Stirring portraits of five commanders whose dynamic leadership changed the course of war and history by prominent military historian Victor Davis Hanson. "Victor Davis Hanson has written another outstanding and eye-opening book"--The Washington Examiner Prominent military historian Victor Davis Hanson explores the nature of leadership with his usual depth and vivid prose in The Savior Generals, a set of brilliantly executed pocket biographies of five generals (Themistocles, Belisarius, William Tecumseh Sherman, Matthew Ridgway, and David Petraeus) who single-handedly saved their nations from defeat in war. War is rarely a predictable enterprise-it is a mess of luck, chance, and incalculable variables. Today's sure winner can easily become tomorrow's doomed loser. Sudden, sharp changes in fortune can reverse the course of war. These intractable circumstances are sometimes mastered by leaders of genius-asked at the eleventh hour to save a hopeless conflict, one created by others and frequently unpopular politically and with the public. The savior generals often come from outside the established power structure, employ radical strategies, and flame out quickly. Their careers regularly end in controversy. But their dramatic feats of leadership are vital slices of history-not merely as stirring military narrative, but as lessons on the dynamic nature of consensus, leadership, and destiny.
This groundbreaking book provides the first systematic comparison of America’s modern wars and why they were won or lost. John D. Caldwell uses the World War II victory as the historical benchmark for evaluating the success and failure of later conflicts. Unlike WWII, the Korean, Vietnam, and Iraqi Wars were limited, but they required enormous national commitments, produced no lasting victories, and generated bitter political controversies. Caldwell comprehensively examines these four wars through the lens of a strategic architecture to explain how and why their outcomes were so dramatically different. He defines a strategic architecture as an interlinked set of continually evolving policies, strategies, and operations by which combatant states work toward a desired end. Policy defines the high-level goals a nation seeks to achieve once it initiates a conflict or finds itself drawn into one. Policy makers direct a broad course of action and strive to control the initiative. When they make decisions, they have to respond to unforeseen conditions to guide and determine future decisions. Effective leaders are skilled at organizing constituencies they need to succeed and communicating to them convincingly. Strategy means employing whatever resources are available to achieve policy goals in situations that are dynamic as conflicts change quickly over time. Operations are the actions that occur when politicians, soldiers, and diplomats execute plans. A strategic architecture, Caldwell argues, is thus not a static blueprint but a dynamic vision of how a state can succeed or fail in a conflict.
John Lewis Gaddis, the distinguished historian and acclaimed author of The Cold War, has for almost two decades co-taught the grand strategy seminar at Yale University with his colleagues Charles Hill and Paul Kennedy. Now, in On Grand Strategy, Gaddis reflects with insight and wit on what he has learned. In chapters extending from the ancient world through World War II, Gaddis assesses grand strategic theory and practice in Herodotus, Thucydides, Sun Tzu, Octavian/Augustus, Saint Augustine, Machiavelli,Elizabeth I, Philip II, the American Founding Fathers, Clausewitz, Tolstoy,Lincoln, Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Isaiah Berlin.
The notion of counter-insurgency has become a dominant paradigm in American and British thinking about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This volume brings together international academics and practitioners to evaluate the broader theoretical and historical factors that underpin COIN, providing a critical reappraisal of counter-insurgency thinking.