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Recommended Book(s)
Posted by: Bryan Pick on Monday, March 17, 2008

I've been looking forward to a particular new book for a few years. It's had more than a couple changes of title since I first heard of it, and although I didn't always know the exact subject matter, I knew I had to have it. And why?

Because it's by Philip Bobbitt. Currently a constitutional law professor, he previously worked in government on issues of both strategy and law for decades. Having heard nothing about his work, I first found it completely by chance, spotting The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace, and the Course of History on the shelf at Barnes & Noble. It sounded interesting and I was in the mood for something... heavy enough to last me a little while — the book is over 900 pages.

It turned out that those pages are packed. It is the most thought-provoking book I've yet read; I lost count of the number of times I had to simply stop reading and digest the connections and implications swirling and crystallizing in my mind. One short section grew into my article in The New Libertarian almost on the spot. To my delight, in the years since I read it, I've seen several of my favorite bloggers — including (Adventures of) Chester, Bill Roggio, and Wretchard (at Belmont Club) — discuss the ideas in SoA on multiple occasions each and highly recommend it to readers. In an interview at Michael Yon's place two years ago, Roggio included SoA among six books that are "required reading in order for people to understand the world today." If you haven't read it yet, read it. I've also read some of his work on constitutional law, and while it's thick, it's good.

So I looked forward to Bobbitt's next book, which back in late 2005 was under the working title "Terror: Can We Win This War?" and seemed to be coming out in October weighing in at "only" 352 pages. Now it's called Terror and Consent: The Wars for the Twenty-First Century, at a healthy 688 pages, and as it is coming out in less than two weeks, I wanted to give our readers a heads-up.

What is it about? A fairly recent cover image (not the final one) said simply, "Almost every widely held idea we currently entertain about the War on Terror is wrong and must be thoroughly rethought." Click here for an excerpt from the introduction, or at least what was the introduction back in spring 2004.

I don't have an advance copy or anything, so this recommendation is based on my estimation of his previous works, but I think you'll be doing yourself a favor if you pick this book up.
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