Review of “Studies in War and Peace

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Studies in War and Peace by Michael Eliot Howard

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lawrence Freedman wrote about the passing of Sir Michael Howard on War on the Rocks (…) which led me to reread this collection of his essays. It reminded me of how much Howard was cited and read when I was taking military history at the Military Academy.

Compiled from lectures and articles in the 1960s, they are on one hand examples of how to write about history, and on the other, an indicator of how historians and social scientists have changed their perspective on warfare. Many of the discussions, such as those on nuclear weapons, are rooted in the Cold War, although the thoughts on deterrence are still a matter of discussion. His essays also portray a world in which great power conflict was a matter of recent history (World War II) and not just speculation. As such, it is a chance to revisit that were the focus of strategists when I was first getting into the field.

However, I do not want to leave the impression that this is some cultural or historical artifact. The last four essays (“Military Power and International Order”, Disarmament and the Military Balance”, Problems of a Disarmed World”, and Morality and Force in International Politics”) deal with issues that are still subject to discussion.

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