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Strategy: The Indirect Approach
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Strategy: The Indirect Approach

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  1,926 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
The classic book on strategy by one of the foremost military thinkers of the twentieth century, Strategy draws on all of military history, from the Greek-Persian wars of the fifth century B.C. to the development of geurrilla warfare in the nuclear age. Liddell Hart provides a perceptive and fascinating examination of wars and their architects. He shows how Hitler almost wo ...more
Paperback, 420 pages
Published 2003 by Natraj Publishers (first published 1941)
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Mike Hankins
Nov 15, 2011 Mike Hankins rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military-history
Few authors have aimed as high as B.H. Liddell Hart has in Strategy. Through a systematic examination of every major conflict throughout human history, Liddell Hart attempts to show that all major victories are achieved through use of what he terms “the indirect approach,” and conversely, that every loss is due to the errors of a “direct approach.” He believes strongly in this key distinction, insisting that “the indirect approach [has] a much wider application—that it [is] a law of life in all ...more
Richard
Feb 17, 2010 Richard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book in one sentence: no one wins through a direct approach. In the course of history, the most significant battles are the ones that was won using the theory of indirect approach. The aspects discussed there are very much applicable in our daily lives and relevant that we can easily understand and form analogies based on our experiences. The indirect approach can be applied in busniesses, in our work place, in our relationships, in selling our ideas, and more. I highly suggest that you shou ...more
TarasProkopyuk
Главная мысль всей книги, можно сказать, звучит так:
- "Глубочайшая правда войны состоит в том, что исход битвы решается в умах военачальников, а не в телах их воинов".

А главный метод, которым должен обладать великий полководец и стратег состоит в том как применять метод "непрямых действий" для достижения побед в военных сражениях при этом нести минимальные потери или вообще обходиться без последних. То есть, применять нестандартные способы атаки и обороны в сражениях, таким образом чтобы вступа
...more
Christopher
Oct 08, 2013 Christopher rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
'Oh wow, a modern thinker who heavily cites Sun Tzu and loves the Mongols, I better read this.' I thought to myself for both personal and academic reasons. 'Sounds like a perfect fit for me.'

Well, the good news is there are occasional flashes of insight and it certainly is worth reading to complete the repertoire in strategy. The author's views of the genius of General Sherman were particularly spot on.

The bad news is that for a guy who quotes Sun Tzu alot he really doesnt seem to have understoo
...more
Jack
I really enjoyed this book, especially its broad range of historical studies to back up his conclusions. The 4-star rating is mainly due to the fact that this is an old book (Liddell Hart of course wrote doctrine that was ignored by the allies, but the Germans loved it!). No fault of the author's though. Since this is an old book, many of the terms used in today's militaries are not included. No big deal.

I guess that is another reason to read this book. Liddell Hart's work is early. His ideas we
...more
Luke Peterson
Oct 24, 2007 Luke Peterson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, to-reread
I bought this on recommendation of a military-history-buff friend. It was then booknapped for the better part of a year by a housemate who works in politics.

I finally read it and really enjoyed it. It's amazing to think that Hart was one of the first military thinkers of the modern era to discuss tangential strategy. That is, if you're pursuing a goal you should always be finding and employing the least costly method to reach that goal, even if it doesn't appear to be directly related to the goa
...more
Lance
Jul 30, 2008 Lance rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this after I'd joined the Navy and before I reported for boot-camp. Even though my brother (an ex-Marine) told me I wouldn't need to know anything the book had to offer, I thought I might as well learn all I could about military thinking before I went in. It was an engaging read.
I was surprised to learn that one of the most effective military strategies is economic sanctions. The author posed the theory that WWII wouldn't have lasted nearly as long if England and France had taken sanctio
...more
Adam Elkus
Read with great caution. BHLH tries to shoehorn every war in the book into "the indirect approach." The last few chapters lay out his theory of strategy and are worth a read.
Trish Roberts-miller
He has a tendency to hammer on his theory about the importance of indirection, so it can be oddly tedious to read. But his description of individual battles is always cogent and clear, and the end part about Clausewitz is fascinating.
Al Lock
May 23, 2017 Al Lock rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the classic books on warfare - up with On War and Art of War.
Nate Huston
It would be an understatement to say that Liddel Hart is a believer in the indirect approach. One might say that he is to the indirect approach as Fuller is to threes. In fact, they both tend to stretch their analysis a bit in order to make it fit the theory. That said, Liddel Hart's proposition has merit. To me, it seems a bit overly simplistic (Really? I should strike where the enemy least expects it??? BRILLIANT!). Nonetheless, it is a valuable principle and probably more-so in the context of ...more
Dtt
Jun 25, 2013 Dtt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are a few universally recognized and seminal works on the nature of warfare – notably Sun Tzu’s ART OF WAR and Clausewitz’s ON WAR (and maybe Miyamoto Musashi’s BOOK OF FIVE RINGS, if one is able to extrapolate hand-to-hand combat to warfare/conflict in general).

I would also count B.H. Liddell Hart’s STRATEGY among these seminal works. Liddell Hart accomplishes the monumental task of analyzing pretty much the entire history of warfare, from ancient Greece to the Arab-Israeli conflict, in a
...more
Ryan
May 14, 2016 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
history of strategy from the ancient greeks to ww2. extremely narrow topic, and i was unprepared for the jargon of battle. national policy should direct military aims which in turn should be achieved by effective strategy. the goal of the strategy should be to achieve military aims by the most economical (in resources and manpower). much emphasis on 'indirect approach,' which is basically every single strategy other than a straightforward attack on the enemy's center. for example, attacking at a ...more
Jeff
Oct 30, 2007 Jeff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, strategy
Military strategy deals with finding the best way to marshal one’s limited resources to best an opponent in a zero-sum game. Even if one never has plans for a military career, one can still uses strategic principles to analyze and overcome many crisis situations. The great strategic thinkers propose themes, theories, tenets and axioms that, while intended for the military theater, can be applied to many realms of life.

Liddell Hart is of these great thinkers; some say the best of the 20th century
...more
Pieter
Nov 04, 2013 Pieter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: militair
What a pity for the dreadful lay-out! The first part requires a lot of background about the main historical battles and even the fight itself is very concisely discussed. It would have been better to spend at least a hundred pages extra on the pre-20th century wars. The author has a clear preference for the indirect method, which he clearly illustrates along history.

On the other hand, I liked the parts on WW I and WW II very much. Both from a military and psychological point of view, it provides
...more
Aaron
Jun 04, 2013 Aaron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully reasoned and argued thesis. The most successful military campaigns (also applies to non-military campaigns) were pursued through an indirect route. Hart provides evidence to support his thesis from almost every war/battle since the beginning of recorded history.

My only issue with the book lies in his consistency in giving little background or setting for many of the battles. If you are not already well versed on a particular conflict you will be completely lost. The little bit of an
...more
Brian
Feb 08, 2017 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military-history
I liked this book. B.H. Liddell talks about the physical and the psychological aspects of indirect warfare. He uses examples of past wars to illustrate his point with more emphasis on WWI and WWII.
Adam Halley
Jun 07, 2016 Adam Halley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Liddell Hart's "Strategy" comes from the influence of his study of the great strategists of history (especially Sun Tzu, Napoleon, and Belisarius) and their victories, and his understanding of Ju-Jitsu.

His strategy of the "Indirect Approach" offers examples from 2500 years of military history to substantiate his thesis.

This book has influenced many military strategists including Israel's since 1948 to present day.

Liddell Hart is a brilliant strategist and I highly recommend this book for anyone
...more
Zach Dromsky
The phrase that comes to mind is "belaboring the point."
Still, I thought it was an interesting look through military history and strategic thinking.
The book is written as a piece of military scholarship, and targets readers who are familiar with the field - which I am not. As a result, I had to do a decent amount of outside reading (on the conflicts, and people involved in them) to get context for this book, which may be why it took me so long to finish. Overall though, I feel it was well wort
...more
Nick Lloyd
A very interesting book, but I think he may be stretching in the conclusions he draws from his case studies. Essentially, his argument regarding the superiority of the "indirect approach" to the "direct approach" could more accurately be called maneuver. While maneuver is important (and indeed, a Principle of War), offensive and mass are also critical. The strength of this book lies in his analysis of WWII. He also offers a strong rebuttal to Clausewitz' perceived fixation upon the offensive.

No
...more
Stavrogin
Oct 27, 2016 Stavrogin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Гарт учит анализировать войну с точки зрения стратегии, где он находит одну закономерность: непрямые действия более эффективны, чем прямые. Он иллюстрирует этот факт примерами всех важнейших войн за последние 2.5 тысячи лет человеческой истории. Это история развития войны, которая подводит к тому, как и какие войны ведутся сейчас и будут вестись в будущем.

Непрямые действия повсюду - в войне, делах, отношениях. Эта книга изменила мой взгляд на логику событий в жизни.

Эту книгу интересно перечитыва
...more
JJ
Dec 16, 2015 JJ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tasked with reading 25 pages for school, I ended up reading the whole thing. Authors of books on strategy remind me of astrologers; war has such a broad scope and history that one can find examples to support nearly any assertion. While I enjoyed Hart's walk through time (I will delve deeper into Epaminondas, Subatai, Wolfe, and Cromwell), he lost me when he blamed Clausewitz for WWI AND WWII (p 344). A must-read for the military professional, if only to dicuss theory with peers over coffee.
Jarrod
Aug 21, 2009 Jarrod rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is more fun to read if you use a British accent while reading...

At times the book drags but culminates in Part IV with an insightful and fair minded critic of Clausewitz. Depending on ones interests they could probably read this section and forgo the prior 300+ pages and still get a great deal from the book.
James
Dec 12, 2007 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in military strategy and tactics
If only some famous (and infamous) generals and politicians had read this and taken it to heart, millions of people who have died in the 20th century would be alive today. With many specific examples of general principles, Liddell Hart presented lessons he had learned in the trenches in World War I. The underlying idea is at of the indirect approach.
Perotine Massey
Apr 02, 2009 Perotine Massey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enthralling. Outstanding. Fantastic. Hart is the stodgy-looking professor who you're ready to like but then you find yourself completely in love and it's AWESOME. I don't agree with all of his conclusions, or even all of his reasoning, but the man is a genius. It is impossible to understate how important he's been to our understandings of modern warfare.
Lorelei Yang
Nov 08, 2010 Lorelei Yang rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My middle school humanities teacher, Mr. Wandell (who is, by the way, the best teacher I've ever had), recommended this to us on a regular basis. I finally picked it up and read it this summer.

I'd like to take a moment to thank Mr. Wandell for recommending this book to us.
Greg
Nov 08, 2011 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book to understand military doctrine and strategy up to the "war on terror". Explains the concept of limited war, the prevalence and origins of guerrilla war, and the matching of startegy to grand strategy (policy aims).
Edwin Ortega sevilla
Excelente manifiesto aún en nuestros tiempos. La Guerra de la Aproximación Indirecta de Hart lo resume en estas palabras: "comencé a comprender que la aproximación indirecta tenÌa una aplicación mucho más amplia, y que era una ley de la vida en todas sus esferas: una verdad filosófica".
Jfk
Jan 29, 2010 Jfk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I read this for its historic influence. It’s fairly interesting if you really want to understand strategy with some historical perspective, but I think you need to be pretty into this sort of thing to appreciate it (and not be an officer in the military).
Harry Lee
Aug 02, 2015 Harry Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not an easy read for me. You have to know the wars well to appreciate the commentary. It helped a bit going through the world war 1 section with Dan Carlin's podcast in world war 1. We don't go to war often. If you do, go indirect.
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Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart usually known before his knighthood as Captain B. H. Liddell Hart was an English soldier, military historian and leading inter-war theorist.
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“Epaminondas himself fell in the moment of victory, and in his death contributed not the least of his lessons to subsequent generations-by an exceptionally dramatic and convincing proof that an army and a state succumb quickest to paralysis of the brain.” 2 likes
“While many lessons can be found in Frederick's campaigns, the main one would appear to be that his indirectness was too direct. To express this in another way, he regarded the indirect approach as a matter of pure manoeuvre with mobility, instead of a combination of manoeuvre with mobility and surprise. Thus, despite all his brilliance, his economy of force broke down.” 1 likes
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