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 theory and practice, Antulio Echevarria 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 contemporary military theorists, to include John Keegan and Martin van Creveld, are claiming that the Clausewitzian model is no longer valid in an era characterized by, to use just a few of the buzz-words, "Fourth Generation Warfare," "Effects-based operations," and "super-empowered individuals." 
In a clear and economical fashion, Echevarria assesses Clausewitz, reviewing his basic concepts, and then demonstrates their continued utility in this presumptive new era of warfare.  He often clears away confuse as to Clauswitz' intent, and reminds us that the Baron proposed a means of analysis, rather than a set of solutions.  He also reminds us that modifications to the basic Clausewitzian concepts may at times be needed, but that the Baron made that very point himself. 

An important read for anyone interested in the fundamental principles of war.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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