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Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace
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Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  261 ratings  ·  25 reviews
"If you want peace, prepare for war." "A buildup of offensive weapons can be purely defensive." "The worst road may be the best route to battle." Strategy is made of such seemingly self-contradictory propositions, Edward Luttwak shows--they exemplify the paradoxical logic that pervades the entire realm of conflict. In this widely acclaimed work, now revised and expanded, L ...more
Paperback, Enlarged, Revised, 320 pages
Published January 31st 2002 by Belknap Press (first published 1987)
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James Murphy
Nov 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I first encountered Luttwak many years ago through a book he wrote about the grand strategy of the Roman Empire. He's written many books on strategy and this, Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace, is one of the most studied and influential on the subject.

It's Luttwak's idea that strategy is being constantly practiced. Strategy is an ever-present condition whenever there are relations between nations, whether friendly or hostile. It's like borders, like the distinctions of languages, it always e
Sep 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Welcome to the world of a paradoxical logic, where war facilitates peace by destroying state's means to engage in a conflict and peace breeds war by making the state powerful and daring enough to resort to brute force. "Si vis pacem, para bellum," writes Luttwak in his first chapter, and spends the rest of the book demonstrating that the non-linear logic is present throughout the whole realm of strategy.

It can appear between different levels of war, when the right tactical decision may result i
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
"If you want peace, prepare for war." This book should be called "The PARADOXICAL Logic of War and Peace," because Luttwak's main contribution is to illustrate how the logic of daily life is turned on its head in warfare. In the preface, Luttwak explains: "...the logic of strategy seemed to unfold in two dimensions: the 'horizontal' contentions of adversaries who seek to oppose, deflect, and reverse each other's move - and that is what makes strategy paradoxical; and the 'vertical' interplay of ...more
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: strategy
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics

An incredible tour de force that examines the paradoxical trade-offs of military campaigns. Victory is shown to contain the seeds of defeat and vice versa.

A variety of lessons learned are clearly presented and illustrated with historical examples in an understandable manner. His discussions on blitzkrieg, defensive depth, culmination points and guided vs unguided weaponry alone are worth the the price of admission. He discusses the pros and cons of using the element of surprise, the irrati
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
I'm not sure what I was expecting, just thought the author sounded like an interesting person and decided to check this out. It is quite densely written, but may be interesting to the person looking to learn more about this topic. One overarching theme is the paradox of war, that the best way to secure peace is to prepare for war. ...more
Dmitry Zlokazov
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
1. Memorable 3
2. Social Relevance 2
3. Informative 2
4. Originality 2
5. Thought Provoking 3
6. Expressiveness 1
7. Entertaining 1
8. Visualization 1
9. Sparks Emotion 1
10. Life changing 1

Total 17/10 = 1.7
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Accessible for the amateur (me) but extremely dense and interesting.
Joseph Monaco
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aslsp-f100
Really enjoyed this one. I've seen a lot of the theory embedded here come alive during military operational-level planning. ...more
Anatoly Gladky
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Интересно о военном противостоянии стран. О том как «непобедимые» оружия устаревают после выхода. Всегда найдется противодействие. Советую.
John Dzwonczyk
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. A foundational book for thinking about the paradoxes of war.
Apr 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theory
Luttwak defines strategy as “the conduct and consequences of human relations in the context of actual or possible armed conflict.” He maintains that strategy is unique in its paradoxical logic, a reality illustrated by the old axiom that if one desires peace, then one should prepare for war. This example of paradox is simply the first of many from a world history rich with conflict. Luttwak’s case studies are many and varied, almost to the point of distraction. In one telling example, Luttwak sh ...more
Jonathon Dyer
Mar 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz famously wrote, "War is the continuation of politics by other means." As pithy and understated as this may be, Clausewitz has been proven to be correct on this count time and again, even in as short a time as the first eighth of our current century. Mass conflict has always featured as a foundation-stone of the human endeavor, and an all too quick recourse when negotiation fails or offence is taken. Please don't misunderstand me. War is arguably the greatest ...more
Ferhat Culfaz
Dec 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Interesting book covering Grand strategy: strategic, tactical and operational aspects of War and for Peace. A bit too much technical detail of war and those sections should be skipped. Not as good as his first magnum opus, Coup d'etat. The first paragraph of the last chapter of this book on strategy some a up Grand Strategy nicely:

"My purpose has been to uncover the workings of the paradoxical logic in its five levels and two dimensions, offering a general theory of strategy in the process. Read
Mar 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Довольно интересная книга, но, на мой взгляд, слишком много теории и мало практических примеров. Умиляет попытка полемики переводчика/редактора с автором посредством примечаний. В принципе это более-менее нормально, если взять перевод Второй мировой войны Черчилля, то там будут примечания какого-то отечественного историка, которые иногда именно исправления неточностей, а иногда выглядят как попытки оправдать определённые поступки советского руковдства. Но в этой книге у выпускаещего состава, вид ...more
Adam Halley
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is essential for anyone interested in understanding warfare or conflicts. Luttwak presents as a central thesis that all war (and peace) is paradoxical. Paradox arises because the enemy is a living, thinking, acting person, dedicated to fouling your plans and making your goals and tactics irrelevant.

He highlights the necessity of trying to anticipate how your neighbors and opponents will react to new techniques, tactics, operations, etc. It is by far one of the best general introduction
Edward Luttwak has an incredibly ability to rock the strategic Casbah. His Ph. D. dissertation started a unending debate on the nature of the Roman frontiers, Roman conceptions of foreign policy and Roman strategic planning that rages to this day. In this work he writes a compelling plucky little book on a number of strategic concepts and the nature of strategy overall. Clausewitz would blush in envy, although many of his ideas are a hyper complex version of some points made by Clausewitz. The b ...more
May 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war, strategy
Insightful book on how strategy uses its own paradoxical logic rather than normal linear logic. Strategic decisions must encompass five levels of analysis (Vertical Dimension: Technical -> Tactical -> Operational -> Theatre -> Grand) and then further examine the decisions at the horizontal grand strategy dimension (diplomacy, economics, intelligence, propaganda etc.)
Sep 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. It took Luttwak three pages to demolish the central argument of BH Liddell Hart's life thesis. I loved Liddell Hart. While I have enjoyed and benefited from other works of Luttwak, this Strategy shows both his comprehension of his field and his brilliance. ...more
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
This book assumed that the reader has extensive knowledge of the majority of the major conflicts in the 20th Century and their leaders. Without that knowledge, it's hard to follow the author's point.

Also, I'm pretty sure that the author doesn't know what the word "paradox" means.
Jul 31, 2012 marked it as to-read

표제/책임표시사항 戰略 : 戰爭과 평화의 論理 / Edward N. Luttwak 著 ; [국방대학원 역]
발행사항 [서울] : 國防大學院, 1993
형태사항 272p. ; 26cm
주기사항 원표제: Strategy : The logic of war and peace
참고문헌 : p.266-272
국립중앙도서관 원문정보 데이터베이스(database)로 구축됨
분류기호 한국십진분류법->392.3 듀이십진분류법->355.43
자료이용안내 원문정보는 디지털도서관 디지털열람실을 예약하신 후 이용
Egor Kimkhay
Jan 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
В свете современных событий очень актуально
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a classic on military and national strategy
Feb 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is for my history class on Germany's response to its own wartime atrocities. Fun stuff! ...more
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Edward Nicolae Luttwak is a military strategist, political scientist and historian who has published works on military strategy, history, and international relations. Born in Arad, Romania, he studied in Palermo, Sicily, in England, LSE (BSc) & at Johns Hopkins (PhD). He speaks five languages. He serves or has served as a consultant to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the National Security ...more

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