Grand Illusions

The title Makers of Modern Strategy, wished upon its editors by the long, worldwide, and deserved success of the original edition of 1943, is, of course, a misnomer. Strategy is made by men of war, often without benefit of book learning. Strategic theory, which is what this work is about, …

The Awful Fate of Frederick the Great

Fashions in greatness come and go. Frederick the Great is not a man for our times. Peter the Great, yes, because, like it or not, the Russia that dominates half of our world is a state of his making. Louis le Grand—Louis XIV—also, because the cultural splendor achieved by France …

Newspook

“Too long,” certainly; page after page after page, many laboring the same point—or allegation—and none relieved by fine writing. “Too secret”? Is it a secret that two British diplomats, Burgess and Maclean, defected to the Russians in 1951? That they had long served as KGB agents? That they had a …

Uncle Harry’s Socks

“Any friend or acquaintance who turns to the index,” writes A.J.P. Taylor in the preface to his autobiography, “and does not find his name there can console himself that he was originally the subject of a passage which the lawyer condemned” (for libel, that is). He admits to seventy-six excisions, …

Storm in a Teacup

Armageddon is generally supposed to be the first recorded battle of history, fought between Thutmose III, Pharaoh of Egypt, and some of his rebellious subjects near the site of modern Haifa in 1469 BC. By analogy, and thanks to the Apocalypse of St. John, it has come to stand also …

Command Performances

Professor William McNeill, of the University of Chicago, is a prodigy among living historians. Two world histories crown his achievements, one so called and the other bearing a title that implies a confidence in our civilization rare among intellectuals today.[^*] The same confidence sustains him in his treatment of smaller …

Pecking Orders

Are empires coming back into fashion? The chief result of the Second World War, the defeat of Hitler obviously excepted, was the dissolution of the European colonial empires. This need not have been a necessary outcome. Indeed, after the First World War, the European colonial empires actually grew in size.

Empire Building

“Empire” has come to have a fixed meaning for the British in their post-imperial years. It stands, to the exclusion of almost all other memories, for the “high empire” of the Victorian noon, the empire of the Sepoy Mutiny, the great calm of the viceroyalty which followed it, Kipling’s small …

The Brave

Just before midnight of July 3/4, 1976, four Hercules transports of the Israeli Air Force landed without warning at Entebbe Airport, Uganda. They had flown the 2500 miles from their home bases nonstop and were carrying a force of Israeli commandos, a team of doctors, and a collection of assault …

Follow the Fleet

The next compiler of a dictionary of British and American English would do the speakers of each a service if he included the proper name Mahan and the explanation that in Britain it is pronounced to rhyme with barn but in the United States with Japan. A considerable number of …