Imagining Future War
The West's Technological Revolution and Visions of Wars to Come, 1880-1914
by Antulio J. Echevarria II
April 2007, 152pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-275-98725-1
$75, £58, 66€, A103
eBook Available: 978-0-313-05110-4
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Focusing on an age of rapid technological change and increased competition among nations, Imagining Future Wars compares visions of warfare’s future as imagined by military professionals and educated civilians.

Rapid and momentous technological changes at the turn of the 20th century forced military professionals and educated civilians to envision the future of war and warfare, especially during an age where nations found themselves aggressively competing for dominance on the world stage. Antulio J. Echevarria II offers a comparative study of these predictions to assess who got it right and why. He concludes that professionals were particularly adept at predicting the warfare of the immediate future by framing their discussions in terms of solving tactical problems, but they were much less successful at thinking of the long-term. Unburdened by the necessity of strategic problem-solving, educated amateurs were allowed more flexibility to imagine the long-term future of warfare, and, at times, proved to be remarkably accurate.

Echevarria organizes his study by comparing visions of future wars on land, at sea, undersea, and in air. In each instance professionals and amateurs had their own distinctive imaginings. Among the notable speculators included in this book are science fiction author H.G. Wells and military theorist Ivan Bloch. This approach to the study of warfare is one of those rare examples of a book that can appeal to and inform a wide cross-section of readers.


"Antulio Echevarria's Imagining Future War offers a rare, exceptional and penetrating case study in analyzing predictions about the changing face of conflict. It is a book military professionals ought to read--a cautionary tale of the pitfalls and potential of writing, thinking and preparing for the war of the future....Imagining Future War delves into all of the salient factors that shaped 19th century imagination, with chapters that describe in a jargon-free, straight-forward manner the times and dominant intellectual movements of the age....Even those not steeped in the history of the period or deeply familiar with military affairs will profit from reading Imagining Future War."—ARMY Magazine, January 1, 2008

"Provides an excellent historial overview of the visions of possible technological change which challenged both military and educated civilians to envision the potentials of future war."—Midwest Book Review, December 1, 2007

"Examining the writings of professional military thinkers such as Ivan Bloch together with works by relative military amateurs such as H.G. Wells, Echevarria compares how pre-World War I thinkers imagined the future of warfare. After painting portraits of general speculative thinking at the time and the actual status of warfare in broad strokes, he compares writings about land, sea, and air warfare, finding that the amateurs generally were better at predicting long-term trends in warfare but were not as good as the professional military thinkers in predicting short-term tactical developments."—Reference & Research Book News, August 1, 2007
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
Accept All Cookies | Decline.