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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.
©2012 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2012 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Glen Sears on 12-13-16

Great for new students and military professionals

Any additional comments?

This was a great overview. I am a retired 30 military officer and war college graduate who still practices in national security issues. This audio presentation was an outstanding way to review and think anew about strategic principals.
It is also a good intro for new students (formal students or just learners for life) to introduce them to foundational pillars of strategic thinking.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful


By John H. Heitmuller on 08-08-13

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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12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Amazon Customer on 07-21-15

Educational and interesting

A good series of lectures, charting the progress of military theory, with real world examples of ideas from long ago. I liked the delivery, which felt relaxed and was easy to listen to. Will want to hear more of the Great Courses, especially Prof. Wilson's Art of War lectures.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful


By Mr Simon W D Borland on 07-30-16

really impressive. LOVED every chapter / lecture.

highly recommended for anyone who lives history, military history, strategy, and learning from the past. brilliantly researched and written. I LOVE this series of lectures.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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