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On War by Carl von Clausewitz
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Okay, so this is a long book--over 600 pages--and some of it is a slog--like a battle that has gone on too long, with the reader's army expending a lot of energy and time to finish. But, it can be useful. The book I mean. Even as we don't fight wars in our everyday lives, we can use this book to solve problems and conflicts. Maybe. I haven't put its advice and strategies into action yet. But, here's hoping. Among much advice, Clausewitz says war is politics by other means. He urges it to be decisive; you have to go all in, but, when it's being lost, you have to pull out and accept defeat, which, America hasn't really accepted in the past few decades. No matter, though this is a political book if there ever was one. The Reading Guide at the end applies what Clausewitz wrote to the 20 century American wars. Shame it was written before the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What Clausewitz says: war is politics by other means; generals and commanders have to have "genius"; war is an art; theory if of use but cannot take the place of learning by experience and action; theory is useless when it comes down to actual fighting; mountains and rivers are not good theatres of operation; defense, defense, defense, is the most powerful way to win a war. The meat of the book, aptly, like the fresh troops held in the back, ready to engage to win the battle, is towards the end when he talks about defending and attacking. The prose can get repetitive, but overall it is clear and precise and Clausewitz has seemingly broken every aspect of war down so that it gets a chapter. Not hard to read, but, again, a slog. He spent thirty years thinking about war and this is the result. So you can't blame him. With an affecting introduction by his widow--the book on war starts off with love.
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Finished Reading
January 19, 2014 – Shelved

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