Transformation of War (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Nov 24, 2009 - History - 254 pages
9 Reviews
At a time when unprecedented change in international affairs is forcing governments, citizens, and armed forces everywhere to re-assess the question of whether military solutions to political problems are possible any longer, Martin van Creveld has written an audacious searching examination of the nature of war and of its radical transformation in our own time.

For 200 years, military theory and strategy have been guided by the Clausewitzian assumption that war is rational - a reflection of national interest and an extension of politics by other means. However, van Creveld argues, the overwhelming pattern of conflict in the post-1945 world no longer yields fully to rational analysis. In fact, strategic planning based on such calculations is, and will continue to be, unrelated to current realities.

Small-scale military eruptions around the globe have demonstrated new forms of warfare with a different cast of characters - guerilla armies, terrorists, and bandits - pursuing diverse goals by violent means with the most primitive to the most sophisticated weapons. Although these warriors and their tactics testify to the end of conventional war as we've known it, the public and the military in the developed world continue to contemplate organized violence as conflict between the super powers.

At this moment, armed conflicts of the type van Creveld describes are occurring throughout the world. From Lebanon to Cambodia, from Sri Lanka and the Philippines to El Salvador, the Persian Gulf, and the strife-torn nations of Eastern Europe, violent confrontations confirm a new model of warfare in which tribal, ethnic, and religious factions do battle without high-tech weapons or state-supported armies and resources. This low-intensity conflict challenges existing distinctions between civilian and solder, individual crime and organized violence, terrorism and war. In the present global atmosphere, practices that for three centuries have been considered uncivilized, such as capturing civilians or even entire communities for ransom, have begun to reappear.

Pursuing bold and provocative paths of inquiry, van Creveld posits the inadequacies of our most basic ideas as to who fights wars and why and broaches the inevitability of man's need to "play" at war. In turn brilliant and infuriating, this challenge to our thinking and planning current and future military encounters is one of the most important books on war we are likely to read in our lifetime.
  

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Review: The Transformation Of War

User Review  - Dermot Nolan - Goodreads

For a critique of Clausewitz 'On War' one would imagine that this book be somewhat turgid and unwieldy. Alas it is not. It is infact very very readable. Very concise. And very forcefully argued. I ... Read full review

Review: The Transformation Of War

User Review  - Howard Anders - Goodreads

The author postulates that the changes in the way war is now conducted make Carl von Clausewitz's theories on war obsolete. He explains, with dry wit, how and why this occurred, and offers an alternative. Stimulating and entertaining. Read full review

Contents

By Whom War Is Fought
33
What War Is All About
63
How War Is Fought
95
What War Is Fought For
124
Why War Is Fought
157
Future War
192
The Shape of Things to Come
224
Index
245
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Martin Van Creveld, born in the Netherlands, has lived in Israel since 1950 and is Israel's most prominent military historian. He holds degrees from the London School of Economics and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he has been on the faculty since 1971. He is the author of fifteen books on military history and strategy, including Command in War (1985), Supplying War (1977), and The Sword and the Olive (1998).

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