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The Art of War

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  825 ratings  ·  35 reviews
The Art of War by Baron De Jomini was considered by most military experts of the day, at the time of the American Civil War, to be the definitive work on strategy and warfare. Even today, it is highly regarded as a seminal work in the development of strategy.
Kindle Edition, 302 pages
Published October 4th 2009 by Public Domain Books (first published 1838)
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Steven Peterson
Jul 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Baron Antoine Henri de Jomini's "The Art of War" is an early classic on military strategy and tactics. With von Clausewitz, he was one of the more widely read scholars on the subject in the 19th century. His book tends to have an abstract, scholarly air to it that suggests that he was more of an "arm chair" theorist than a man whom he learned much from--Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon may have had general perspectives on warfare, but he was also someone who was able to be improvisational on the ...more
Blue Morse
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jomini’s Art of War, written in the 19th Century after observing and serving in the many Napoleonic Wars, has undoubtably had the most influential impact on current US military doctrine. It’s fascinating how much of what Jomini wrote in this book echoes the 21st Century tactical and operational considerations that I’ve experienced first-hand in my career.

I also found Jomini very easy to read and extremely practical, unlike the philosophical and contradictory ramblings of Clausewitz. I love his s
As with Mahan's "Influence of Sea Power," I won't try to review Jomini's actual work (nor am I really fit to do so), beyond noting that Jomini's influence on the American way of war has been vastly underestimated. This particular translation, in fact, was made at West Point in 1862, as America was in the second year of the Civil War, and other renditions of Jomini had been studied by West Pointers before that time.

A curious mixture of dated material and what are likely timeless truths (much lik
Howard Anders
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read the "Art of War" for class. The author, a Swiss national, served in Napoleon's Grande Armee. The "Art of War" is essentially Jomini's take on what made Napoleon so successful. Previously, during the Age of Reason, European armies were essentially the discrete playthings of kings, like Louis XIV and Frederick the Great. The French Revolution changed all that; armies became national. Revolutionary France became a "nation in arms" to defend their Revolution against the kings of Europe. Jomini' ...more
Jul 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's a reason this book has been re-imagined for business, love, life, pet-ownership, etc. etc. If you have half-a-brain, you can draw these conclusions yourself from the translated sources material. Half poetry, half military tactical manual. So relevant today, it's hard to believe it was written 2000+ years ago. ...more
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not a good writer...too many words, tends to jump from thought to though. Def-ly valuable information for war strategists but you will break your head because of poor writing.
War it never change.
Brennan Trainor
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Art of War is a fantastic read, not only is it interesting to see Sun Tzu's work, but that of a later general who wrote about the tactics. At times the transition from Sun Tzu to the writer's voice was a bit jarring. Overall however, the book was a challenge to read due to what seemed to be an older writer style. But that only makes the book more appealing to myself, it is fascinating to learn what phrases used to have equal meaning to simpler terms we use today. I suggest anyone who has not ...more
It's good as an "art of war" book. You learn a lot about what is important to a general and what sorts of considerations one has to make when conducting a campaign. I only wish that he explained the references he gives for battles that are evidence that 'prove' his points. But I guess that would make the book a lot longer. Even though it is an old book it is readable. ...more
Rob Markley
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, napoleonic
Jomini is a good thinker and analyst and really there is no undue anti Napoleon bias as some would suggest. Not everything he has to say might be agreed with but the thoughts are definitely worth engaging with nonetheless
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I PERSONALLY found Clausewitz to be all around better. Yet, there are a few things in which the swissman shines, mainly for what concerns the tactical and operational level of war. A must-read for historical and military buffs
Colin Darby
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read during "armed intellectual" phase. Thought it was too non-specific and hand-wavy, unlike Clausewitz. My opinion and knowledge base have grown since then, so I've come to appreciate both Jomini and Sun Tzu somewhat more. ...more
Roger Burk
It's said that every aspiring general in the Civil War had a copy of Jomini in his backpack. He does seem to write from a basis of good sense and much experience on the state of the operational and grand-tactical levels of war in the second quarter of the nineteenth century. However, it will help you reading this book if you are intimately familiar will all European campaigns and battles in the period 1700-1815, for that is where Jomini gets all the examples he mentions. He gives careful conside ...more
I read this as part of my War Studies course way back in 1979. Now have my own copy. It's a bit more practical than Clausewitz, in other words it deals more with the conduct of war than the theory. This makes it seem a little more dated than Clausewitz, but only if you believe the Clausewitzian theory, which is very much based on 'war by the nation-state'. Jomini is the book for the Napoleonic wargamer! Or the student of Napoleonic military strategy and tactics.

I'm still technically reading this
Kristin King
Mar 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
The version I read had commentary on what was meant by the writings according to various Chinese generals and such as well as examples that ranged from the ancient to Hannibal, Stonewall Jackson and such. Still, this was not a very engaging read considering its classic status. My secondary purpose was to collect quotable phrases, and that I did.

(Bob Sutton's rendition of Lionel Giles' translation along with the the Samuel B. Griffith text with "voluminous notes along with numerous footnotes." Fo
Jan 19, 2016 rated it did not like it
Considering this book is a classic, I found it to be a bit slow and boring. The book is quite short and straightforward, but some parts can definitely be condensed. Then again, the text is translated, so editing it too much would not be true to the original. I read it because many say the strategies are applicable to business management. I can see some of the points working, which others may need some stories/comparisons for me to get the picture.

I personally did not enjoy the book, so it seems
Aug 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a hard but riveting read. This is THE book that encapsulates the lessons of the Napoleonic wars. The Author was a staff officer under Napoleon, and on Regimental service throughout the period as well. This is the book that every Civil War General had probably read in the French original, but it includes several later other amendments. Lots to digest -but it is MUST-READ for any fan of the period, Military Strategy and Tactics, and especially Wargamers. Not a quick read- but well worth it ...more
Nate Huston
There's a lot of Clausewitz running through Jomini's thoughts. Spends most of Chapter 3 talking about operational level strategy - lines of operation and strategic movement. Valuable, but in the general sense. Lines of operation and the movement of large armies will most likely never be my forte. That said, the definition of various terms such as lines of operation, strategic lines and the function and interplay of bases of operation are a key contribution. ...more
Aug 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Only edition of this classic I've read, so I can't compare it to others. The book itself contain much of historical and philosophical interest. I have a feeling I'll be rereading various parts as time goes by. ...more
Robert Palmer
Sep 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military-theory
This is one of the great classics of western military thinking. It is one of many books I read during the time that I served as an officer in the U.S. Army.

For more, please see my review of On War by von Clausewitz.
Jul 30, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tough going ... but ya gotta do it I supose.
Apr 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read for anyone in business and management. I have to re-read this book as it is one of the harder reads.
Rick F.
May 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Highly influential even today! Jomini and Clausewitz offer two different looks at the nature of war and how it is fought. Both are important and should be studied together.
Daniel Salvador Noguera
Very interesting book. Complex and very detailed, but definitely a MUST READ in Military Strategy.
Dec 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
David Doyle
Jun 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A have to read for everyone.
Jan 07, 2015 rated it liked it
This was an interesting, but exhausting read...good book to read at least once, perhaps twice.
Nov 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
If Stannis Baratheon, from the house of Baratheon, the first of his men, the true king of seven kingdoms, the Lord of Dragonstone had read this he could not have lost the battles :)
Mar 24, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating instruction on how to lead men in war. Most practical 100 years ago, yet still relevant. Might be a great read prior to reading any civil war or napoleonic war story.
David Blaylock
Apr 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
The more I read classics that are must reads, the more I enjoy the stuff I pick out on my own.
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Antoine-Henri de Jomini était un militaire, théoricien de la stratégie militaire et historien.
Il était membre de l'état-major du maréchal Ney dans l'armée de Napoléon, position qu'il quitte (après que le maréchal Berthier lui a refusé une nomination de général) pour devenir général de division dans l'armée russe du tsar Alexandre Ier. Plus tard il devient aide de camp de l'Empereur.
Après la mort d

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'Tis the season of the beach read, that herald of summer sun and vacation vibes! Whether you're the type of reader who has very strict rules...
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“The celebrated maxim of the Romans, not to undertake two great wars at the same time, is so well known and so well appreciated as to spare the necessity of demonstrating its wisdom.

A government maybe compelled to maintain a war against two neighboring states; but it will be extremely unfortunate if it does not find an ally to come to its aid, with a view to its own safety and the maintenance of the political equilibrium. It will seldom be the case that the nations allied against it will have the same interest in the war and will enter into it with all their resources; and if one is only an auxiliary, it will be an ordinary war.”
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