Academic journal article Air & Space Power Journal

War, Clausewitz, and the Trinity

Academic journal article Air & Space Power Journal

War, Clausewitz, and the Trinity

Article excerpt

War, Clausewitz, and the Trinity by Thomas Waldman. Ashgate Publishing (http:// www.ashgate.com), 110 Cherry Street, Suite 3-1, Burlington, Vermont 05401-3818, 2013, 203 pages, $109.95 (hardcover), ISBN 978-1-4094-5139-6.

War, Clausewitz, and the Trinity is a detailed analysis of Carl von Clausewitz's seminal book On War as well as selections from his other writings. The book's purpose is to offer readers a better understanding of Clausewitz and the context of his writing by building on previous secondary studies. Dr. Thomas Waldman, an Economic and Social Research Council Fellow at the University of York, interpreted Clausewitz's theory of war in relation to modern conflict for his doctoral thesis. His knowledge of Clausewitz's life and writings- together with numerous secondary sources on the subject, which he references throughout this book-is impressive.

Here, he focuses on "passion, chance and policy" (p. 2), the three central elements or "trinity" that comprise war according to Clausewitz. The trinity is represented in the physical world by a secondary trinity: the people, commander and army, and government. Dr. Waldman also discusses a tertiary level to the trinity, which is historical context. He emphasizes the importance of context because the face of war is constantly changing. The author points out the discrepancy between Clausewitz's continued popular status with military historians and the lack of in-depth study of his work, a situation that has led to general misunderstanding or misinterpretation of his ideas. …

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