I recently played the strategy board game Risk for the first time in many years. After the first desultory moves I informed my companions that from then on I was going to use Clausewitz as my guide, hoping they might be intimidated. I was the first to be knocked out. If there is one lesson from Lawrence Freedman’s encyclopedic study of strategy through the ages, it is to rely on your own cunning, intelligence and luck and to leave the textbooks behind.
Freedman has had a long and successful career in the War Studies department at King’s College, London, and latterly as the impresario of the joint King’s–Defence Academy teaching programme. His new book represents the culmination of thirty years of reflection on the nature of strategy and the many theories that