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Book Reviews

Book Review: Living Weapons: Biological Warfare and International Security by Gregory Koblentz

Published by Cornell UP (Paperback 2011)
Reviewed by Matthew Sprinkel
Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 7:44 PM

Biological weapons are often referred to as “the poor man’s atomic bomb.” We all know what that means – a weapon of mass destruction because of its potentially uncontrollable effects but, unlike nuclear weapons, relatively cheap to create and deploy, at least by reference to the cost and technical sophistication required to build and deliver . . .
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Book Review: @War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex by Shane Harris

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2014)
Reviewed by Alan Rozenshtein
Friday, May 15, 2015 at 7:00 PM

Books reviewed in this essay: @War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex, by Shane Harris (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2014) Cyber Operations and the Use of Force in International Law, by Marco Roscini (Oxford UP 2014) North Korea hacks Sony. Criminals repeatedly steal millions of credit-card and social-security numbers from major retailers. And government officials regularly . . .
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Book Review: Deadly Metal Rain: The Legality of Flechette Weapons in International Law by Eitan Barak

Published by Martinus Nijhoff Publishers (2011)
Reviewed by His Serenity, The Book Review Editor
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 11:22 PM

Flechettes are an antipersonnel weapon consisting of many small, solid metal projectiles with fins — hence the name “flechettes.” The fins give the metal projectiles greater stability in flight and more penetrative impact than would be true of other shrapnel fragments or round metal balls, once packed into an explosive canister and launched from an . . .
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Book Review: International Law in the U.S. Legal System, 2nd Edition by Curtis A. Bradley

Published by Oxford UP (Paperback 2015)
Reviewed by Kenneth Anderson
Monday, May 4, 2015 at 1:40 PM

Curtis A. Bradley (Duke University Law School professor, leading scholar of US foreign relations law and, not least, Friend of Lawfare) is most recently author of  International Law in the U.S. Legal System, 2nd Edition,  which has just been released in paperback.  The intersection of international law and US law and legal processes, says Bradley, . . .
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Book Review: Documents on the Law of UN Peace Operations by Bruce Oswald, Helen Durham, and Adrian Bates

Published by Oxford UP (2010)
Reviewed by His Serenity, the Book Reviews Editor
Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at 10:00 PM

As United Nations peace operations have increased in number and ambition since 1990, international law governing them has grown increasingly important.  This includes particularly law and practice of the United Nations.  The legal relationships and terms governing the deployment of forces under a United Nations Security Council mandate are complex as to many issues; these . . .
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Book Review: War Reparations and the UN Compensation Commission: Designing Compensation After Conflict by Timothy J. Feighery, Christopher S. Gibson, and Trevor M. Rajah, eds.

Published by Oxford UP (2015)
Reviewed by His Serenity, The Book Review Editor
Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 8:00 AM

The United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) was established by the UN Security Council in May 1991 in the wake of the First Gulf War with “created with two main mandates: to receive and decide claims from individuals, corporations, and governments against Iraq arising directly from Iraq’s invasion and occupation of Kuwait; and to pay compensation . . .
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Book Review: The CIA in Hollywood: How the Agency Shapes Film and Television by Tricia Jenkins

Published by University of Texas Press (2013)
Reviewed by Julius Taranto
Friday, April 17, 2015 at 11:00 AM

Though everyone would surely prefer otherwise, public relations crises are part of the CIA’s ordinary business. The fact that so much of its work is classified puts the Agency in one of those tricky, plumber-like governmental roles: when it does its job right, no one should notice. But when it screws up, there’s a mess, . . .
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Book Review: Judicial Review of National Security by David Scharia

Published by Oxford UP (2015)
Reviewed by His Serenity, The Book Review Editor
Thursday, April 16, 2015 at 8:05 AM

David Scharia is an Israeli national security lawyer with experience prosecuting Israeli terrorism cases before the Israeli courts, including service on the Attorney General of Israel’s legal staff.  He has been a scholar-in-residence in national security at Columbia University, and is currently with the UN Security Council’s Counterterrorism Committee Executive Directorate. Judicial Review of National . . .
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Book Review: The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics by Andrew Small

Published by Oxford University Press (2015)
Reviewed by Bruce Riedel
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 8:26 AM

In December 2006, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and the Pakistani Army conducted their first-ever joint counterterrorism exercises — practicing intelligence collection and sharing, special forces tactics, and other military operations to enable them to jointly fight terrorism five years after 9/11.  The Pakistanis hosted the exercise at their national military academy in Abbottabad, just . . .
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Book Review: World Order by Henry Kissinger

Published by Penguin Press (2014)
Reviewed by Ali Wyne
Friday, January 30, 2015 at 11:19 PM

In over six decades as a scholar, Henry Kissinger has trained his historical depth and panoramic worldview on an ambitious range of subjects.  His undergraduate honors thesis probes the thinking of Oswald Spengler, Arnold Toynbee, and Immanuel Kant in an attempt to divine “the meaning of history.”  His first book, A World Restored: Castlereagh and . . .
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Book Review: Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David by Lawrence Wright

Published by Knopf (2014)
Reviewed by Peter Baker
Monday, November 10, 2014 at 9:15 AM

On the morning of the 11th day, Cyrus Vance, the secretary of state, burst into President Jimmy Carter’s cabin. “Sadat is leaving,” he announced. Carter rushed to find Anwar al-Sadat, the Egyptian president, who indeed had packed to go. “Have you really thought about what this means?” Carter demanded. A walkout would mean the end of . . .
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Book Review: The Devils’ Alliance: Hitler’s Pact with Stalin, 1939-1941 by Roger Moorhouse

Published by Basic Books (2014)
Reviewed by Benjamin Bissell
Friday, November 7, 2014 at 10:45 AM

2014 will be remembered as a year in which Eastern Europe suffered one of its greatest crises since the collapse of the Soviet Union: the still-unfolding, still-destabilizing situation in eastern Ukraine. Some observers have noted how similarly Russia’s moves in the region track the USSR’s previous patterns of engagement with its “satellite states,” suggesting that . . .
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Book Review: Lone Wolf Terrorism: Understanding the Growing Threat by Jeffrey D. Simon

Published by Prometheus Books (2013)
Reviewed by Ashley Green
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 1:00 AM

Former Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta observed in his recent memoir that so-called “lone wolf terrorists”–terrorists who work without group assistance−are a growing threat to the internal security of the United States. It’s an observation that has been echoed by many officials and former officials. Some would respond that the threat of lone wolf . . .
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Book Review: Grounded: The Case for Abolishing the United States Air Force by Robert M. Farley

Published by The University Press of Kentucky (2014)
Reviewed by Charles Blanchard
Sunday, July 20, 2014 at 3:08 PM

I seem to have a knack for working for military services at a time when they are viewed as the redheaded stepchildren of the Department of Defense—ugly, dispensable ducklings.  When I left my position as General Counsel of the Army in early 2001, pundits were challenging the continued relevance of ground forces in the 21st . . .
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Book Review: Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War by Robert M. Gates

Published by Knopf (2014)
Reviewed by Charlie Dunlap
Friday, July 18, 2014 at 12:52 PM

With Iraq in a profound downward spiral (and many believing that Afghanistan could be next), the legacy of Robert M. Gates, who served so influentially as Secretary of Defense during the crucial years 2007-2011, deserves critical examination. The place to start is Gate’s recently published book, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War. Some readers . . .
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Book Review: No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald

Published by Metropolitan Books (2014)
Reviewed by Benjamin Wittes
Monday, May 26, 2014 at 6:01 PM

The most important passages of Glenn Greenwald’s new book, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, are those in which Greenwald states what he believes the larger significance of the Snowden disclosures to be—the passages where he gets out of the weeds of the material Snowden has given him and out . . .
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Book Review: The Murder of Guatemala’s Bishop Gerardi: Muerte en el vecindario de Dios by Julie Lopez

Published by F&G Editores (Guatemala City 2012)
Reviewed by David Stoll
Friday, May 23, 2014 at 2:37 PM

Gerardi: Muerte en el vecindario de Dios Julie López F&G Editores (Guatemala City 2012) The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed the Bishop? Francisco Goldman Grove Press (2007) Quien Mato Al Obispo?: Autopsia de un crimen político Maite Rico and Bertrand de la Grange Editorial Planeta Mexicana (Mexico City 2003) I A cautionary tale of . . .
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Book Review: Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific by Robert D. Kaplan

Published by Random House (2014)
Reviewed by Ali Wyne
Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at 11:30 PM

The relationship between the United States and China will arguably shape international order more than any other phenomenon. The US Department of Justice’s recent indictment of five members of China’s military for economic espionage has focused attention on the two countries’ disagreements over the norms of cyberspace. One could argue, though, that competition between the . . .
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Book Review: The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014 by Carlotta Gall

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2014)
Reviewed by Bruce Riedel
Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 7:00 PM

In early February 2009, Richard Holbrooke, the newly named Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, took me aside at the State Department to tell me he was getting panicky messages from Pakistan’s generals about President Obama’s decision to appoint me chairman of a special review of American policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan. Richard said the . . .
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Book Review: Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA by John Rizzo

Published by Scribner (2013)
Reviewed by Benjamin Wittes
Sunday, April 20, 2014 at 9:14 PM

In our conversation the other day for the Lawfare Podcast, longtime CIA lawyer John Rizzo jokingly—but only sort of jokingly—composed the first paragraph of his own obituary: “John Rizzo, who approved a controversial CIA program post-9/11 to interrogate suspects—a program that many observers [regarded] as torture—died today.” Are you comfortable with having your obituary open . . .
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