London: N. Trübner & Co., 1873. 1st Edition in English. Quarto, publisher's blue cloth, spine ruled in black and gilt with original gilt label, boards ruled in black, black endpapers. Printed in double-column. Housed in a custom half-morocco clamshell box.
First edition in English of Clausewitz's landmark treatise, "a general enquiry into the interdependence of politics and warfare and the principles governing...both" (PMM). Clausewitz, a professional soldier who first saw combat at the age of 13, was shocked by Prussian losses during the Napoleonic Wars. Subsequent disillusionment led him briefly to give up his commission and fight with Russia against Napoleon, during which time he was hailed as a war hero. He rejoined the Prussian service and quickly ascended the ranks, ultimately becoming director of the War College in Berlin. A keen student of the political and military strategies of Napoleon and Frederick the Great, as well as the philosophy of Kant, Clausewitz brought his analytic skills and professional experience to bear in his investigation into the nature and purpose of war: "[W]ar is not merely a political act, but also a real political instrument, a continuation of political commerce, a carrying out of the same by other means." Vom Kriege was left incomplete upon Clausewitz's death in 1831, and first brought out as part of his collected writings, edited by his widow, in 1832. This first edition in English (based on the third German edition) was translated by James John Graham, a lieutenant-colonel in the British Army who served in the Crimean War and authored his own works of military history and theory. Bassford, Clausewitz in English. One of fewer than 700 copies printed. With half-title, preface by Marie von Clausewitz, a "Brief Memoir of General Clausewitz" by the translator, errata leaf, appendices, and index. Lacking frontispiece portrait of Clausewitz. Pencil notation to title-page. Some light edgewear; inner hinges split, but textblock sound. An extremely good copy of an influential work of political and military science. Rare. Item #479