Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Modern Review of a Classic Victorian War Manual

We have some exciting news! In this month's issue of Survival  from The International Institute for Strategic Studies, David Betz has reviewed Small Wars: Their Principles and Practice, by Charles Callwell, one of our Cosimo Classics titles. The August to September volume of Survival is all about global politics and strategy, and Small Wars fits in perfectly.

From the American war in Vietnam to the Russian war in Afghanistan, the British occupation of Northern Ireland to the American occupation of Iraq, "small wars"--which include guerrilla warfare and other asymmetrical combat--have been a constant in the geopolitical arena of the post-WWII globe. But it was a contingency before the World Wars that demanded advanced preparation in the areas of strategy, logistics, and other military concerns. In the classic 1896 Small Wars, Anglo-Irish military writer Major General Sir Charles Callwell (1859-1928) drew on his service in the British army to create the first modern guide to the "small war." From the causes of small wars, which impacts how they will be fought, to the characteristics of guerrilla warfare to nitty-gritty details on the best tactics to employ over various terrain, it is a gripping instruction manual for deploying the "boldness and vigour" required to win a small war.

Betz's article is a frank and detailed review that merges past with present, that reviews which parts of Callwell's Small Wars are applicable in this day and age, and which are absolutely not. Both are a fascinating read, especially for those interested in both ancient and modern warfare. You can check out an excerpt of Betz's article here, or you can order this month's issue in print or for your iPad. Either way, you won't be disappointed.

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