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Studies in War and Peace by Michael Howard

Studies in War and Peace by Michael Howard

A panoramic sweep of military strategy from Jomini and Clausewitz to Kissinger and Kahn mingling meticulous historical research with some rather eccentric speculation. Military historian at All Souls, Oxford, Mr. Howard examines the rise and fall of warfare as organized ""gladiatorial combat"" from Austerlitz, Jena and Waterloo -- brief, sanguinary, decisive engagements, observing ""all the dramatic unities"" -- to its eclipse in the technological stalemate of World War I. Howard argues that currently, in the era of thermonuclear weaponry and guerrilla insurgency, traditional military strategy as an autonomous, self-sufficient science is altogether extinct and in any case the raison d'etre of military establishments is no longer to fight and win but to balance and checkmate. Discounting massive retaliation and universal disarmament as equally fanciful, the author suggests that McNamara, Kissinger and the RAND corporation are on the right track in their search for a ""strategy of options"" based on the perfection of an invulnerable second-strike force and the build-up of conventional fighting forces. Thus far it is all pretty straightforward realpolitik with some weighty moral considerations on the nature of statecraft thrown in for good measure. The bizarre departure comes toward the end of the volume with the suggestion that the nuclear balance of terror may in fact be preferable to disarmament as a means of securing lasting peace, lest we all regress to the ""miserable civil chaos"" of Thomas Hobbes.- KIRKUS REVIEW

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