Book Review: Clausewitz: Contemporary War


by Antulio J. Echevarria II

New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. Pp. viii, 210. Notes, biblio., index. $99.00. ISBN:0199231915

One of the most perceptive students of modern military thought, Antulio Echevarria, a retired colonel in the U.S. Army, who teaches at the U.S. Army Strategic Studies Institute, here takes a hard look at the work of the great theorist Karl von Clausewitz on the nature of war as it applies in the post-modern age. 

This is an important work because many (e.g., John Keegan, Martin van Creveld, etc.) claim the Clausewitzian model is no longer valid in an era characterized by, to use just a few of the buzz-words, "Fourth Generation Warfare," "Effects-based operations," "super-empowered individuals," and more, which supposedly have radically changed the nature of war

In a clear and economical manner, Echevarria takes a hard look at Clausewitz, reviewing the great theorist's basic concepts, and then proceeds to demonstrate their continued utility in this presumptive new era of warfare.  To be sure, Echevarria notes, modifications may at times be needed, and reminds us that Clausewitz never intended to write a recipe book, he attempted, with considerable succes, to provide the reader with a process or framework for thinking about war both in general and in particular, one that still applies today. 

An important read for anyone interested in the problem of war.
Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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