#Monday Musings: Sir Lawrence Freedman

Today we begin a new initiative titled “Monday Musings”. The idea is to get quick, insightful thoughts based around three questions from those interested in strategy, including the most experienced and lauded in the field to the newest thinkers/writers. With that, let’s kick it off with one of the most respected authorities on strategy, Sir Lawrence Freedman:

1 — Who had the greatest impact on you intellectually (whether through writing, mentorship, etc.)?

Sir Michael Howard. He was my supervisor at Oxford and had also established the Department of War Studies at King’s which I went on to run. He helped me every step of my career. As soon as I read his collection of essays, Studies in War and Peace, I knew that is what I wanted to do. He writes elegantly, is effortlessly interdisciplinary, and was never afraid to address difficult issues.

2 — What book (fiction, history, or academic) do you think best explains strategy?

What can I say? Mine does it for me [Strategy: A History]. The book that made me think most about the subject was Tom Schelling’s Arms and Influence.

3 — What do you want your legacy to be?

Not gone quite yet. (Woody Allen — “I don’t want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen; I want to live on in my apartment.”) I have been directly involved in the study of war and strategy for over 40 years now. It would have been a bit of a waste of time if there had been no legacy. I can take some credit for the strength of King’s as a centre of excellence, but so can many other people, and I’m always pleased when I see former students making their mark. Nice to think some of my books might still be read, but who knows…

Sir Lawrence Freedman is an Emeritus Professor of War Studies at King’s College London. Prior to King’s, he held research appointments at Nuffield College Oxford, IISS, and the Royal Institute of International Affairs. He is an elected Fellow of the British Academy, was awarded the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 1996, and was awarded the KCMG (Knight Commander of St Michael and St George) in 2003.

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