Professor Emeritus Williamson Murray, a Vietnam veteran, has written, and co-edited over twenty books on strategy, military effectiveness, and military history. All are worth reading, for Murray bases his works on sound research of past events, a keen analysis, and a deep understanding of the realities of politics, strategy, and war. Underlying his work is a strong belief of the value of studying military history as an aid to guide current policy makers and military leaders in confronting the problems of the future. In doing so, Murray does not argue that a study of history provides a clear path for understanding the future - rather he believes that, despite the uncertainty and ambiguity of its lessons, and its discontinuities, writ large, history provides the best laboratory we possess for understanding the future, and avoiding the disastrous mistakes of the past. Both the Introduction and the initial chapter (“History and the Future’) of this book provide thoughtful essays on this theme of Murray’s work.
War, Strategy, and Military Effectiveness presents thirteen essays written during Murray’s productive career covering a range of issues, from a comparative study of the value of the writings of Thucydides and Clausewitz, to an analysis of the air effort during the First Gulf War. In between he discusses a range of diverse topics, including the intrinsic value of military culture; German military effectiveness between 1900 and 1945; an analysis of the Combined Bomber Offensive of the Second World War; the effectiveness of Red Teaming in challenging assumptions; British Intelligence during World War II, to questioning the value of a set of ‘Principles of War.’
Each of these chapters are insightful, and while one may not agree with some of Murray’s comments, they are persuasive, thought provoking, and make compelling reading. Underpinning each of them is the historical analysis that supports Murray’s case, and his firm belief that we can learn from the past. They provide a welcome antidote to the shallow journalistic comment, and many of the mythological based, under researched popular ‘histories’ lacking analysis, which are so prevalent today.
One of Murray’s underlying themes running through several of these essays, is that many military leaders since the Second World War have been sadly lacking in a truly professional education, relying, instead, on their own combat experience as junior or middle ranking officers, which is hardly a basis for providing sound strategic advice. Consequently, their knowledge of past events, and of the political, cultural and historical background of potential adversaries is weak. Others, in more recent times, have been seduced by the theoretical, technological, and template based approaches to war, that claim to provide a panacea for solving what, in reality, are the complex human activities through which strategy, war and military effectiveness evolve. Murray eschews these fads, and quick fixes, disdaining the fallaciousness of their assumptions, and demonstrating their failure to deliver in recent wars. Instead he emphasises that, while technology plays a key role, war is a social phenomenon, in which human thinking and decisions, good and bad, have driven events, and that human genius is a rare commodity. He argues, therefore, that today’s leaders, ‘must possess the historical and cultural background to offer sage political and strategic advice about the consequences involved in war.’ In reading his essays, it is hard to disagree with him.
War, Strategy, and Military Effectiveness is a book seeking to understand these complex issues, and the factors that influence them. Presented in an easily readable style, it covers subjects that are at the core of planning and preparing a militarily effective force to meet
- 语种： 英语
- ISBN: 1107002427
- 条形码: 9781107002425
- 商品尺寸: 15.7 x 2.8 x 22.9 cm
- 商品重量: 671 g
- ASIN: 1107002427
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