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War's Logic
Strategic Thought and the American Way of War


Part of Cambridge Military Histories

  • Date Published: February 2021
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107465015

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About the Authors
  • Antulio J. Echevarria II reveals how successive generations of American strategic theorists have thought about war. Analyzing the work of Alfred Thayer Mahan, Billy Mitchell, Bernard Brodie, Robert Osgood, Thomas Schelling, Herman Kahn, Henry Eccles, Joseph Wiley, Harry Summers, John Boyd, William Lind, and John Warden, he uncovers the logic that underpinned each theorist's critical concepts, core principles, and basic assumptions about the nature and character of war. In so doing, he identifies four paradigms of war's nature - traditional, modern, political, and materialist - that have shaped American strategic thought. If war's logic is political, as Carl von Clausewitz said, then so too is thinking about war.

    • Describes the paradigms that underpinned how leading twentieth-century American strategic theorists thought about war
    • Illustrates the relationship between a theorist's core strategic principles and the nature of war
    • Situates American strategic thinking within its critical sociocultural contexts
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Echevarria traces the evolution of American strategic thought and how it influenced U.S. military theory and the conduct of war over the last 125 years. This book will be immediately essential to all security studies programs, and invaluable to any student of war trying to discern how the American Way of War has evolved.' Frank G. Hoffman, author of Mars Adapting: Military Change in War (forthcoming)

    'In this sharp, critical and deeply-researched book, Echevarria brings to life America's leading strategic thinkers from Mahan and Mitchell to Boyd and Warden.' Lawrence Freedman, author of Strategy: A History

    'A thought-provoking look at a dozen makers of American strategy from the late-19th century to the present. Echevarria ties the milieus in which prominent theorists lived to their vision of the nature and character of war and in so doing lays bare the assumptions that have driven American views on strategic discourse since the turn of the 20th century.' Peter R. Mansoor, author of Surge: My Journey with General David Petraeus and the Remaking of the Iraq War

    'Echevarria explores the thinking of some of America's most influential civilian and military strategists, analyzing how they viewed the continuous interactions of technology, politics, human nature, chance and uncertainty, all of which form a compelling and enduring Logic of War that will enrich the thinking of students, teachers, and practitioners alike.' Nadia Schadlow, author of War and the Art of Governance: Consolidating Combat Success into Political Victory

    'An articulate, penetrating, refreshing, intellectually satisfying, unvarnished and well researched treatise that captures, through compelling, essential biographies, the evolving American Way of War. A fabulous and engaging book.' Patricia M. Shields, Editor-in-Chief of Armed Forces & Society

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2021
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107465015
    • length: 300 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 150 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.45kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. First Principles and Modern War:
    1. Alfred Thayer Mahan and Sea Power
    2. Billy Mitchell and Air Power
    Part II. The Revolt of the Strategy Intellectuals:
    3. Bernard Brodie, Robert Osgood and Limited War
    4. Thomas Schelling
    War as Bargaining and Coercion
    5. Herman Kahn and Escalation
    Part III. The Counterrevolution of the Military Intellectuals:
    6. Henry Eccles and Reforming Strategic Theory
    7. J.C. Wiley and Strategy as Control
    8. Harry Summers and the Principles of War
    Part IV. The Insurrection of the Operational Artists:
    9. John Boyd, William Lind and Maneuver
    10. John Warden and Air Operational Art

  • Author

    Antulio J. Echevarria II, US Army War College, Pennsylvania
    Antulio J. Echevarria II is Professor at the US Army War College and former Elihu Root Chair of Military Studies.

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