The Reception of Clausewitz in Britain and America, 1815-1945

by Christopher Bassford

(New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994). X + 293pp. ISBN 0-19-508383-0

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Click the reviewer's name to see the review.


"[A] startlingly worthwhile book.... Bassford tells a great story of dutiful struggle and pigheadedness, of petty revenge and epiphany, and, ultimately, of how Anglophone armies that read Clausewitz reluctantly beat the hell out of a German-speaking military that willfully read him wrong."

Ralph Peters


"A must-read book for anyone with pretensions to an understanding of Clausewitz and the major movements in modern Western military thought.... [He] has established himself in the front rank in the small field of military-intellectual history."

Col/Dr. Richard M. Swain

Military Review

"Bassford begins with a chapter, 'Clausewitz and His Works,' that demands comparison with the best summaries in any language of Clausewitz's ideas."

Dennis E. Showalter, President,

The Society for Military History

"In the course of an illuminating discussion, Bassford says a great deal about Anglo-American strategic thought in the modern period....An interesting study that has something to say to many audiences, including those concerned with the state of contemporary military thought or intellectual history."

Eliot Cohen

Foreign Affairs

"In a book everyone concerned with future U.S. military strategy should read, Bassford, a professor at the Marine Command and Staff College, gives us some important insights.... Brings Clausewitz into the 1990s."

Harry G. Summers

Strategic Review

"Any British or American military historian or student of Clausewitz will find much of interest in this study."

A.J. 'Tony' Echevarria

Armed Forces & Society

"Bassford makes three contributions as a consequence of this judicious approach to intellectual history. First, his book says as much about the readers of Clausewitz as it does about the great military theorist himself. The careful intellectual sketches of Clausewitz's readers are a special strength of the book."

James J. Schneider

American Historical Review

Here's a hostile review: "In respect to Clausewitz's influence or reception in Britain and the United States, the subject-matter of most of the book, Clausewitz in English faces the problem that there was scarcely any such influence in Britain until the late 1890s, and even less in the United States until the interwar period or even the Second World War."

Azar Gat

War in History

Another hostile review: "We should not delude ourselves that, simply because Clausewitz's approach survived the revolutionary transitions of the nineteenth and much of the twentieth centuries, it can transcend the arrival of CNN."

Christopher Bassford

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