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

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Toronto and the Lessons of a Forgotten Battle

by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Thursday, April 27, 2017

Hard as it is to believe, a little over two hundred years ago today American forces sacked Toronto. The date was April 27, 1813. Yes, “Toronto the Good,” as the once straitlaced city was nicknamed, the city also known as “Hollywood North” because of all the movies and television shows (many American) filmed there, and a cherished annual tourist destination for almost three million Americans, was burnt and plundered by American arms. 

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China, North Korea, And 1950’s Shadow Of War

by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Monday, April 24, 2017

When the subject is North Korea, it is hard for a military historian not to think of Thanksgiving 1950. It was around that date that Chinese forces, having stealthily entered the country and already engaged in their first attacks, hit American troops and hit them hard. Two months earlier U.S., South Korean, and other allied forces crossed the 38th parallel dividing the two Koreas, defeated North Korean forces, and advanced toward the Chinese border on the Yalu River. It was part of America’s response to the North Korean invasion of South Korea in June 1950. America saved the south but incautiously tried to conquer the north without reckoning on Chinese intervention. It was a blunder of the first order.

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Echoes Of History In Syria

by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Monday, April 10, 2017

When U.S. President Donald Trump decided to intervene militarily in the Syrian civil war last week, he entered a region where it is nearly impossible to take a step without hearing the echoes of history. Civilization and war both go back a long way there.

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The Day That Never Was

by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Monday, April 3, 2017

Unlike December 7, 1941, April 6, 1917 is not a date that lives, either in infamy or fame. Few Americans even know that it marks the country’s entry into World War I. It was on that spring day that the U.S. House of Representatives voted, at President Woodrow Wilson’s request, to declare war on Germany. The U.S. Senate had voted two days earlier. It was an earthquake in history, with aftershocks still reverberating but largely to silence.

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. 

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