On War, Paperback Book
3.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Translated by J.J. Graham, revised by F.N. Maude Abridged and with an Introduction by Louise Willmot. On War is perhaps the greatest book ever written about war.

Carl von Clausewitz, a Prussian soldier, had witnessed at first hand the immense destructive power of the French Revolutionary armies which swept across Europe between 1792 and 1815.

His response was to write a comprehensive text covering every aspect of warfare. On War is both a philosophical and practical work in which Clausewitz defines the essential nature of war, debates the qualities of the great commander, assesses the relative strengths of defensive and offensive warfare, and - in highly controversial passages - considers the relationship between war and politics.

His arguments are illustrated with vivid examples drawn from the campaigns of Frederick the Great and Napoleon Bonaparte. For the student of society as well as the military historian, On War remains a compelling and indispensable source.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • ISBN: 9781853264825

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

The most difficult book I've ever completed. Took me a month just to read it, and sadly not 100% able to understand the whole thing. This one needs a re-read someday. Some parts are just so indigestible and make me want to pull my hair due to frustration.Having said that, why I gave this book four stars? Well, first it is a challenging read. Secondly, the contents are unbelievable. Yes, some explanations may be outdated, but the gist is still relevant. If one could get pass through the Book I-II of this book, then he/she is able to continue, that's my guarantee. Book III is where the fun starts, down right to the end. The examples taken from the Napoleonic and Prussian wars were quite helpful. Strategies, combats, relation of power, defense vs offense and plan of war, a military enthusiast should make this book his/her bible. Or even politicians, yes, they are obliged to read this book. Besides, as Clausewitz pointed out, the only source of war is politics.I will not make a thorough review due to my need to re-read this enigmatic book to have a full grasp on its notions and philosophies (which are many).Come to think of it... reading this book is like waging a war with the aim to compel our opponents (in this case our laziness, ignorance, lack of understanding) to fulfill our will.

Review by

A book I had difficulty engaging with, no enjoyment here.

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