Military history

Strategy: A History

Strategy: A History

In Strategy: A History, Sir Lawrence Freedman, one of the world's leading authorities on war and international politics, captures the vast history of strategic thinking, in a consistently engaging and insightful account of how strategy came to pervade every aspect of our lives.

The range of Freedman's narrative is extraordinary, moving from the surprisingly advanced strategy practiced in primate groups, to the opposing strategies of Achilles and Odysseus in The Iliad, the strategic advice of Sun Tzu and Machiavelli, the great military innovations of Baron Henri de Jomini and Carl von Clausewitz, the grounding of revolutionary strategy in class struggles by Marx, the insights into corporate strategy found in Peter Drucker and Alfred Sloan, and the contributions of the leading social scientists working on strategy today. The core issue at the heart of strategy, the author notes, is whether it is possible to manipulate and shape our environment rather than simply become the victim of forces beyond one's control. Time and again, Freedman demonstrates that the inherent unpredictability of this environment-subject to chance events, the efforts of opponents, the missteps of friends-provides strategy with its challenge and its drama. Armies or corporations or nations rarely move from one predictable state of affairs to another, but instead feel their way through a series of states, each one not quite what was anticipated, requiring a reappraisal of the original strategy, including its ultimate objective. Thus the picture of strategy that emerges in this book is one that is fluid and flexible, governed by the starting point, not the end point.

A brilliant overview of the most prominent strategic theories in history, from David's use of deception against Goliath, to the modern use of game theory in economics, this masterful volume sums up a lifetime of reflection on strategy.


Part I - Origins

Chapter 1. Origins 1: Evolution

Chapter 2. Origins 2: The Bible

Chapter 3. Origins 3: The Greeks

Chapter 4. Sun Tzu and Machiavelli

Chapter 5. Satan’s Strategy

Part II - Strategies of Force

Chapter 6. The New Science of Strategy

Chapter 7. Clausewitz

Chapter 8. The False Science

Chapter 9. Annihilation or Exhaustion

Chapter 10. Brain and Brawn

Chapter 11. The Indirect Approach

Chapter 12. Nuclear Games

Chapter 13. The Rationality of Irrationality

Chapter 14. Guerrilla Warfare

Chapter 15. Observation and Orientation

Chapter 16. The Revolution in Military Affairs

Chapter 17. The Myth of the Master Strategist

Part III - Strategy from Below

Chapter 18. Marx and a Strategy for the Working Class

Chapter 19. Herzen and Bakunin

Chapter 20. Revisionists and Vanguards

Chapter 21. Bureaucrats, Democrats, and Elites

Chapter 22. Formulas, Myths, and Propaganda

Chapter 23. The Power of Nonviolence

Chapter 24. Existential Strategy

Chapter 25. Black Power and White Anger

Chapter 26. Frames, Paradigms, Discourses, and Narratives

Chapter 27. Race, Religion, and Elections

Part IV - Strategy from Above

Chapter 28. The Rise of the Management Class

Chapter 29. The Business of Business

Chapter 30. Management Strategy

Chapter 31. Business as War

Chapter 32. The Rise of Economics

Chapter 33. Red Queens and Blue Oceans

Chapter 34. The Sociological Challenge

Chapter 35. Deliberate or Emergent

Part V - Theories of Strategy

Chapter 36. The Limits of Rational Choice

Chapter 37. Beyond Rational Choice

Chapter 38. Stories and Scripts


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