature of strategy and war, while the element of change lies in the character of individualstrategies and wars.

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The Practice of Strategy focuses on grand strategy and military strategy as practiced over an extended period of time and under very different circumstances, from the campaigns of Alexander the Great to insurgencies and counter-insurgencies in present-day Afghanistan and Iraq. It presentsstrategy as it pertained not only to wars, camp...

John Andreas Olsen is Visiting Professor of Operational Art and Tactics at the Swedish National Defence College. Previously, he was the Dean of the Norwegian Defence University College and Head of its division for Strategic Studies. He is an active-duty colonel in the Norwegian Air Force and a graduate of the German Command and Staff C...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:296 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.1 inPublished:November 13, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199608636

ISBN - 13:9780199608638

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Table of Contents

John Andreas Olsen: IntroductionPart I: Ancient and Mediaeval1. David J. Lonsdale: The Campaigns of Alexander the Great2. Israel Shatzman: The Roman Republic: From Monarchy to Julius Caesar3. Edward N. Luttwak: The Byzantine Empire: From Attila to the 4th Crusade4. Anne Curry: The Hundred Years War, 1337-1453Part II: Mediaeval and Modern5. Gabor Agoston: The Ottomans: From Frontier Principality to Empire6. David Parrott: The Thirty Years War, 1618-16487. Jeremy Black: Britain and the 'Long' 18th Century, 1688-18158. Charles Esdaile: Britain and the Napoleonic WarsPart III: Modern and Contemporary9. Williamson Murray: The American Civil War10. Martin van Creveld: The First and Second World Wars11. Colin S. Gray: The Nuclear Age and the Cold War12. James D. Kiras: Modern Irregular Warfare: Afghanistan and IraqColin S. Gray: ConclusionSelected BibliographyIndex