New Books In National Security



Interviews with Scholars of National Security about their New Books


  • How to Stage a Coup and Ten Other Lessons from the World of Secret Statecraft

    14/02/2024 Duração: 31min

    Why do states engage in secret statecraft and covert action? How different are these secret and covert state activities in real world settings compared to their popular culture representations? And what effect do they have on democracy both globally and in individual states? Join Rory Cormac as he talks to Petra Alderman about his book How to Stage a Coup and Ten Other Lessons from the World of Secret Statecraft (Atlantic Books UK, 2023). Rory Cormac is a Professor of International Relations at the University of Nottingham. He specialises in secret intelligence and covert action. His most recent book, How to Stage A Coup and Ten Other Lessons from the World of Secret Statecraft, was described in the CIA's in-house journal as “a valuable and thought-provoking work, the most thorough treatment of the topic to date.” Petra Alderman is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Leadership for Inclusive and Democratic Politics at the University of Birmingham and Research Fellow at CEDAR. The People, Power, Politics podcas

  • Timothy A. Sayle, "Enduring Alliance: A History of NATO and the Postwar Global Order" (Cornell UP, 2019)

    11/02/2024 Duração: 53min

    The North Atlantic Treaty Organization regularly appears in newspapers and political science scholarship. Surprisingly, historians have yet to devote the attention that the organization’s history merits. Timothy A. Sayle, an Assistant Professor of history at the University of Toronto, attempts to correct this. His fascinating new book, Enduring Alliance: A History of NATO and the Postwar Global Order (Cornell University Press, 2019), examines the history of NATO from its founding in the late 1940s through to its expansion in the post-Cold War era. Sayle shows how NATO wasn’t just any organization; it was, he writes, “an instrument of great-power politics and the basis for a Pax Atlantica.” Taking his readers deep into the decision-making of NATO and its member states from the 1940s to the 1990s, Sayle provides a new, innovative international history of the second half of the twentieth century. Enduring Alliance should interest historians and scholars from across subfields—military history, U.S. foreign policy

  • Wendy Cheng, "Island X: Taiwanese Student Migrants, Campus Spies, and Cold War Activism" (U Washington Press, 2023)

    08/02/2024 Duração: 54min

    This episode, which is co-hosted with Tandee Wang, features a conversation with Dr. Wendy Cheng, author of Island X: Taiwanese Student Migrants, Campus Spies, and Cold War Activism. Published in November 2023 by the University of Washington Press, Island X delves into the compelling political lives of Taiwanese migrants who came to the United States as students from the 1960s through the 1980s. Often depicted as compliant model minorities, Island X reveals that many Taiwanese students were deeply political, shaped by Taiwan's colonial history, and influenced by the global social movements of their times. As activists, they fought to make Taiwanese people visible as subjects of injustice and deserving of self-determination. Under the distorting shadows of Cold War geopolitics, the Kuomintang regime and collaborators across US campuses attempted to control Taiwanese in the diaspora through extralegal surveillance and violence, including harassment, blacklisting, imprisonment, and even murder. Drawing on intervi

  • John Horgan, "Terrorist Minds: The Psychology of Violent Extremism from Al-Qaeda to the Far Right" ( Columbia UP, 2023)

    08/02/2024 Duração: 36min

    What makes a person want to become a terrorist? Who becomes involved in terrorism, and why? In what ways does participating in violent extremism change someone? And how can people become deradicalized? John Horgan―one of the world’s leading experts on the psychology of terrorism―takes readers on a globe-spanning journey into the terrorist mindset. Drawing on groundbreaking personal interviews as well as decades of research from psychologists and others, he traces the pathways that lead people into violent extremism and explores what happens to them as their involvement deepens. Horgan provides an up-to-date, evidence-based understanding of the patterns, motives, and mentalities of violent extremists from the Islamic State and al-Shabaab to white supremacists and incels. He argues that there is not a straightforward psychological profile of a terrorist, in part because of the great variety of today’s extremists, who are able to attract a more diverse pool of recruits than ever before. But even though there is

  • Florence Mok, "Covert Colonialism: Governance, Surveillance and Political Culture in British Hong Kong, c.1966-97" (Manchester UP, 2023)

    08/02/2024 Duração: 01h03min

    Florence Mok's book Covert Colonialism: Governance, Surveillance and Political Culture in British Hong Kong, c.1966-97 (Manchester UP, 2023) is timely and exciting for those who are interested in colonial governance and autonomy of the colonial polity. This is a long-ignored area in which colonial historians have made major interventions. Moving away from the existing focus on theories by political scientists and sociologists, this book uses under-exploited archival and unofficial data in London and Hong Kong to construct an empirical study of colonial governance and political culture in Hong Kong during a critical period. From 1966 to 1997, while in mainland China, the Cultural Revolution broke out and caused chaos, in other British colonies beginning or having completed decolonisation, in Hong Kong, the Star Ferry riots in 1966 gave rise to the setup of Town Talk, later MOOD, and then Talking Points, which were used to monitor and construct public opinions and feedback to policy making by the colonial gover

  • Beatrice Heuser, "War: A Genealogy of Western Ideas and Practices" (Oxford UP, 2022)

    03/02/2024 Duração: 01h04min

    War is often thought of mainly the concern of professional soldiers and maybe politicians as well. However, philosophers and theorists of varying types have addressed the issue of war in its many aspects. This is because war has numerous political, ethical, philosophical, and even legal elements. When is the right time to go to war? What is a legitimate reason to go to war? Who has the proper authority to declare war? Who should serve and fight in war? These and other questions have been debated since the times of Antiquity to the present day. Greek philosophy, Roman law, and the Jewish and Christian religious traditions have formed the foundations for the majority of Western thinking concerning the nature of war. In her book War: A Genealogy of Western Ideas and Practices (Oxford University Press, 2022), Beatrice Hesuer traces the nearly 2,500 year history of how these ideas have shaped Western conceptions of war. Beatrice Heuser holds the Chair in International Relations at Glasgow University. From 1991-200

  • J. Overton, "Seapower by Other Means: Naval Contributions to National Objectives Beyond Sea Control, Power Projection, and Traditional Service Missions" (Nomos, 2023)

    31/01/2024 Duração: 46min

    Naval forces exist to control the seas and project power, often through the use of violence. This does not, however, include everything they have done or can do. Navies have always spent much of their time and resources engaged in operations that fall outside the traditional definitions of sea power. These activities have at times contributed far more to their respective nations' security and prosperity than kinetic actions but receive far less attention than their benefits merit.  In J. Overton's edited volume Seapower by Other Means: Naval Contributions to National Objectives Beyond Sea Control, Power Projection, and Traditional Service Missions (Nomos, 2023), an international collection of historians and strategists share new, or re-learned, perspectives to serve as inspiration for further study and to broaden the discussion on what naval forces can do and be. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast

  • Curtis Fox, "Hybrid Warfare: The Russian Approach to Strategic Competition and Conventional Military Conflict" (30 Press Publishing, 2023)

    30/01/2024 Duração: 01h31min

    The on-going war in Ukraine continues to highlight the distinct differences between how Russia operates large-scale military operations from the usual manner NATO military forces often engage themselves. What accounts for the Russian way of war? A common term used to describe Russian military strategy in the 21st century is "hybrid warfare" that seeks to subvert an enemy force in manners other than direct confrontation. Curtis L. Fox argues in his book Hybrid Warfare: The Russian Approach to Strategic Competition & Conventional Military Conflict (30 Press Publishing, 2023) that this approach to warfare is rooted in Russian history and explains much of Russia's conduct in the war in Ukraine thus far. Curtis L. Fox is a former Green Beret and served as a demolitions and combat engineering expert on a Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha, as well as other operational duties and missions. He separated from the Army in 2016 to attend the MBA program at Georgetown before re-entering public service in the Dep

  • Calder Walton, "Spies: The Epic Intelligence War Between East and West" (Simon & Schuster, 2024)

    28/01/2024 Duração: 44min

    Spies: The Epic Intelligence War Between East and West (Simon & Schuster, 2024) is the history of the secret war that Russia and the West have been waging for a century. Espionage, sabotage, and subversion were the Kremlin's means to equalize the imbalance of resources between the East and West before, during, and after the Cold War. There was nothing "unprecedented" about Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. It was simply business as usual, new means used for old ends. The Cold War started long before 1945. But the West fought back after World War II, mounting its own shadow war, using disinformation, vast intelligence networks, and new technologies against the Soviet Union. Spies is a "deeply researched and artfully crafted" (Fiona Hill, deputy assistant to the US President) story of the best and worst of mankind: bravery and honor, treachery and betrayal. The narrative shifts across continents and decades, from the freezing streets of St. Petersburg in 1917 to the bloody beaches of Norman

  • Paddy Walker and Peter Roberts, "War's Changed Landscape?: A Primer on Conflict's Forms and Norms" (Howgate, 2023)

    27/01/2024 Duração: 01h30min

    Throughout much of the 21st century thus far, the common argument among military pundits was that war has or will soon be radically changed in manners that exist beyond imagination. The main catalyst for such extraordinary changes would be new advancements in technology and weaponry. With the on-going war in Ukraine, one fundamental surprise that has stunned many military analysts is that in spite of major technological advancements such as drones and open-source intelligence (OSINT) via social media, the main character of the conflict seems more akin to World War I (1914-1918) style trench warfare. What can explain this perplexing paradox? Peter Roberts and Paddy Walker explain in their co-authored book War's Changed Landscape?: A Primer on Conflict's Forms and Norms (Howgate Publishing Limited, 2023) that all change in war is often outweighed by continuity in military history. Even when change does occur, it is often a slow evolution of norms rather than a sudden rupture. The role of technology in such is o

  • Matthew Levitt, "Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad" (Yale UP, 2008)

    14/01/2024 Duração: 36min

    The world is reeling from the savage terror attack that brutalized, raped, murdered and kidnapped Israelis and civilians from at least 25 other countries, continuing to hold many of them hostage – and from the ongoing war that followed. After Hamas took over Gaza in 2007, some thought it would become more moderate. That was wishful thinking. The barbaric massacre of October 7, 2023 made it clear that Hamas is a terrorist group intent on destroying Israel and hoping to spark a regional – and even wider-war. We talk with Matthew Levitt, a counterterrorism expert with extensive field experience in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, and author of Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad (Yale UP, 2008). This important book provides the most fully researched assessment of Hamas ever written. It draws aside the veil of legitimacy behind which Hamas hid, by presenting concrete, detailed evidence from an extensive array of international intelligence materials, including recently declassified CIA,

  • Jeffrey A. Friedman, "The Commander-in-Chief Test: Public Opinion and the Politics of Image-Making in US Foreign Policy" (Cornell UP, 2023)

    14/01/2024 Duração: 40min

    Americans frequently criticize US foreign policy for being overly costly and excessively militaristic. With its rising defense budgets and open-ended "forever wars," US foreign policy often appears disconnected from public opinion, reflecting the views of elites and special interests rather than the attitudes of ordinary citizens. The Commander-in-Chief Test: Public Opinion and the Politics of Image-Making in US Foreign Policy (Cornell UP, 2023) argues that this conventional wisdom underestimates the role public opinion plays in shaping foreign policy. Voters may prefer to elect leaders who share their policy views, but they prioritize selecting presidents who seem to have the right personal attributes to be an effective commander in chief. Leaders then use hawkish foreign policies as tools for showing that they are tough enough to defend America's interests on the international stage. This link between leaders' policy positions and their personal images steers US foreign policy in directions that are more ha

  • Sam Lebovic, "State of Silence: The Espionage Act and the Rise of America's Secrecy Regime" (Basic Book, 2023)

    12/01/2024 Duração: 58min

    In State of Silence: The Espionage Act and the Rise of America's Secrecy Regime (Basic Books, 2023), political historian Dr. Sam Lebovic uncovers the troubling history of the Espionage Act. First passed in 1917, it was initially used to punish critics of World War I. Yet as Americans began to baulk at the act’s restrictions on political dissidents and the press, the government turned its focus toward keeping its secrets under wraps. The resulting system for classifying information is absurdly cautious, staggeringly costly, and shrouded in secrecy, preventing ordinary Americans from learning what their country is doing in their name, both at home and abroad. Shedding new light on the bloated governmental security apparatus that’s weighing our democracy down, State of Silence offers the definitive history of America’s turn toward secrecy—and its staggering human costs.  This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty

  • Paul F. Diehl et al., "When Peacekeeping Missions Collide: Balancing Multiple Roles in Peace Operations" (Oxford UP, 2023)

    08/01/2024 Duração: 01h10min

    The contemporary world is beset with a wide variety of conflicts, all of which have features without historical precedent. While most accounts of peacekeeping focus on attempts to limit violent conflict, this traditional view hardly captures the variety of challenges that today's peacekeepers face. Peacekeepers are now thrust into the unconventional roles of monitoring elections, facilitating transitions to the rule of law, distributing humanitarian aid, and resolving conflicts in civil societies that are undergoing transformation. This is the context for understanding the activities of modern-day peacekeepers. In When Peacekeeping Missions Collide: Balancing Multiple Roles in Peace Operations (Oxford University Press, 2023), Dr. Paul F. Diehl, Dr. Daniel Druckman, and Dr. Grace B. Mueller provide an original and comprehensive assessment on how different peacekeeping missions intersect with one another in contemporary conflicts. They begin by documenting the patterns of peacekeeping missions in 70 UN operatio

  • Gary Shiffman, "The Economics of Violence: How Behavioral Science Can Transform our View of Crime, Insurgency, and Terrorism" (Cambridge UP, 2019)

    03/01/2024 Duração: 56min

    Dr. Gary Shiffman’s book The Economics of Violence: How Behavioral Science Can Transform our View of Crime, Insurgency, and Terrorism (Cambridge UP, 2020) serves as a fantastic introduction to anyone interested in thinking critically about terrorist, insurgency, and criminal groups of all sorts. Using case studies from multiple continents, ideological contexts, and political situations, Dr. Shiffman shows how the language and tools familiar to economists can assist policy makers and security personnel to combat rival ‘firms,’ as he classifies them. Arguing strongly against essentialist labels and stories about why these groups act the way that they do, Dr. Shiffman offers us an approach to understanding ‘illicit’ groups that would be recognizable to leaders of many ‘legitimate’ organizations. Dr. Gary Shiffman is a Professor at Georgetown University, the CEO of two software companies, a former Naval Officer and Border Patrol leader, a former Fortune 200 executive, and an engaging writer. His is the author of

  • Jeffrey Whyte, "The Birth of Psychological War: Propaganda, Espionage, and Military Violence from WWII to the Vietnam War" (Oxford UP, 2023)

    27/12/2023 Duração: 01h23min

    Jeffrey Whyte's book The Birth of Psychological War: Propaganda, Espionage, and Military Violence from WWII to the Vietnam War (Oxford UP, 2023) explores the history, politics, and geography of United States psychological warfare in the 20th century against the backdrop of the contemporary 'post-truth era'. From its origins in the Second World War, to the United States' counterinsurgency campaigns in Vietnam, Whyte traces how the theory and practice of psychological warfare transformed the relationship between the home front and theatres of war. Whyte interrogates the broader political mythologies that animate popular conceptions of psychological war, such as its claim to make war more humane and less violent.  On the contrary, The Birth of Psychological War demonstrates the role of psychological warfare in expanding the scope and scale of military violence amidst ostensible efforts to 'win hearts and minds'. While casting a critical eye on psychological warfare, Whyte establishes its continued significance f

  • David T. Beito, "The New Deal's War on the Bill of Rights: The Untold Story of FDR's Concentration Camps, Censorship, and Mass Surveillance" (Independent Institute, 2023)

    27/12/2023 Duração: 01h01min

    The legacy of President Franklin D. Roosevelt enjoys regular acclaim from historians, politicians, and educators. Lauded for his New Deal policies, leadership as a wartime president, cozy fireside chats, and groundbreaking support of the "forgotten man," FDR, we have been told, is worthy of the same praise as men like Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln.... But is that true? Does the father of today's welfare state really deserve such generous approbation? Or is there a dark side to this golden legacy? The New Deal's War on the Bill of Rights: The Untold Story of FDR's Concentration Camps, Censorship, and Mass Surveillance (Independent Institute, 2023) unveils a much different portrait than the standard orthodoxy found in today's historical studies. Deploying an abundance of primary source evidence and well-reasoned arguments, historian and distinguished professor emeritus David T. Beito masterfully presents a complete account of the real Franklin D. Roosevelt: a man who abused power, violated human rights, ta

  • Thomas A. Schwartz, "Henry Kissinger and American Power: A Political Biography" (Hill and Wang, 2020)

    26/12/2023 Duração: 45min

    Over the past six decades, Henry Kissinger has been America's most consistently praised--and reviled--public figure. He was hailed as a "miracle worker" for his peacemaking in the Middle East, pursuit of détente with the Soviet Union, negotiation of an end to the Vietnam War, and secret plan to open the United States to China. He was assailed from the left and from the right for his indifference to human rights, complicity in the pointless sacrifice of American and Vietnamese lives, and reliance on deception and intrigue. Was he a brilliant master strategist--"the 20th century's greatest 19th century statesman"--or a cold-blooded monster who eroded America's moral standing for the sake of self-promotion? In Henry Kissinger and American Power: A Political Biography (Hill and Wang, 2020), the renowned diplomatic historian Thomas A. Schwartz  offers an authoritative, and fair-minded, answer to this question. While other biographers have engaged in hagiography or demonology, Schwartz takes a measured view of his

  • Ilkay Yilmaz, "Ottoman Passports: Security and Geographic Mobility, 1876-1908" (Syracuse UP, 2023)

    24/12/2023 Duração: 55min

    In Ottoman Passports: Security and Geographic Mobility, 1876-1908 (Syracuse University Press, 2023), İlkay Yılmaz reconsiders the history of two political issues, the Armenian and Macedonian questions, approaching both through the lens of mobility restrictions during the late Ottoman Empire from 1876 to 1908. Yılmaz investigates how Ottoman security perceptions and travel regulations were directly linked to transnational security regimes battling against anarchism. The Hamidian government targeted “internal threats” to the regime with security policies that created new categories of suspects benefiting from the concepts of vagrant, conspirator, and anarchist. Yılmaz explores how mobility restrictions and the use of passports became critical to targeting groups including Armenians, Bulgarians, seasonal and foreign workers, and revolutionaries. Taking up these new policies on surveillance, mobility, and control, Ottoman Passports offers a timely look at the origins of contemporary immigration debates and the hi

  • Huw Bennett, "Uncivil War: The British Army and the Troubles, 1966–1975" (Cambridge UP, 2023)

    22/12/2023 Duração: 26min

    Huw Bennett is a Reader in International Relations at Cardiff Unviersity. He specializes in strategic studies, the history of war, and intelligence studies, and work on both historical and contemporary issues concerning the use of military power. His research focuses on the experiences of the British Army since 1945, in the contexts of British politics, the Cold War, the end of empire, and the War on Terror. In this interview he discusses his book Uncivil War: The British Army and the Troubles, 1966–1975 (Cambridge UP, 2023). When Operation Banner was launched in 1969 civil war threatened to break out in Northern Ireland and spread over the Irish Sea. Uncivil War reveals the full story of how the British army acted to save Great Britain from disaster during the most violent phase of the Troubles but, in so doing, condemned the people of Northern Ireland to protracted, grinding conflict. Huw Bennett shows how the army's ambivalent response to loyalist violence undermined the prospects for peace and heightened

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