Perspectives on Strategy by Colin S. Gray

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Synopsis

Perspectives on Strategy examines in depth five aspects of strategy. Strategic thought and behaviour are explored and explained from the perspectives of intellect, morality, culture, geography, and technology. Each perspective has attracted persisting controversy. Perspectives on Strategy is strongly complementary to the author's previous book, The Strategy Bridge: Theory for Practice (OUP, 2010). This new work takes a notably holistic view of strategic phenomena, which serves as a master framework within which detailed examination of strategic history and issues can usefully be pursued in the light of particular perspectives. Foundational for the argument in Perspectives on Strategy is the proposition that distinctive aspects of strategy (e.g. ethics, culture, inter alia) can only be appreciated properly when they are regarded in context. The author shares this view with T. E. Lawrence (of Arabia), who wrote of the 'whole house of war'. Perspectives on Strategy gratefully adapts Lawrence and writes about the 'whole house of strategy'. The book insists that the nature of strategy is best represented by a Venn diagram that shows overlapping perspectives. Thus, the subject of each chapter is shown as having meaning for, and in turn is influenced by, the subjects of the other chapters. For example, the book explores the importance of strategic ideas relative to the significance of the material weapons of war. The author poses the hardest of questions pertinent to each chosen perspective (e.g. do ideas matter more than muscle?-in practice how robust is the ethical code with which warfare is waged?-is geography destiny, as some theorists have claimed?-and do technically superior weapons win wars? Perspectives on Strategy demonstrates that it is possible to look closely at strategic matters from limited but arguably powerful perspectives, without being captured by them. This book asks and answers the most challenging and rewarding questions that can be posed in order to reveal the persisting universal nature, but ever changing character, of strategy.
 

About Colin S. Gray

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Published May 19, 2013 by Oxford University Press. 256 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences.

Unrated Critic Reviews for Perspectives on Strategy

London School of Economics

Thus, Perspectives is in theory about (neutral) strategy as “direction and use made of means by chosen ways in order to achieve desired ends;” grand strategy as “the direction and use made of any and all among the total assets of a security community for the purposes of policy as decided by polit...

Nov 17 2013 | Read Full Review of Perspectives on Strategy
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