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Attack and Defending Clausewitz
am 28. Februar 2000
Most of the negative commentary you will see by customers revolves around Keegan's blasting of Clausewitz.
Because there are a lot of Clausewitz fans who don't take kindly to the criticism.
What is really the case, however, is that Keegan is merely [mis]reading Clausewitz in much the same manner that ultra-rationalist military commanders of all stripes have [mis]read Clausewitz for far too many decades. The only thing Keegan does differently, after [mis]interpreting Clausewitz in much the same manner, is to then shows how fallacious the logic is.
It is true that Clausewitz included many qualifying phrases, and Keegan somewhat conveniently overlooks them. But the fact that Keegan overlooks them is a mere reflection on how so many military commanders also overlooked them, and I can hardly blame Keegan for the same mistaken intrepretations *MORE THAN* I blame all those military thinkers who were too quick to cut to the chase scene on Clausewitz's meaning.
And all of that is but a small portion of the book.
If you overlook that part, the book is absolutely fantastic, a completely riveting read. Keegan uses the rest of the book to illustrate historic examples that refute the ultra-rationalist approach, and then builds an alternate approach to undertsanding the nature and sources of warfare.
But if you find yourself really annoyed by Keegan's attack on Clausewitz, because you think the attack is richly undeserved, then you won't be able to get out of the starting gate. You'll detest the misintrepretation, and perhaps that will be enough to ruin the rest of the book for you.
Which is really too bad because, at its core, Keegan's book is an utterly fantastic tour through a history of warfare.
I would go on, but read some of the other comments for a more substantive review of the book's contents. My purpose was merely to clarify the source from which most of the negative reviews came.