Academic journal article Military Review

Marching through Chaos: The Descent of Armies in Theories and Practice

Academic journal article Military Review

Marching through Chaos: The Descent of Armies in Theories and Practice

Article excerpt

MARCHING THROUGH CHAOS: The Descent of Armies in Theories and Practice by John A English. 220 pages. Preger Publishers, Westport, CT. 1996. $59.95.

There has recently been a spate of books and articles by well-known scholars and writers prophesying global anarchy, the end of the nation-state and the demise of traditional militaries.

These pieces prescribe new ways of thinking about war and advocate radical changes in force organization and employment. Most also consign Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz to the dust bin of history, saying his ways of thinking about conflict are hopelessly outmoded. John English's book is a welcome rebuttal to these arguments.

English, who teaches at Canada's Royal Military College, also wrote the classic A Perspective on Infantry.

Marching Through Chaos is far broader but equally brilliant. Recognizing Clausewitz's teaching that war is the realm of chance, reason and violence, English pays tribute to Clausewitz's On War as an unsurpassed exploration of war's complexity and contradictions.

English examines the organizational and technological transformation of armies, the tactical and operational development of modem warfighting and the nuclear deterrence theory's impact on NATO's Cold War Western Europe's defense. A brief epilogue about the Gulf War says interesting things about the US-led coalition's air campaign, the US VII Corps' sometimes-maligned commander and, more generally, the conflict's future relevance, which critics have questioned. Throughout the book, English gives a compelling argument supporting Clausewitz's old-fashioned, traditional view that war is the extension of politics. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.