Clausewitz: A Very Short Introduction

ISBN : 9780192802576

Michael Howard
96 Pages
113 x 176 mm
Pub date
Feb 2002
Very Short Introductions


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  • 'as a synthesis of Clausewitz scholarship this study can hardly be faulted' English Historical Review
  • Outlines Clausewitz's enduring theory of war, making it of continuing interest to military historians and those interested in the logistics and tactics of war
  • Explains how Clausewitz's theory relates to his actual experience in the Napoleonic wars
  • Essential reading for anyone interested in military history or strategy
  • Michael Howard is a well-known trade history author

Karl von Clausewitz's study On War was described by the American strategic thinker Bernard Brodie as 'not simply the greatest, but the only great book about war'. It is hard to disagree. Even though he wrote his only major work at a time when the range of firearms was fifty yards, much of what he had to say remains relevant today. Michael Howard explains Clausewitz's ideas in terms both of his experiences as a professional soldier in the Napoleonic Wars, and of the intellectual background of his time.


1: Clausewitz in his time
2: Theory and practice in war
3: Ends and means in war
4: Limited and absolute war
5: The legacy of Clausewitz
Further Reading

About the author: 

Sir Michael Howard has held the Chair of War Studies at King's College London, the Chichele Chair of History of War and the Regius Chair of Modern History at Oxford, and the Robert A. Lovett Chair of Military and Naval History at Yale. His works include The Franco-Prussian War, The Causes of Wars, War and the Liberal Conscience, The Lessons of History, and War in European History. Together with Professor Peter Paret he edited and translated Clausewitz, On War.

Review from previous edition 
'as a synthesis of Clausewitz scholarship this study can hardly be faulted' - English Historical Review

'a delightful introduction to the paradoxes and insights of this passionate rationalist.' - London Review of Books

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