The Development of Military Thought: The Nineteenth Century

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The Development of Military Thought: The Nineteenth Century

By Azar Gat
Oxford University Press, 1992
273 pp. $69.00

One might have titled this Makers of Modern Strategy: The Advanced Course. Gat plunges into his subject in five uneven chapters dealing with positivism and romanticism, and French, German, naval and Marxist military thought. He has read widely, but some gaps stand out-Russian and American military (as opposed to naval) writers barely appear, and there is nothing on European thinking about colonial warfare. Gat knows his own mind and has little patience for authors who are "naive" (a favorite epithet) or in other ways not up to his standards of rigor. The volume often assumes that generals are the slaves of a handful of theorists and presents lengthy lists of historical "factors" to be sorted out by the hapless reader. Still, this intellectual forced march has some benefit for those who undertake it, because Gat presents a great deal of historical and theoretical material in a relatively brief compass. The cost of the book is absurdly high.

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