March 1st, 2013

Capsule Review: “The Practice of Strategy”

Wanted to make RS readers aware of this great edited compilation. There is a diverse array of historical work on the formation and practice of strategy in a variety of historical contexts.

My favorite chapter is Jeremy Black’s take on British strategy in the “long 18th century”—I was pleasantly surprised how many stereotypes about 18th century war were demolished in so little pages! Opinions may differ about the contributors’ interpretation of what strategy is, but it generally falls within Colin Gray’s own parameters of a “purpose-built” bridge between violence and politics.

Books like The Practice of Strategy are necessary for the strategy community in the same way human beings need food to grow. In order to appreciate strategy, contextual reading of cases in which political, economic, and military intersections are realized is necessary. My reading now is primarily in political science, international relations, big history, political methodology, computer programming, and some natural sciences (ecology, nonlinear dynamics, etc) so I unfortunately don’t have as much time or brainspace for books like these. I read it over a long period of time and just finished the last chapter this week.

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A blog on states, communities, and organizations in conflict by Adam Elkus.

Portrait photo: Marshal Liu "One-Eyed Dragon" Bocheng