Lawrence D. Freedman

Review Essay
SEPT/OCT
2014
Paul Kennedy

Lawrence Freedman’s massive, ambitious new book, Strategy, offers a personal take on an important term, one so overused that it has become almost meaningless.

Capsule Review
SEPT/OCT
2014
Lawrence D. Freedman

The stability of the atomic age has bred complacency and reduced policymakers’ fluency with the nuances and practicalities of nuclear strategy. It is therefore important for fresh eyes to look at the dilemmas created by nuclear weapons.

Capsule Review
SEPT/OCT
2014
Lawrence D. Freedman

Wars evoke powerful emotions: grief and pride, humiliation and honor, outrage and exultation. As this volume reveals, such feelings form essential parts of national mythologies, especially in the case of World War II. 

Capsule Review
SEPT/OCT
2014
Lawrence D. Freedman

For a country, such as the United States, that believes in decisive conclusions to military operations, allowing Osama bin Laden to escape from his redoubt in the Tora Bora region of Afghanistan in December 2001 was an extraordinary lapse. Barzilai blames a combination of political inattention and sloppy tactics.

Capsule Review
SEPT/OCT
2014
Lawrence D. Freedman

Sander has produced something better than a battlefield memoir: an accomplished history of Operation Lam Son 719 -- a little-known battle of the Vietnam War -- that explains why it failed.

Capsule Review
May/June
2014
Lawrence D. Freedman

Coker sees war not as a vicious, dysfunctional throwback to more primitive, pre-rational times but as an essential feature of human societies.

Capsule Review
May/June
2014
Lawrence D. Freedman

Without ever denying MacArthur’s flaws and mistakes, Perry revives the general’s reputation by carefully and positively appraising his role in some of the war’s key moments.

Capsule Review
May/June
2014
Lawrence D. Freedman

Matthews, a professor of engineering psychology at West Point, believes that a better grasp of how humans understand and adapt to their environments would improve the selection and preparation of fighters in armed forces.

Capsule Review
May/June
2014
Lawrence D. Freedman

Coffey, a historian of science, traces the origins of some of the most important weapons of the past century.

Capsule Review
May/June
2014
Lawrence D. Freedman

Epstein's book will set the standard for further research on the military-industrial complex.

Capsule Review
Mar/Apr
2014
Lawrence D. Freedman

In his thorough exploration of why and how foreign fighters get involved in wars far away from their homes, Malet focuses on the importance of transnational identity.

Capsule Review
Mar/Apr
2014
Lawrence D. Freedman

This curious book addresses what Scarry describes as the incompatibility of nuclear weapons and democracy.

Capsule Review
Mar/Apr
2014
Lawrence D. Freedman

Ginsberg’s book is a direct challenge to the optimism of the celebrated cognitive neuroscientist Steven Pinker, whose 2011 book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, argued that violence is playing a diminishing role in human affairs.

Capsule Review
Mar/Apr
2014
Lawrence D. Freedman

Martin van Creveld's latest book provides a history of war games, which he defines very broadly to include almost any activity that links play and conflict.

Capsule Review
Mar/Apr
2014
Lawrence D. Freedman

In addition to providing new insights into the debate over missile defense, Slayton raises valuable questions about the broader interaction between scientific expertise and advocacy.

Capsule Review
Lawrence D. Freedman

Castner commanded an explosive ordnance disposal unit in Iraq. His style is gripping, and the book is surprisingly informative about the history and practice of bomb disposal, but it is also chaotic, as he moves back and forth between his wartime experiences and his later struggles to cope with PTSD, which he refers to as his “Crazy.”

Capsule Review
Jan/Feb
2014
Lawrence D. Freedman

In this thoughtful meditation on technology and ethics, Riza, a fighter pilot and colonel in the U.S. Air Force, worries that robotics make it easier to go to war.

Capsule Review
Jan/Feb
2014
Lawrence D. Freedman

Kilcullen argues that most future conflicts will occur in cities, thanks to the extraordinary growth in urban populations and the interconnectedness wrought by new technologies, which will create novel opportunities for crime and political violence.

Capsule Review
Jan/Feb
2014
Lawrence D. Freedman

In this terrific book, Farmelo tells the story of the United Kingdom’s nuclear program, which began with pioneering work in Cambridge before World War II and ultimately merged with the United States’ Manhattan Project.

Capsule Review
Jan/Feb
2014
Lawrence D. Freedman

Terrorist organizations are no different from other political entities, except that their resources tend to be as meager as their ambitions are huge

Capsule Review
Nov/Dec
2013
Lawrence D. Freedman

Although U.S. forces are now out of Iraq and are quickly withdrawing from Afghanistan, debate still rages over counterinsurgency (COIN) and the concept of “winning hearts and minds.” These three books look at the different sides of the COIN.

Capsule Review
Sept/Oct
2013
Lawrence D. Freedman

These three books illuminate different aspects of World War II using diaries, letters, and memoirs to capture what the war meant for people caught up in it.