Barry Strauss

Barry Strauss

Biography: 

Barry Strauss (Cornell University) is a military historian with a focus on ancient Greece and Rome. His Battle of Salamis: The Naval Encounter That Saved Greece—and Western Civilization was named one of the best books of 2004 by the Washington Post. His books have been translated into ten languages. His latest book, The Death of Caesar: The Story of History’s Most Famous Assassination (Simon & Schuster, March 2015), has been hailed as “clear and compelling” by TIME and received three starred reviews from book journals (Kirkus, Library Journal, Shelf Awareness). His Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar and the Genius of Leadership (Simon & Schuster, May 2012), was named one of the best books of 2012 by Bloomberg. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the German Academic Exchange Service, the Korea Foundation, and the American Academy in Rome. In recognition of his scholarship, he was named an Honorary Citizen of Salamis, Greece.

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Recent Commentary

Featured CommentaryAnalysis and Commentary

From Leading From Behind To Fighting On The Frontier

by Barry Strauss via Strategika
Monday, October 31, 2016

Every empire or great power, no matter how interventionist it is, undergoes periods of retrenchment. For example, after the Roman emperor Trajan (r. A.D. 98-117) conquered Dacia (Romania) and fought an exhausting, at first successful but ultimately failed war in Mesopotamia (Iraq), his successor Hadrian (r. A.D. 117-138) pulled back. Hadrian accepted defeat in Mesopotamia, gave up part of Dacia, and put the empire on a defensive footing. 

Related Commentary

The Strategic Problems of Grexit

by Barry Strauss via Strategika
Friday, July 1, 2016

With Britain posed to exit the European Union, other European countries might reconsider their own status. None has a more fraught relationship with the EU than Greece, primarily because of its experience with the Euro. And what if Greece leaves the Eurozone?

Period Military History

This Kind of War: The Classic Korean War History, by T. R. Fehrenbach

by Barry Strauss via Classics of Military History
Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A journalist rather than an academic, Fehrenbach (1925-2013) wrote larger-than-life history of a heroic bent. He is remembered for the bestselling Lone Star: A History of Texas and Texans (1968), whose emphasis on gun-slinging white men now makes it politically incorrect. But he also wrote the sad and beautiful Comanches: The Destruction of a People (1974), which shows great admiration for Native Americans. This Kind of War originally appeared in 1963 with the subtitle of A Study in Unpreparedness and was republished in a new edition in 1994.

Autobiography & MemoirAnalysis and Commentary

Anabasis, by Xenophon

by Barry Strauss via Classics of Military History
Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Anabasis is a classic story of an army’s retreat from disaster, told by the man who was thrust into the role of saving it. Anabasis means “march inland from the coast,” which is a paradoxical title for a book that is mostly about a march to the coast from inland. But the author, Xenophon, an Athenian, had a taste for irony, borrowed from his teacher, the great philosopher Socrates.

Battle History

Decision at Trafalgar: The Story of the Greatest British Naval Battle of the Age of Nelson, by Dudley Pope

by Barry Strauss via Classics of Military History
Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Dudley Pope is best known as a novelist who wrote a well-loved series of books about a fictional Lord Nicholas Ramage, an officer in His Majesty’s Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. Pope was also a journalist, writing on naval defense, and he knew the sea. A survivor of a torpedoed merchant ship in World War II, he later lived for over 20 years on a yacht in the Caribbean.

Autobiography & Memoir

The Sergeant in the Snow, by Mario Rigoni Stern

by Barry Strauss via Classics of Military History
Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Rigoni Stern began writing this short, powerful memoir of the Russian front in a German prison camp, where he was interned after refusing to continue serving in Mussolini’s army after the armistice with the allies in September 1943. Earlier he served in an elite Italian mountain fighting unit that saw action on various fronts in World War II: France, Albania, Yugoslavia and, most memorably, Russia. 

Related Commentary

Iran Without Nuclear Weapons: We Can Only Hope

by Barry Strauss via Strategika
Friday, May 27, 2016

History suggests three ways to prevent a state that has the capacity of going nuclear from exercising that option. The first is a security guarantee in exchange for denuclearization. The former Soviet republic of Ukraine took this route in 1994, when it gave up its extensive nuclear stockpile and jointed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty upon a promise of respect for its territorial integrity from the United States, Britain, and Russia. 

Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

North Korean Missiles And Greek Spears

by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Friday, April 29, 2016

North Korea has launched three intermediate range ballistic missiles in the last two weeks. Each one was a failure and ended in an explosion or crash. The UN Security Council has banned such tests and issued a warning about increasing sanctions if such misbehavior continues. Indeed, there might be worse trouble in store. Many expect North Korea to conduct another nuclear test, its fifth. On May 6 the country is holding the first congress of its ruling Workers’ Party in 36 years.

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Kaliningrad

by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Monday, April 25, 2016

Russia’s recent buzzing of NATO ships and planes in the Baltic points to something bigger. In the past several years Russia has engaged in a major naval and military buildup in the Baltic region. The epicenter is the city of Kaliningrad, Russia’s forward operating base, located on the south shore of the Baltic between Lithuania and Poland—about 600 miles southwest of St. Petersburg, Russia. The Kaliningrad area houses the Russian Baltic fleet and two air bases. It boasts Russia’s only year-round ice-free port on the Baltic Sea.

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Uneasy Allies: America, Turkey, And The Kurds

by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Friday, April 22, 2016

A small news item about Turkish-American relations and the latest stage of the Syrian civil war recalls the wisdom of Lord Palmerston, a mid-19th-century British prime minister. He said that England had no eternal allies or perpetual enemies but only eternal and perpetual interests. The same could be said of Turkey, the U.S. or any state.

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