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Award-winning 'Strategy' an 'intellectual tour de force'

Posted on 27/11/2014

Strategy: A History, Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman’s magnum opus on the role of strategy throughout world civilization, was this week awarded the 2014 W.J.M. Mackenzie Book Prize at the Political Studies Association’s annual awards in London. Professor Freedman, Vice-Principal (Strategy & Development) at King’s, is one of the world's leading authorities on war and international politics. 

The awards dinner, compered by journalist Jon Snow at Church House in Westminster, recognised the most valued contributions to politics in 2014 of politicians, academics and journalists.

The judging panel, made up of top political academics alongside Peter Kellner of YouGov, BBC’s Justin Webb and Jackie Ashley of The Guardian, said (of Professor Freedman’s book):

‘The sheer breadth of scholarship that Freedman brings to bear is breathtaking. From the earliest hominids to biblical events and ancient Greeks, through the Renaissance, and on to the modern management techniques of governments, militaries and corporations, Strategy: A History weaves together fields as diverse as evolutionary biology, rational choice, counterinsurgency theory, game theory, corporate strategy, behavioural economics, and the New Left, to name a few. It analyses a huge array of historical events and social, political and economic phenomena – some obvious, others much less so – as strategy, breaking them down to their essential elements in order to understand why some succeed and others fail. And all with an engaging clarity and understated wit that drive the reader on. Strategy is an intellectual tour de force and the fitting culmination to a lifetime of thinking and teaching in this field.’

Other award-winners on the night included Home Secretary Theresa May, who was named ‘Politician of the Year.’ David Blunkett was honoured with the prestigious 'Lifetime Achievement in Politics' award as he enters his final few months as MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough. 

Sir Lawrence Freedman has been Professor of War Studies at King's College London since 1982, and Vice-Principal since 2003. He was appointed Official Historian of the Falklands Campaign in 1997, and is serving as a member of the Chilcot Inquiry into Britain and the 2003 Iraq War. He has written extensively on nuclear strategy and the Cold War, as well as commentating regularly on contemporary security issues.

Among his books are Kennedy’s Wars: Berlin, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam (2000), The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy (3rd edition 2004), Deterrence (2005), the two volume Official History of the Falklands Campaign (second edition 2007) and an Adelphi Paper on The Transformation in Strategic Affairs (2004). A Choice of Enemies: America confronts the Middle East, won the 2009 Lionel Gelber Prize and Duke of Westminster Medal for Military Literature. 

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