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On War (Penguin Classics) (original 1832; edition 1982)

by Carl Von Clausewitz

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636115,215 (3.65)None
Member:BGP
Title:On War (Penguin Classics)
Authors:Carl Von Clausewitz
Info:Penguin Books (1982), Abridged Ed, Paperback
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Political theory, Non-Fiction

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On War [abridged - Penguin Classics] by Carl von Clausewitz (1832)

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(Alistair) It is always difficult to review a classic of its field, and the more so when this is far from one's initial reading of the text, and as such one may incorporate elements from other readings and thoughts external to the specific book in question.

Alas, this particular edition possesses glaring flaws which overcome that particular problem. This Penguin Classics edition of On War is abridged, which I knew, but regrettably it is fairly poorly abridged. More to the point, it is burdened with an introduction, commentary and notes dating from its original publication in 1968, and this in particular is redolent with the tropisms of the Crazy Years: an attack from the then-current peacenik Left on Clausewitizian and designated "neo-Clausewitzian" philosophies, and indeed on the political philosophy of war in general.

It is unfortunate in the modern day that this naive dogma must contend with a current reality for which Clausewitizian thought provides much greater explanatory power; it is and would have been even at the time of publication unfortunate that it must sit next to the work of the man himself, which even in abridged form - and, so I am told, in a bad translation - reflects much clearer thinking.

So, essentially: Clausewitz himself is excellent, but don't buy this version. For myself, I'm looking for a better full-text translation.
( http://weblog.siliconcerebrate.com/cerebrate/2008/07/on_war_carl_von_clausewitz.... ) ( )
1 vote libraryofus | Sep 12, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carl von Clausewitzprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Graham, J.J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140444270, Paperback)

Combining military theory and raw accounts of its practice, Carl von Clausewitz's treatise "On War" has had a profound influence on subsequent thinking on warfare. This "Penguin Classics" edition is edited with an introduction by Anatol Rapoport. Writing at the time of Napoleon's greatest campaigns, Prussian soldier and writer Carl von Clausewitz created this landmark treatise on the art of warfare, which presented war as part of a coherent system of political thought. In line with Napoleon's own military actions, he illustrated the need to annihilate the enemy and make a strong display of one's power in an 'absolute war' without compromise. But he was also careful to distinguish between war and politics, arguing that war could only be justified when debate was no longer adequate, and that if undertaken, its aim should ultimately be to improve the wellbeing of the nation, pioneering the notion of war as 'politics by other means'. This edition contains a detailed introduction, examining von Clausewitz's skill and reputation as a writer, philosopher and political thinker, as well as a bibliography, notes and a glossary. Carl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) was a Prussian soldier and writer who entered the Prussian Military at the age of twelve with the rank of Lance-Corporal, serving in the Rhine campaign from 1793 to 1794. In 1801 he joined the Berlin Military Academy, where he studied Kant and attracted the attention of General Gerhard von Scharnhorst, whom he later helped to reform the Prussian army. More a philosopher than a soldier, Clausewitz's fame rests on the enduring success of "On War" (Vom Kriege), unfinished at the time of his death and published posthumously by his wife, in 1832. If you enjoyed "On War", you might like Sun-Tzu's "The Art of War", also available in "Penguin Classics".

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:51:44 -0400)

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