Strategy and History : Essays on Theory and Practice book cover
1st Edition

Strategy and History
Essays on Theory and Practice

ISBN 9780415386357
Published May 25, 2006 by Routledge
248 Pages

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Book Description

Strategy and History comprises a selection of Professor Gray's key contributions to strategic debate over the past thirty years.

These essays have been selected both because they had significant messages for contemporary controversies, and because they have some continuing relevance for today and the future. Each essay in this book is really about strategy in the modern world, and reflects the many dimensions of this complex subject.

This book covers a wide range of subjects and historical events, but there are key issues covered throughout:

  • being strategic
  • the consequences of actions
  • a respect for Clausewitz’s theory of war
  • historical dependency
  • the importance of geography
  • being critical of enthusiasm for technology over human factors 
  • the primacy of politics.

This important publication provides an invaluable insight into the development of strategic studies over the past 30 years from one of the world's leading theorists and practitioners of the subject. The book will be of great interest to all students  and analysts of strategy and international studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Holding the Strategy Bridge  Part 1: Strategy, Strategic Studies, and History  1. Across the Nuclear Divide – Strategic Studies, Past and Present (1977)  2. New Directions for Strategic Studies? How Can Theory Help Practice? (1992)  3. History for Strategists: British Seapower as a Relevant Past (1994)  4. Why Strategy is Difficult (1999)  5. From Principles of Warfare to Principles of War (2005)  Part 2: Strategic Issues  6. Nuclear Strategy: The Case for a Theory of Victory (1979)  7. The Revolution in Military Affairs (1998)  8. Arms Control Does Not Control Arms (1993)  Part 3: Geography, Culture, Ethics  9. Geography and Grand Strategy (1991)  10. Strategic Culture as Context: The First Generation of Theory Strikes Back (1999)  11. Force, Order, and Justice: The Ethics of Realism in Statecraft (1993)  Part 4: War and the Future  12. What is War? A View from Strategic Studies (2005) 

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Colin Gray is Professor of International Politics and Strategic Studies at the University of Reading, UK. He is the author of 19 books, more than 300 articles, and several dozen reports for government. His work is often cited in the fields of arms control, maritime strategy, nuclear strategy, and strategic culture. Recent works include Strategy for Chaos: RMA Theory and the Evidence of History (2002); The Sheriff: America's Defense of the New World Order (2004). He is General Series Co-Editor of the Strategy and History Series for Routledge.


'Makes significant contributions to both the history and the theory of RMA ... this provocative integration of historical record and theoretical framework extends Professor Gray's record of distinguished contributions to the field of security studies.'

- Comparative Strategy

'It is a capital idea to have all these essays published together for they contain much wisdom. Admittedly, this reviewer is an admirer of Dr. Gray’s work, but the importance of the ideas he addresses in this series of essays collected over 30 years should give much food for thought even to less impressed readers.' Dr Stephen Blank, Parameters