Hew Strachan, The Direction of War: Contemporary Strategy in Historical Perspective (Cambridge: Cambridge University Pres, 2013). Only one book this week but an important one that was purchased at the CUP bookshop on a visit to Cambridge; well who can say no when it was discounted. As Strachan noted in his acknowledgments, this book is the product of his time as Chichele Professor of the History of War at the University of Oxford. The book is an insightful examination of some of the challenges of contemporary strategy but grounded in a thorough understanding of the past. Most of the chapters have been published elsewhere in various forms but have been revised and updated for this book. For me, the most interesting chapters four, seven and nine on civil-military relations, strategic culture, and technology respectively. Chapter Nine has some interesting insights on Giulio Douhet’s strategic thought. More on Douhet can be found in Thomas Hippler’s work, Bombing the People (2013).


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