Conceptualising Modern War (Columbia/Hurst)

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9780231702942: Conceptualising Modern War (Columbia/Hurst)
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Scholars have struggled to establish a definition of contemporary warfare that recognizes the unique character of conflict since the end of the Cold War. Whether such battles have been fought in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, or Afghanistan, "asymmetrical warfare," "Fourth Generation War," and "New War" are the best terms we have to describe them. Conceptualizing war accurately and effectively is essential, for along with trying to define the these conflicts successfully, and in order nature of modern warfare, western military establishments, led by the Pentagon, must fight to do so they need to fully comprehend events on the ground. Network-Centric Warfare (NCW) and Effects-Based Operations (EBO) are two prominent examples of working, useful theories, yet both fail to capture the complete dynamics of modern military realities.

The contributors to this volume highlight the inability of current models to create winning strategies. Hew Strachan (Oxford University), David Kilcullen (Caerus Associates), Steven Metz (United States Army War College), Helen Dexter (The University of Manchester), and Ian Beckett (University of Northampton), among other scholars, examine existing concepts and forge new paths in thinking and research. Their work forces readers to reengage with recent battles they think they know well and reconsider the development and waging of war itself.

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About the Author:

Karl Erik Haug is associate professor of history at the Royal Norwegian Air Force Academy in Trondheim. He specializes in Norwegian foreign policy, military history, and international relations.Ole Jørgen Maaø is associate professor of history at the Royal Norwegian Air Force Academy in Trondheim. He served nearly twenty years as an officer with the Norwegian Air Force before becoming a full-time scholar in 2006.


War, Clausewitz's chameleon, constantly changes its colors or outward manifestation while retaining its essence. We are witnessing a color shift, as this volume shows brilliantly, though it is more subtle and complex than commonly alleged. With trenchant critiques of key concepts like 'asymmetry' and 'generations of warfare,' this carefully researched collection weeds out much of the nonsense and half-digested ideas found elsewhere. The well-judged summary critiques of recently fashionable concepts, such as Effects-Based Operations, Network-Centric Warfare, and Transformation, should be set texts for students. An outstanding and timely evaluation of strategy debates since the end of the Cold War.

(Beatrice Heuser, University of Reading, author of The Evolution of Strategy: Thinking War from Antiquity to the Present and The Strategy Makers: Thoughts on War and Society from Machiavelli to Clausewitz)

I recommend this book to professional and student alike. The essays give excellent descriptions and explanations of the terms used to categorize our recent military endeavors, and in the process the concepts behind the choice of categories are exposed, revealing much about our approach to warfare.

(General Sir Rupert Smith, KCB DSO OBE QGM, author of The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World)

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it as a must read to practitioners, policy makers and academics. The analysis is extremely persuasive, and the authors have provided a commendable product. The volume fits neatly into the current literature filling an important niche, and will not be rapidly overcome by events. It could become a classic.

(Andrew Dorman, King's College, University of London)

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Published by Columbia University Press (2011)
ISBN 10: 0231702949 ISBN 13: 9780231702942
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
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(Portland, ME, U.S.A.)

Book Description Columbia University Press, 2011. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0231702949

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