Masters of War: History's Greatest Strategic Thinkers : The Great Courses: Military

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Andrew R. Wilson
  • Series: The Great Courses: Military
  • 12 hrs and 12 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

From Napoleon's revolutionary campaigns to the way insurgency, terrorism, and nuclear weaponry have defined the nature of warfare in the 21st century, the results of military strategy have changed the course of history. These 24 thought-provoking lectures give you an inside look at both the content and historical context of the world's greatest war strategists.
From the triremes and hoplites of ancient Greece to the Special Forces in 21st-century Afghanistan, strategy is the process by which political objectives are translated into military action - using the means at a nation's disposal to compel an enemy to bend to its political will.
In this concise and rigorous survey, Professor Wilson introduces: Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War; Sun Tzu's famous The Art of War; Machiavelli's strategy for a republic with a citizen-army; Jomini, Clausewitz, and the Napoleonic revolution in warfare; the development of naval strategy and the rise of airpower; Mao Tse-tung, David Galula, and Roger Trinquier's reflections on insurgency and counterinsurgency and their influence on the U.S. Army's Field Manual 3-24; Just-war theory, from Thucydides' Melian Dialogue to Operation Iraqi Freedom; nuclear war, terrorism, and other strategic challenges for the 21st century.
You'll come away from this course with new insight that will allow you to take an informed, active interest in political and military debates - which ultimately will determine the course of our nation.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this course are those of the professor and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great Introductory Overview of Strategic Concepts

What did you love best about Masters of War: History's Greatest Strategic Thinkers?

This may seem like a cliché, but what Carl Sagan did for science, Prof. Wilson has done for Strategy. I am a civilian with no military background. I found Prof. Wilson’s lectures interesting, well-structured, and informative. The lectures have a just the right balance of factual dissertation and storytelling to keep the listener engaged. These lectures have left me with a better mental framework for applying strategic thinking to my own decisions, and for understanding the actions of others on the larger world stage.


What was one of the most memorable moments of Masters of War: History's Greatest Strategic Thinkers?

Prof. Wilson’s attention to the importance of a back-and-forth dialog between civilian and military leaders actually changed my preconceived notions in that area.


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- John H. Heitmuller

Amazing overview of the Masters and well taught.

What did you love best about Masters of War: History's Greatest Strategic Thinkers?

Prof. Wilson did such a great job providing a solid overview that was clear and understandable. I have taken courses that touched these strategic thinkers but no one that I have taken has linked them together so well.


What other book might you compare Masters of War: History's Greatest Strategic Thinkers to and why?

Handel's Masters of War was the closest that I could compare to this lesson but I still would say that Prof. Wilson edges out Handel on this one.


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- MartyMoose

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses