Brief Reviews

Library of Congress/Janet Lindenmuth (Background)

Quick takes on books received by the Book Review Editor: Summaries of books that are often reference texts or technical volumes, or simply books worth noting even without a full review.

Latest in Brief Reviews

Brief Reviews

A Dissertation on the Strategic Logic of Military Coups

In light of the coup attempt in Turkey (still apparently underway at this writing), I want to note a fairly recent book on coup d'etats from a political science perspective - Naunihal Singh's Seizing Power: The Strategic Logic of Military Coups (Johns Hopkins Press 2014). Singh is a professor at the Air War College in Alabama, and this volume appears to be a published version of his dissertation.

Endless War Watch, Summer 2016

This Sunday the New York Times Book Review prints my all-too-brief rundown of Mark Danner’s new Spiral: Trapped in the Forever War. Danner’s book is not a work of academic analysis or journalistic reportage but instead a synthetic account of America’s drift since 9/11 by someone who thinks the country has gone dreadfully wrong.

Brief Reviews

The History of Do-It-Yourself Weapons and Explosives Manuals in America

Ann Larabee's 2015 book, The Wrong Hands: Popular Weapons Manuals and Their Historic Challenges to a Democratic Society (Oxford UP 2015), is a history of what Larabee terms "popular weapons manuals" - though the book is more centrally the history of do-it-yourself explosives manuals - when "dissenters move beyond firearm possession into the realm of high explosives." The book documents the history and evolu

Power Wars

"Power Wars" in 100 Tweets

Like many Lawfare readers, I confess to being a little obsessed with Charlie Savage's new book, Power Wars. It is a remarkable account of how national security law is forged, step by step, through the decisions of unsung government officials at times of intense stress. Its subtitle is "Inside Obama's Post-9/11 Presidency," but it could just as easily bear the subtitle of this blog -- "Hard National Security Choices."

Brief Reviews

Conceptualizing Cyberwar

Last Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal (November 10, 2015) carried a front-page story titled “Ukraine: Cyberwar’s Hottest Front.” A few weeks earlier, the Journal had carried a related front-page article, “Cyberwar Ignites a New Arms Race” (October 11, 2015) – subtitled “Dozens of countries amass cyberweapons, reconfigure militaries to meet threat.” Militaries and policy-makers around the world have awoken to the fact that cyberwarfare is already a r

Brief Reviews

The International Criminal Court and Power Politics

The recent appearance on Lawfare of my American University colleague David Bosco (in the roundtable on US Navy operations in the South China Sea) prompts His Serenity to fix his lapse in failing to mark Bosco's outstanding 2014 book, Rough Justice: The International Criminal Court in a World of Power Politics (Oxford UP 201

Brief Reviews

Congressional Oversight of US Foreign Relations and National Security?

Executive power is on the rise, a familiar argument runs, and necessarily at the expense of Congressional authority. Linda L. Fowler, professor emerita in government at Dartmouth College, examines another direction of this claim with respect to US foreign policy and national security - what she describes as the decline of Congressional oversight over foreign relations. The tilt in the balance of power toward the president, that is, is not simply the executive's enlargement of its sphere, but Congress's affirmative withdrawal in key matters of foreign policy oversight.

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