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Military Academy at West Point, N. The best-known translation, by Captain G. Mendell and Lieutenant W. Graihill in , was edited by J. Winship and Lieutenant E. Legacy Books has brought to light the version, which included the Letter to the Emperor of Russia, the advertisement and the notice of the Present Theory of War and of its Utility.
Few writers influenced military operations up to as much as Jomini. Since Napoleon did not write a book regarding the nature of war and a method for military operations, we can say that task passed to Jomini. The summarized version of The Art of War was first published in , and an updated edition in , not long after Marie von Clausewitz published the tenth and last volume of her husband's writing. Clausewitz, however, completely ignored the sea factor.
Jomini's book analyzes step by step the methods and the ways of war. Many of his statements are still correct; for example, that the French army's use of large offensive infantry columns during the Waterloo battle cost to it the victory, or that there must be a supreme commander of all the artillery coordinating all the units and subunits of an army in order to concentrate fire more effectively.
Other statements of his proved to be wrong. For example, the Napoleonic system that depended primarily on the soldiers' legs was impracticable in vast countries like Russia, where logistics were lacking. Jomini, while agreeing with Clausewitz that during the campaign in Russia Napoleon did everything he could to protect his rear and his flanks, disagrees with Clausewitz's conclusion that Russia was an impossible country for an army to conquer, attributing the campaign's failure simply to the magnitude of wartime preparation.
Jomini's book had an arguably excessive influence on the U. Army, especially during the Civil War, when American generals put its theories into practice. Major General Henry W. Halleck first earned his reputation translating Jomini's Vie politique et militaire de Napoleon , then as a military strategist and finally as chief of staff of the Union Army.
John-Allen Price, who wrote the introduction of the restored edition, believes that Jomini is forgotten today as military writer and Clausewitz has held the greater influence over modern armies since Somehow, though, I believe that Jomini's statements on the morale of an army as a key factor for victory is still extremely relevant.
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The Art of War
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In the execution of any undertaking there are extremes on either hand which are alike to be avoided. The rule holds in a special manner in making a translation. There is, on the one side, the extreme of too rigid adherence, word for word and line for line, to the original, and on the other is the danger of using too free a pen. In either case the sense of the author may not be truly given. It is not always easy to preserve a proper mean between these extremes. The translators of Jomini's Summary of the Principles of the Art of War have endeavored to render their author into plain English, without mutilating or adding to his ideas, attempting no display and making no criticisms.
Summary of the Art of War