In This Review

In the Shadow of the Garrison State: America's Anti-Statism and Its Cold War Grand Strategy
In the Shadow of the Garrison State: America's Anti-Statism and Its Cold War Grand Strategy
By Aaron L. Friedberg
Princeton University Press, 2000, 351 pp.

After World War II, Washington invented a uniquely American national security state to wage the Cold War. In this brilliant and important book, Friedberg takes on the fundamental choices behind this move: the scale of government spending, the way government conscripted manpower, the character of industrial mobilization, the process of buying arms, and the spurs for technological innovation. In each area, the United States chose less government control and central guidance than its major enemies (and the precedents of past wars) would have suggested. By chosing "less" in each of these areas, the United States thereby achieved more. But unlike Michael Hogan's A Cross of Iron, Friedberg does not quite recapture the fierce debates that produced these choices. Nor does he describe how private industrial organizations sometimes reconceived national defense policy, as Donald Mackenzie does in his account of Draper Labs and nuclear missile guidance. Instead, Friedberg chooses breadth, sensing the common theme. The result is an excellent complement to traditional surveys of Cold War history and calls attention to America's special path of political development.