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Strategy in the Contemporary World

Seventh Edition

Edited by John Baylis, James J. Wirtz, and Jeannie L. Johnson

02 March 2022

ISBN: 9780192845719

488 pages

In Stock

Price: £32.99

This authoritative survey of strategic studies gives students a complete introduction to strategic thinking, from historical and theoretical approaches to the contemporary issues and challenges facing the world today. A team of expert authors present readers with key debates and a range of perspectives, encouraging critical thinking.



This authoritative survey of strategic studies gives students a complete introduction to strategic thinking, from historical and theoretical approaches to the contemporary issues and challenges facing the world today. A team of expert authors present readers with key debates and a range of perspectives, encouraging critical thinking.

  • Leading international scholars provide complete coverage of key enduring, contemporary and emerging issues in strategic studies
  • Tailored learning features encourage students to develop critical thinking skills and encourage readers to reflect upon and evaluate a wide range of perspectives
  • Updated student and lecturer online resources ensure lively engagement with content during teaching activities
  • Also available as an e-book with functionality, navigation features, and links that offer extra learning support

New to this edition

  • Jeannie L. Johnson, Assistant Professor, Utah State University, joins the editor team to bring new expertise and insight to the seventh edition.
  • New chapter 18 on Chinese grand strategy by Oriana Skylar Mastro examines the evolution of Chinese grand strategy from Mao Zedong to Xi Jinping, its drivers, and its implications.
  • Fully revised chapter on strategic culture explores the concept of strategic culture as a framework of analysis used by scholars and policymakers to explain the international behaviour of states.
  • Fully revised chapters on cyber conflict and technology and warfare focus on how digital and technological developments affect strategic decisions.

About the Author(s)

Edited by John Baylis, Emeritus Professor of Politics and International Relations, Swansea University, James J. Wirtz, Professor of National Security Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, and Jeannie L. Johnson, Director of Center for Anticipatory Intelligence and Associate Professor, Utah State University

John Baylis is Emeritus Professor of Politics and International Relations and a former Pro-Vice Chancellor at Swansea University. Prior to that he was Professor of International Politics and Dean of Social Sciences at Aberystwyth University. He has published more than 20 books and over a hundred chapters and articles. His books include The Makers of Nuclear Strategy, with John Garnett (Pinter, 1991); The Globalization of World Politics, with Steve Smith and Patricia Owens (8th edn, Oxford University Press, 2020); An Introduction to Global Politics, with Steven Lamy, Steve Smith, and Patricia Owens (4th edn, Oxford University Press, 2016); and The British Nuclear Experience: The Role of Beliefs, Culture and Identity, with Kristan Stoddart (Oxford University Press, 2015). He has a BA, MSc (Econ), PhD, and DLitt from Swansea and Aberystwyth Universities.

James J. Wirtz is a Professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California. He is the author of Understanding Intelligence Failure (Routledge, 2017). Along with Loch Johnson, he is the editor of Intelligence: The Secret World of Spies (5th edn, Oxford University Press, 2019). He received his PhD from Columbia University.

Jeannie L. Johnson is the Founding Director of the Center for Anticipatory Intelligence at Utah State University and an Associate Professor in the Political Science department. She is the author of The Marines, Counterinsurgency, and Strategic Culture: Lessons Learned and Lost in America's Wars (Georgetown University Press, 2018) and the co-editor of Crossing Nuclear Thresholds: Leveraging Socio-Cultural Insights into Nuclear Decisionmaking (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). Dr Johnson previously worked for the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence and the US State Department. She received her doctorate from the University of Reading in 2013.

Table of Contents

    1:Introduction: Strategy in the Contemporary World, John Baylis, James J. Wirtz, and Jeannie L. Johnson
    Part I: Enduring Issues of Strategy
    2:The History of the Practice of Strategy from Antiquity to Napoleon, Beatrice Heuser
    3:The Evolution of Modern Warfare, Michael Sheehan
    4:Strategic Theory, Thomas G. Mahnken
    5:The Causes of War, John Garnett and John Baylis
    6:Strategic Culture, Dmitry (Dima) Adamsky
    7:Law, Politics, and the Use of Force, Justin Morris
    8:Technology and Warfare, Ryan Grauer
    9:Intelligence and Strategy, Roger Z. George
    10:Geography and Strategy, Daniel Moran
    Part II: Contemporary Problems
    11:Irregular Warfare: Terrorism and Insurgency, James D. Kiras
    12:Nuclear Weapons in the Twenty-first Century, C. Dale Walton
    13:The Control of Weapons of Mass Destruction, John Baylis
    14:Conventional Power and Contemporary Warfare, John Ferris
    15:Humanitarian Intervention and Peace Operations, Sheena Chestnut Greitens
    16:Cyber Conflict in the Age of Great Power Competition, Ryan C. Maness, Rebecca Lorentz, and Brandon Valeriano
    17:Geopolitics and Grand Strategy, Stephanie Ortmann and Nicholas Whittaker
    18:Chinese Grand Strategy, Oriana Skylar Mastro
    Part III: The Future of Strategy
    19:Strategic Studies: The West and the Rest, Amitav Acharya and Jiajie He
    20:Strategic Studies and its Critics, Columba Peoples
    21:A New Agenda for Security and Strategy?, James J. Wirtz
    22:The Practice of Strategy, Colin S. Gray and Jeannie L. Johnson
    23:Does Strategic Studies Have a Future?, Sir Lawrence Freedman


"This forward-thinking, comprehensive textbook is a must-have for instructors of international relations and strategic studies in the modern age. It covers a broad range of theoretical and topical issues ranging from strategic theory to nuclear weapons, from irregular warfare to great power competition. Incorporating military and scholarly views, the chapters provide students with in-depth instruction on a variety of the most critical strategic issues of our time." - Dr Molly Dunigan, Senior Political Scientist, RAND Corporation, and Senior Lecturer, Carnegie Mellon University

"Strategy in the Contemporary World is the most comprehensive introduction to strategic studies. Drawing on the expertise of leading scholars, this volume is an essential text to understand the broad range of debates and contemporary problems that shape the study and the practice of strategy." - Dr Damien Van Puyvelde, Director of the Scottish Centre for War Studies, University of Glasgow

"Contemporary strategy involves enduring issues of force and war, but it also includes an expanding cast of characters in a rapidly changing technological environment. The relationship between traditional theory and modern dilemmas is complex, and students of strategy may struggle to make sense of it all. John Baylis, James Wirtz, and Jeannie Johnson have assembled an outstanding roster of experts to guide them." - Dr Joshua Rovner, Associate Professor, American University

"More than just a fresh coat of intellectual paint, the 7th edition of Strategy in the Contemporary World is an important new instalment in an ongoing seminar about how the basic issues of international security affairs are evolving in an ever-changing world led by some of the most important contemporary thinkers on the subject. An indispensable resource for teachers and scholars." - Dr Michael C. Desch, Packey J. Dee Professor of International Affairs; Brian and Jeannelle Brady Family Director, the Notre Dame International Security Center

Additional Resources

Digital formats and resources

Strategy in the Contemporary World is supported by online resources and is available for students and institutions to purchase in a variety of formats.

The E-book offers a mobile experience and convenient access along with functionality tools, navigation features and links that offer extra learning support: www.oxfordtextbooks.co.uk/ebooks

This book is supported by a range of online resources for students and lecturers, including additional case studies, multiple choice questions with instant feedback, PowerPoint slides to accompany each chapter, additional links, and a test-bank of questions that lecturers can use to test their students on their understanding of the key concepts and their critical engagement with the material