Book Review, On Strategy:A Primer

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Edited by Nathan K. Finney Combat Studies Institute press, USA, 2020.

Reviewed by, Ashiqur Rahman: At first glance two issues about the book are interesting. Firstly, C. S. Gray, Sir L. D. Freedman, M. B. Hartwell, N. K. Finney and others who have practical knowledge and experience in the field of strategic studies have contributed in this book. Secondly, the goal of this book is to provide the basics and fundamental understanding on strategic theories.
On Strategy : A Primer, is divided into three parts which respectively answers three basic questions like, what is strategy? Who is a strategist? And how strategy and strategist works and will be working in future? First part includes the ‘basic concepts’ of strategy where it includes the historical background of the strategy and how it evolved in various sectors of war and policy making, second part is about the ‘strategist’ which says about how should a strategist think, characteristics, practice in real field and correlate their works with others and third part reflects the advanced concepts which are blended with classical thoughts to fulfil the complex and ambiguous demands of present war and warfare.
First part, ‘ The Basics’ includes eight chapters. First chapter discuss about what is strategy and how differs from the tactics. Second chapter includes the historical context of the strategy. Third chapter shows variety in the thoughts of strategists. Chapter four and five includes the descriptive and perspective ideas of strategy respectively in sea and air war. Chapter six shows how classical theories are dressed up with new test to fulfil the demands of present context of war and warfare. Strategy is found as bridge between policy and military action in chapter seven. Chapter eight tells the story of various institutions in making and applying strategy and their necessary effort for successful strategy.
Second part, ‘The Strategist’ has three chapters. Chapter nine includes the work of general staff officer, chapter ten includes about the characteristics of a strategist and chapter eleven is about various models of strategic thinking and when as well as how to use them as a tool.
Third part, ‘Advanced Concepts’ has eight chapters. Chapter twelve is about civil military understanding, chapter thirteen is about the strategy is used in small wars and their relevance with primitive thoughts. Chapter fourteen is about how strategy works in deterrence and about nuclear strategy in chapter fifteen. Chapter sixteen is about group strategy. Chapter seventeen is about the civil military understanding. Chapter eighteen is about how strategy should cope up with the evolution of technological challenges. Last chapter of this book is about the relevance of strategy in future.
Third part, ‘Advanced Concepts’ has eight chapters. Chapter twelve is about civil military understanding, chapter thirteen is about the strategy is used in small wars and their relevance with primitive thoughts. Chapter fourteen is about how strategy works in deterrence and about nuclear strategy in chapter fifteen. Chapter sixteen is about group strategy. Chapter seventeen is about the civil military understanding. Chapter eighteen is about how strategy should cope up with the evolution of technological challenges. Last chapter of this book is about the relevance of strategy in future.
Reviewed by,
Ashiqur Rahman
Student of International Relations, Faculty of Security and Strategic Studies, Bangladesh University of Professionals.

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