Antoine-Henri Jomini Audiobook By Charles River Editors cover art
Antoine-Henri Jomini Audiobook

Antoine-Henri Jomini Audiobook

$4.99

by Charles River Editors

  • Narrated by: Colin Fluxman
  • Length: 2 hrs
  • Release date: 12-17-19
  • Language: English

“War in its ensemble is not a science, but an art. Strategy, particularly, may indeed be regulated by fixed laws resembling those of the positive sciences, but this is not true of war viewed as a whole. Among other things, combats may be mentioned as often being quite independent of scientific combinations…” (Jomini)

With the exception of Napoleon Bonaparte, few men were more influential on the military tactics and strategy of 19th century warfare than Antoine-Henri Jomini, yet the introduction for a 1947 English translation of Jomini’s Art of War noted, “The military world that today burns gun-powder at the altar of Clausewitzian doctrine has all but forgotten Antoine-Henri Jomini.” The author of that introduction, Lt. Col. J.D. Little of the US Marine Corps, was right then, and he remains correct today. While Carl von Clausewitz’s aphorisms are still used to support everything from military action to business management, the work of his contemporary writer Jomini has been all but forgotten.    

During the Napoleonic Era and throughout the 19th century, however, the situation was very different. Jomini was regarded as the preeminent strategist and writer of his generation, while Clausewitz was virtually unknown outside the General Staff of the Prussian Army. In the intervening period, Clausewitz has come to be regarded as the most important writer and strategic analyst of the period, whereas the writings of Jomini have been discarded and largely ignored. As a result, many military historians and strategists have only recently begun to understand how important Jomini was and how relevant his writings remain today.

In lamenting what had happened to Jomini’s reputation, Little asserted, “No man in the history of war has exerted a greater influence on the development of modern warfare than Napoleon Bonaparte. No man has been more responsible for Napoleon’s influence as Antoine-Henri Jomini.”

Again, Little had a point, because unlike Clausewitz, the writings of Jomini had a direct influence on the conduct of wars during the 19th century. While Clausewitz was not widely read outside Prussia (and later Germany) until the final years of the 19th century, few generals in Europe and America were unfamiliar with Jomini’s works, and many used his summary of the Art of War as their main guide to strategy and tactics.

Why is it that Jomini has been forgotten while Clausewitz’s name is now far more famous than it ever was during his lifetime? One of the reasons is that Clausewitz attempted to develop a philosophy of war that went well beyond the mechanics of combat. Such a philosophy is timeless, precisely because it is not linked to the tactics or weapons of a particular period. This is made evident by the fact that as recently as the First Gulf War (1990-1991), senior military leaders in the coalition against Iraq were quoting Clausewitz in support of their strategy. 

Jomini, however, viewed warfare not as a philosophical excursive but as a science, with principles that could be derived from a study of the past masters of war and applied to any situation. This lacked the grand overview presented by Clausewitz, but it provided military men with a set of easily comprehensible rules of warfare. If Clausewitz was the master of strategy, Jomini was an early exponent of a tactical view of warfare, and as many military leaders came to understand in the chaos of battle, a simple set of rules is more easily applied than a grand philosophy.

Antoine-Henri Jomini: The Life and Legacy of the Swiss General and His Famous Military Treatises About the Napoleonic Wars looks at the life and career of the military officer and highlights the most important parts of his timeless works.

Additional information

Author

Charles River Editors

Language

English

Length

2 hrs

Narrated by

Colin Fluxman

Release date

12-17-19

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