Bradley Hood's Reviews > On War

On War by Carl von Clausewitz
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it was amazing
bookshelves: read-nonfiction, favorites

On War is often considered tedious, long, and difficult to read. Those who promote this argument certainly have some valid points, and their concerns were echoed by Clausewitz's contemporaries, which led to Antoine Henri Jomini achieving far more prominence in military circles before 1914. However, despite Jomini's continued influence in the concept of "scientific principles of war", Clausewitz's On War has proved instrumental in shaping the foundations of today's military theory and thought. Any student of military history or science, or politics, should at least read Book 1 Chapter 1 of On War. A basic understanding of Clausewitz will lead to a much enhanced understanding of both politics and war, especially in regards to historical periods after his death and the publication of this book.

My advice for anyone approaching Clausewitz with one or all of many preconceptions about what he meant to say or how his influence affected military theory today: Keep in mind that Clausewitz sought only to develop a way of thinking about war. Unlike Jomini, Clausewitz often demonstrates how war is full of exceptions, and rejects Jomini's reductionist and prescriptionist approach. Even if you disagree with Clausewitz's ideas, if you thought about the nature of war and how it intersects with politics, Clausewitz has achieved his goal in writing his book.

This edition of On War is the classic text, and I have used it in graduate school. I highly recommend both Clausewitz and this edition of his On War.
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Reading Progress

November 19, 2013 – Started Reading
November 19, 2013 – Shelved
November 19, 2013 – Finished Reading
December 23, 2014 – Shelved as: read-nonfiction
December 23, 2014 – Shelved as: favorites

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