When to Wage War, and How to Win: A Guide

Victor Davis Hanson // New York Times

What is “grand strategy” as opposed to simple strategy? The term is mostly an academic one. It denotes encompassing all the resources that a state can focus — military, economic, political and cultural — to further its own interests in a global landscape.

“On Grand Strategy,” by John Lewis Gaddis, a pre-eminent historian and biographer of the Cold War, does not offer a comprehensive analysis, much less a history, of strategy on a grand scale in the manner of the classic studies by Angelo Codevilla, Edward Mead Earle, Lawrence Freedman, B. H. Liddell Hart, Edward N. Luttwak or Williamson Murray. Gaddis does concede that “grand strategies have traditionally been associated, however, with the planning and fighting of wars.” And so wars — or rather how not to lose them — are the general theme of his often didactic book.

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