Winning Westeros


Winning Westeros

How Game of Thrones Explains Modern Military Conflict

Edited by Max Brooks, John Amble, ML Cavanaugh, and Jaym Gates
Foreword by James Stavridis

296 pages


November 2021


$21.95 Add to Cart

September 2019


$29.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

September 2019


$21.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

September 2019


$21.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Set in the fictitious world of Westeros, the hit television series Game of Thrones chronicles the bitter and violent struggle between the realm’s noble dynasties for control of the Seven Kingdoms. But this beloved fantasy drama has just as much to say about the successful strategies and real-life warfare waged in our own time and place. Winning Westeros brings together more than thirty of today’s top military and strategic experts, including generals and admirals, policy advisors, counterinsurgency tacticians, science fiction and fantasy writers, and ground-level military officers, to explain the strategy and art of war by way of the Game of Thrones saga. Each chapter provides a relatable, outside‑the‑box way to simplify and clarify the complexities of modern military conflict. A book as captivating and enthralling as Game of Thrones itself, Winning Westeros gives fans of the show and aspiring military minds alike an inspiring and entertaining means of understanding the many facets of modern warfare.


Author Bio

Max Brooks is a writer, public speaker, and senior fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point, and nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He is the author of World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War and The Harlem Hellfighters, among other works. Brooks, and the other coeditors of this book, edited Strategy Strikes Back: How Star Wars Explains Modern Military Conflict (Potomac Books, 2018). John Amble is the editorial director at the Modern War Institute and a military intelligence officer in the U.S. Army Reserve. ML Cavanaugh is a senior fellow at the Modern War Institute and a U.S. Army strategist with global experience. Jaym Gates is an acquiring editor for Nisaba Press and Falstaff Books, as well as a freelance editor and author.


Winning Westeros makes understanding military history and strategy accessible and fun. These incisive and creative essays help readers think clearly about diplomacy, conflict, warfare, and the range of complex competitions that influence our security and prosperity today.”—Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, U.S. Army (Ret.), former national security advisor and author of Dereliction of Duty

“Fans of Game of Thrones interested in the insights of modern strategic thinkers will enjoy this book. . . . Illuminating readers’ blind spots is where fiction can truly help strategic thinkers get outside the box, and this is where Winning Westeros has the biggest impact.”—Jessica Dawson, Res Militaris

Table of Contents

James Stavridis
Part 1. People and War
1. Mycah’s Parents Didn’t Get a Vote
Max Brooks
2. A House to Be Feared
Jonathan P. Klug
3. Fear or Love: Insights from Machiavelli for Those Who Seek the Iron Throne
Liam Collins
4. The Source of Tyrion Lannister’s Unlikely Survival and Success
Joe Byerly
5. The Mother of Dragons: Defiant Leadership for Uncertain Times
Rick Montcalm
6. Lessons for Command from Khaleesi’s Rise
Erica Iverson
7. From Brienne of Tarth to Lyanna Mormont: Shifting Attitudes about Women in Combat
Kelsey Cipolla
8. You Know Something, Jon Snow, about the Qualities of a Strategic Leader
P. W. Singer and ML Cavanaugh
Part 2. Technology and War
9. The Lessons of Viserion and Technological Advantage
Jonathan E. Czarnecki
10. Game of Pwns: Baelish and Varys as Drivers of Modern Conflict
Nina A. Kollars
11. WMD in Westeros and Beyond
Magnus F. Nordenman
12. The Influence of Sea Power on Westeros
Michael Junge
13. Winning the Waves: Sea Power and the Seven Kingdoms
Bryan McGrath
14. What the Walls of Westeros Teach Us about War and Warfare
John Spencer
Part 3. Combat and War
15. Siege Warfare in the Seven Kingdoms
Lionel Beehner, Benedetta Berti, and Mike Jackson
16. Dragons, Dothraki, and Achieving Victory in Battle
Mick Cook
17. The Wildlings at the Wall: When Climate Drives Conflict
J. Daniel Batt
18. Shock and Chaos: Psychological Weapons of War in Westeros and Our World
Gregory S. Drobny
19. How to Fight the Lannister Armies
Joshua D. Powers and Jonathan Bott
20. Becoming No One: Human Intelligence in the Seven Kingdoms
Andrea N. Goldstein
21. The Battle of the Bastards and the Importance of the Reserve
Jess Ward
Part 4. Strategy and War
22. The Myth of the Accidental Strategist
Steve Leonard
23. Why the Westerosi Can’t Win Wars
Chuck Bies
24. Strategic Storytelling in Game of Thrones
Jaym Gates
25. Resources, War, and the Night King’s Deadly Arithmetic
Andrew A. Hill
26. The Red Wedding and the Power of Norms
Theresa Hitchens
27. Daenerys Targaryen’s Coalitions for War
Mick Ryan
28. Arya Stark’s Targeted Killing and Strategic Decision-Making
Craig Whiteside
29. Ned Stark, Hero of the Seven Kingdoms, and Why the Good Guys Win (in the End)
ML Cavanaugh
30. White Walkers and the Nature of War
Paul Scharre
Epilogue: Down from the Citadel, Off the Wall
ML Cavanaugh

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