War, like death and taxes, seems eternal but is it inevitable? Do nations simply blunder into it? What is victory and how is it achieved?
The author of this original and lively study answers these and other perennial questions about War and Warfare (not the same thing) that scholars often ignore.
Pike explains how strategy fuses objectives and action, how war leaders invariably (and literally) lose the plot; how the relationship between generals and politicians is key.
He looks at nuclear war and provides some provocative insights; he argues that Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) – while a hideous concept – provides strategic stability.
He also highlights the absurdity and folly of past wars – football wars, wars about pigs or ears – but stresses that wars, a last resort once diplomacy has failed, are lost by those blinded by hubris, irresolution or simple strategic confusion.
This is the first volume in a trilogy ‘Making Sense of War’.
Part two of the trilogy ‘War in Context’ is also available from Brown Dog Books
'Both learned and a joy to read, Pike synthesises 2,000 years of scholarship and cuts through the fog of war and history.’ Antony Bird (writer and historian)