Jeremy Black accomplishes exactly what he intends to do - he helps the reader to reframe & rethink many long-standing, taken-for-granted, assumptions and myths about military history. This book is a true innovative gem about military history that sparkles in a droll sea of otherwise banal commonality. This book should be on the shelf of every professional military careerist - especially those who believe that good military policy, theory, strategy, operations, and tactics begin with a solid grasp of good military history. This is a book for those who actually understand the essence of good military history - or those who want to learn about it. Afterwards, you will think about new concepts and perspectives regarding military history in ways you never dreamed of.
This book captures a variety of salient issues that all affect how we assess military effectiveness: an over-reliance upon 'junk' history, heavy technology bias in military thinking, Eurocentricness & American-centricity, a dysfunctional separation of land-vs-sea combat, preoccupation with nation-state conflicts -vs- the general continuum of conflict, a generally unfocused "political" guidance for a very wide range of highly important military issues, and our all-too-often cultural 'myopicness' in military understanding and approach.
You should disregard any myopic 'scholarly' critique that falsely purports to know exactly what the vast majority of military history readers want. Instead, you should focus on what you know you want. You should disregard any myopic 'scholarly' critique that would falsely degrade a book simply because it is written in a culturally different style of English than one is normally use to. For without doubt, there are numerous foreign writers whom average Americans as well as highly regarded academics find their foreign style of writing a bit rough in reading. ( And "Herr Clausewitz" is surely at the top of that long list.) Instead, you should focus on the content of new concepts and perspectives - not miniscule nuances in writing style.
If anything, this book may overwhelm the average (or below average) reader only because it is heavily laden, page-to-page, with a plethora of new concepts and perspectives by a master military historian - who has looked at military history from every side of a military Rubik's Cube - and knows exactly what he is talking about.
You cannot read this book only once - for if you love military history, this book WILL captivate you.