Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Books: Second Semester Textbooks

Well, as some of you will remember, I read most of my textbooks before arriving, except for the textbooks for the first semester. While this put me further behind the eight ball than I would have liked for the first semester, it puts me at an advantage for the second.

For Global Security Issues, I'm pleased to have read the following books already:

  • James F. Hodge and Gideon Rose: How Did This Happen? Terrorism and the New War
  • Robert Kagan: The Return of History and the End of Dreams
  • Colin Gray: Another Bloody Century

    I have an audio copy of Kagan, so I'll make an effort to listen to it again - it's pretty short. I may also reread a few specific chapters of Gray, and of Hodge/Rose - fortunately, Gus brought my copy of Gray, and CN Sister has a copy of Hodge/Rose. I may also try to grab a copy of Cables From Kabul, though I may wait on that.

    I'm also at an advantage for Strategic Nuclear Doctrine. The main textbooks are:

  • Michael Quinlan: Thinking About Nuclear Weapons: Principles, Problems and Prospects
  • Lawrence Freedman: The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy

    I read both of these prior to arriving in Aberdeen. I found Quinlan to be concise and extremely valuable. Freedman was verbose and couldn't decide whether to write chronologically, thematically, or geographically, so he went with all three. The book is basically incoherent, but I'll try to review chapters of it as appropriate. Because the course is structured geographically, and that's how Freedman's chapters are divided, I'll try to match each reading portion with the relevant region. I may also try to review some of the later chapters of World Politics and the Evolution of War (assuming CN Sister has a copy of that, too - she has a lot of books in the SOC). There are several chapters that deal with the early history of aerial bombardment, the theory of massive bombardment, and the early history of nuclear warfare that should be worth reviewing.

    In addition to the textbooks themselves, there are a number of foundational authors in the realm of nuclear theory whose writings are available online in PDF form. I put a few of these on my Kindle, and they include Albert Wohlstetter, Herman Kahn, and Bernard Brodie.

    It will be physically impossible to read all of this, so I'll try to be smart and prioritize the stuff that will be most relevant. If I can push myself hard and nail this second semester, then all I'll have left ahead of me is my dissertation during the Summer. I simultaneously love and hate that I'm making progress, because I want to successfully accomplish this program, but I hate that I'm more than one third of the way through my time here in Scotland.
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