In This Review

Moltke on the Art of War: Selected Writings
Moltke on the Art of War: Selected Writings
Edited by Daniel J. Hughes
Presidio, 1993, 275 pp
Purchase

Helmuth von Moltke, the Prussian chief of staff who, together with Bismarck, masterminded the wars of German unification, was a prolific writer. In this important book we have a wide-ranging collection of his essays and orders, ranging from philosophical reflections on the nature of war to instructions for handling wagon trains. The 1869 "Instructions for Large Unit Commanders" is alone worth the price of the volume: a careful reading of that document helps explain the approach to war and command that helped make the Germans so formidable in the field for almost a century. Moltke molded the Prussian and ultimately the German army at a time of technological and economic change. For that reason as well, this book deserves a much wider audience than those interested in nineteenth-century military history. Readers will be particularly grateful for the editor's careful explanation of terms that are easily mistranslated in English, and for concise and useful footnotes and bibliography. A model of fine editing.