By Sir Hew Strachan
Cambridge University Press, $29.99, 335 pages
What is the future direction of war? How can strategy and policy be reconciled? These questions, and many more, are tackled by famous war historian Hew Strachan in his new work The Direction of War: Contemporary Strategy in Historical Perspective. He examines the changing role of strategy and policy over time, and how the two became entangled and kept going in the wrong directions. With one side not knowing how to work with the other, it often leads to poor outcomes, and then soul searching of what went wrong. Mr. Strachan looks at the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and how the two main countries, the United States and Great Britain, confused strategy for policy and then never recovered.
This is not book for a timid reader as it requires full attention. Hew Strachan is known for his historical studies, and this is prevalent throughout the book as he uses historical methods and sources to make his point. While it focuses on current policy debates, this is not normally a book that will fall into strategy circles, it falls some place in between. This is a book that should be read by people who want to know more of how modern conflicts will be fought, and how they should be conducted.
Reviewed by Kevin Winter