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They Shall Beat Their Swords into Plowshares: Military Strategy, Psychoanalysis and the Art of Living. By Paul Marcus
ISBN 978-1-62600-042-1. Paperback. 275 pages | $27.00 | Bibliography | Index

The “good life,” characterized by deep and wide love and creative and productive work, has been the quest of philosophers, psychologists, and all “deep thinkers” from time immemorial. The premise of this book is that there is an intimate, dynamic, and animating analogy between the art and science of war, as practiced by the great classical military strategists and generals, and the art and science of living the “good life.” Indeed, the masterful strategic, operational, and tactical formulations developed by the two greatest philosophers of war, the Chinese sage and military thinker, Sun Tzu, and the Prussian military officer Carl von Clausewitz, each maintain a direct relevance and application to the art of living the “good life.”

By mining some of their key insights and drawing from the writings of the great strategists and generals from history, including Thucydides, Machiavelli and Napoleon, this book illuminates some of the underappreciated wisdom that is pertinent to the average person’s struggle to live the “good life.” It also incorporates useful insights from more recent “master” military strategists like Alfred Thayer Mahan, Julian Corbett, and Mao Tse-Tung, and contemporary soldier-scholars who have written on the nature of war, counter-insurgency, and terrorism. Military strategic theory, especially when combined with a psychoanalytic sensibility, has much guidance to offer to leading the “good life,” such as becoming a better partner in a love relationship, being more efficient and effective at work, prevailing in the face of adversity, making good decisions when confronted with tough choices, as well as insights for those working with challenging psychotherapy patients.

“Who would have thought to apply military experience to the work of psychotherapy in a way that enriches one’s feel for life? [Marcus] does this and more, showing significant connections between the art of war and art of living. This is an exciting book, cutting across domains usually kept apart, a home to the interweaving of human capacities in ways that add to the good life. Wait till you see how he applies his strategies to work with delinquents!”
Michael Eigen, Ph.D., Psychoanalyst/Author, The Sensitive Self.

“A highly unusual work, combining strategic thought, psychoanalysis, and the art of leading the good life in a single tome. Readers will find plenty to think about.” Professor Martin van Creveld, Military Historian/Author, The Transformation of War.

About the Author

Paul Marcus, Ph.D., Psychologist/Psychoanalyst, is the Author/Editor of
fifteen books, among them, In Search of the Spiritual: Gabriel Marcel, Psychoanalysis and the Sacred, and How To Laugh Your Way Through Life: A Psychoanalyst’s Advice.


Marquette University Press

Founded in 1916, the Marquette University Press, located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, publishes scholarly works in philosophy, theology, history, and other selected humanities. Read more.