Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Successful Strategies
Triumphing in War and Peace from Antiquity to the Present


Williamson Murray, Victor Davis Hanson, James Lacey, Clifford J. Rogers, Jamel Otswald, Dennis Showalter, Richard Hart Sinnreich, Wayne Hsieh, Marcus Jones, Colin Gray, Peter R. Mansoor, Bradford A. Lee, Thomas G. Mahnken
View all contributors
  • Date Published: May 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107633599
Average user rating
(1 review)

£ 29.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Successful Strategies is a fascinating new study of the key factors that have contributed to the development and execution of successful strategies throughout history. With a team of leading historians, Williamson Murray and Richard Hart Sinnreich examine how, and to what effect states, individuals and military organizations have found a solution to complex and seemingly insoluble strategic problems to reach success. Bringing together grand, political and military strategy, the book features thirteen essays which each explores a unique case or aspect of strategy. The focus ranges from individuals such as Themistocles, Bismarck and Roosevelt to organizations and bureaucratic responses. Whether discussing grand strategy in peacetime or that of war or politics, these case studies are unified by their common goal of identifying in each case the key factors that contributed to success as well as providing insights essential to any understanding of the strategic challenges of the future.

    • Reveals the key factors that have contributed to the development and execution of successful strategies throughout history
    • Comprehensive in approach including political, grand and military strategy and featuring a broad range of case studies from ancient Greece to the end of the Cold War
    • Lessons of the past can inform how we understand and confront the strategic challenges of the future
    Read more

    Customer reviews

    01st Dec 2014 by Robbo

    Much has been written about strategy in the past three decades, whether it be concerned with military strategy, grand strategy, the theory of strategy, or the plethora of books advising on various forms of business strategy. Most present a rather simplistic approach, as if the key elements of a successful strategy can be per-ordained or the strategy of a successful general can be readily applied to other situations - what some call the template approach. Strategy, however, is a far more complex issue with a myriad of inputs and difficulties, as Williamson Murray demonstrated in the excellent study The Making of Strategy twenty years ago. In Successful Strategies he and Richard Hart Sinnreich have drawn together a fine group of academic historians to present a range of studies on approaches that have delivered results over several millennia, again highlighting how complex the formulation and execution of strategy is, and that perfect results are not always possible. This book is really concerned with grand strategy - the level at which governments and countries operate. In thirteen excellent essays the contributors cover a broad canvas stretching from the ancient Athens of Themistocles to the Cold War of the late 20th Century. Some cover familiar ground such as the strategy of Lincoln and Grant during the American Civil War, Bismarck’s strategy to unify the German States into a united Germany under Prussian control, and US grand strategy during the Second World War. Clifford J Rogers addresses a much less known example, presenting a fascinating study of the conquest of Wales by Edward I, employing the advice of Gerald of Wales written 82 years previously, while James Laceys “The grand strategy of the Roman Empire” covers disputed ground among Roman historians. Thomas G Mahnken’s “The Reagan administration’s strategy towards the Soviet Union ‘ supports John L. Gaddis’s comment that President Ronald Reagan was one of the sharpest grand strategists ever, which some readers may find surprising. Murray provides a fine Introduction and Sinnreich a concluding Afterword which national leaders would do well to read to top and tail the essays. This is not a book for general public, but is certainly one for those who are interested in strategy, or are students of war and politics, and should be on the reading lists of courses addressing these subjects. Each essay presents the complex nature of the subject, the myriad of factors that influence grand strategy makers for good or for worse, and provides sound advice on the elements that influence the formulation and execution of a successful strategy. However, the examples show that each country and its geography, together with contemporary situations and influences, ensures that a particular strategy is a child of its own time, and that the execution of successful strategies is a difficult but not impossible task. There are no quick fix solutions, as is often touted by self serving political leaders, but as Williamson Murray notes the serious study of history offers clear pointers to good and bad choices, and that “Beyond several decades, it is almost impossible for statesmen and military leaders to plan, and those who [do] ... disregard the complexities that human interactions inevitably involve.” If there is a common thread to strategic success the cases in this book “suggest that, at least in the short run, strategy more reliably - or at least, more recognizably - governs behaviour when authority over its formulation and execution resides in a single dominant decision maker. “

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107633599
    • length: 475 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 151 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.67kg
    • contains: 1 map 2 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction Williamson Murray
    1. The strategic thought of Themistocles Victor Davis Hanson
    2. The grand strategy of the Roman Empire James Lacey
    3. Giraldus Cembrensis, Edward I, and the conquest of Wales Clifford J. Rogers
    4. Creating the British way of war: English strategy in the War of the Spanish Succession Jamel Otswald
    5. Failed, broken, or galvanized? Prussia and 1806 Dennis Showalter
    6. Victory by trial and error: Britain's struggle against Napoleon Richard Hart Sinnreich
    7. The strategy of Lincoln and Grant Wayne Hsieh
    8. Bismarckian strategic policy, 1871–90 Marcus Jones
    9. Dowding and the British strategy of air defense, 1936–40 Colin Gray
    10. US naval strategy and Japan Williamson Murray
    11. US grand strategy in World War II Peter R. Mansoor
    12. American grand strategy and the unfolding of the Cold War, 1945–61 Bradford A. Lee
    13. The Reagan Administration's strategy toward the Soviet Union Thomas G. Mahnken
    Afterword Richard Hart Sinnreich.

  • Editors

    Williamson Murray, Ohio State University
    Professor Murray has just completed a two-year stint as a Minerva Fellow at the Naval War College and is at present serving as an adjunct professor at the Marine Corps University.

    Richard Hart Sinnreich
    Rick Sinnreich retired from the Army in 1990. A 1965 West Point graduate, he earned a master's degree in foreign affairs from Ohio State University and is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College and the National War College. His active military service included field artillery commands from battery through division artillery, combat service in Vietnam, teaching tours at West Point and Fort Leavenworth, and staff assignments on the Army, Joint, and National Security Council staffs, as assistant executive to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, and as Army Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He helped found and later directed the Army's School of Advanced Military Studies, and has published widely in military and foreign affairs. Since retiring from military service, Sinnreich has consulted with a wide range of defense-related agencies and participated in numerous Army and joint studies and war games. For the past thirteen years, he has written a weekly defense column for Lawton, Oklahoma's Sunday Constitution, often reprinted by the The Washington Post, ARMY Magazine, and other journals.


    Williamson Murray, Victor Davis Hanson, James Lacey, Clifford J. Rogers, Jamel Otswald, Dennis Showalter, Richard Hart Sinnreich, Wayne Hsieh, Marcus Jones, Colin Gray, Peter R. Mansoor, Bradford A. Lee, Thomas G. Mahnken

Related Books

also by this author

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.