America and the Future of War: The Past as Prologue Examines What History Suggests about the Future Possibilities and Characteristics of War

The Hoover Institution Press released America and the Future of War: The Past as Prologue, by Williamson Murray, explains why America must remain prepared to use its military power to deal with an unstable, uncertain, and fractious world.

“While America’s leaders display scant understanding of war, Williamson Murray again provides an unflinching book exposing realities we cannot ignore,” said James Mattis, Secretary of Defense. “The breadth and clarity of this richly researched primer packs lens-changing messages on every page, reflecting the author’s extraordinary analytic rigor and historical insight. A must-read if we’re to escape the morass of nonstrategic thinking endangering our future.”

In America and the Future of War, Murray finds wisdom from history concerning present and future challenges of war and peace. Whatever threats emerge during the coming decades, Murray argues, they will require strategic wisdom from America’s political and military leaders. Leaders must also adjust their political and military assumptions for a world undergoing rapid change.

“Williamson Murray’s aim in America and the Future of War is twofold: He offers a tragic reminder to often therapeutic- minded Americans that war is inherent in the human condition and cannot be legislated or thought away,” said Victor Davis Hanson, the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution. “But he also offers a second practical blueprint of how the United States, through military readiness, deterrence, a balance of power, and muscular alliances, can prevent or at least mitigate hostile aggression. A tour de force of historical insight and political acumen.”

Williamson Murray shows that aspects of human conflict will not change regardless of advances in technology but also that the character of war is changing at an accelerating rate. Despite the constancy of human aggression, future scientific advances will provide new challenges and alter the battlefield in unexpected ways. The tragedy, Murray concludes, is that we have not bothered to study our mistakes.

Williamson Murray is an American historian and author. He served in the United States Air Force, taught at a variety of universities, worked as a consultant, and has authored numerous works on history and strategic studies, the most recent being the highly acclaimed A Savage War: A Military History of the Civil War (Princeton University Press).

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