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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Failed Wartime Leaders Have A Short Shelf Life In Democracies

by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Monday, March 26, 2018

“I have often before now been convinced that democracy is incapable of empire.” So one ancient Athenian politician complained when his countrymen rejected his advice during the Peloponnesian War. “Democracy is acknowledged folly,” said another Athenian politician, after his career took a nosedive. Sour grapes, sure, but not unusual. Today democracy still has plenty of critics.

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Chemical Weapons In The Shadow Of Magna Carta

by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Located in rural southwest England, Salisbury has long been famous for its medieval cathedral and its proximity to Stonehenge. It even houses a rare copy of that precious document of western constitutional government, Magna Carta.

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Crossing the Rubicon at the 39th Parallel?

by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A historian of ancient Rome is skeptical of the comparisons between Julius Caesar and Donald Trump. After all, slamming a leader we don’t like as “a new Caesar” is one of America’s oldest traditions. It stretches from George III to Lincoln to Obama and now Trump.

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Syria: A Long, Long History Of War

by Barry Strauss via Military History in the News
Monday, March 5, 2018

The war in Syria just seems to go on and on, with civilians in the line of fire as often as not. Currently an estimated 400,000 civilians are trapped in Eastern Ghouta, a Damascus suburb and rebel enclave, currently under bombardment by government forces. Fighting since February 18 has killed over 600 people, including many children.

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From Sparta to Saddam

by Barry Strauss via Hoover Digest
Friday, January 26, 2018

Nations that abandon diplomacy enter a realm of violence and confusion.

Related Commentary

North Korea: Diplomacy or Military Solution?

by Barry Strauss via Strategika
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

North Korea is not going to give up its nuclear weapons short of war. Diplomacy, however, can improve the terms of an eventual deal. A nuclear-armed North Korea is a frightening thought, but we are probably past the point where a military solution is bearable.

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Preemptive Strikes and Preventive Wars: A Historian’s Perspective

by Barry Strauss via Strategika
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Preventive wars and preemptive strikes are both risky business. A preventive war is a military, diplomatic, and strategic endeavor, aimed at an enemy whom one expects to grow so strong that delay would cause defeat. A preemptive strike is a military operation or series of operations to preempt an enemy’s ability to attack you. In both cases, a government judges a diplomatic solution impossible.

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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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