The Art of Creating Power: Freedman on Strategy

In This Review

The Art of Creating Power: Freedman on Strategy
Edited by Benedict Wilkinson and James Gow
Oxford University Press, 2017
488 pp.
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Pulling together the vast corpus of Lawrence Freedman’s work is an ambitious feat, but this book manages it with aplomb. The contributors tackle his wide-ranging scholarship on topics such as strategy, deterrence, military policy, and international relations. Freedman, a regular contributor to this magazine, is the author of a canonical text on nuclear weapons, The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy. After the 9/11 attacks, he pushed the international community to reconsider its understanding of deterrence to accommodate the threat of terrorism. In the years that followed, Freedman’s work on humanitarian intervention and just war theory shaped how policymakers and politicians, such as British Prime Minister Tony Blair, approached the Iraq war—although many of them misapplied Freedman’s thinking. Freedman later served as a key member of the British government’s official inquiry into the United Kingdom’s role in the war. Attempts by the contributors to this volume to view Freedman’s work through various theoretical lenses are less interesting than their substantive analysis of his thought, but this study reminds readers that Freedman has earned his status as a towering figure among scholars and practitioners of military strategy.

 

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