Originally published on Goodreads
On War by Carl von Clausewitz is one of the most well-known books on the theory of warfare and is considered a hallmark in military theory. Being written in the 1800s added with the fact that it is a theoretical treatise on warfare makes it quite daunting to pick up and read.
The content itself could well have been revolutionary back then. I think it still stands as one of the most thorough treatments of war and that really speaks volumes about the longevity of Clausewitz’s ideas. Clausewitz begins with defining war and does so thoroughly. This is where the book is hardest to read. Apart from the extremely hard to read language, Clausewitz tops it off with an extremely dry explanation of war. The rest of the book however improves a bit and becomes a bit more tangible although Clausewitz never spends much time underlining his points with examples, instead preferring to logically reason his way to them.
While On War contains a lot of interesting content, the language is simply too hard to penetrate. I wouldn’t particularly recommend this to anyone except for people adept with reading theoretical texts and have an interest in warfare.
2 out of 5 stars.