Fred Kaplan is the national security columnist for Slate and author of four other bestselling books examining some of the nation’s most significant strategic issues. His book, The Wizards of Armageddon, captures the dynamics in the early nuclear age including the critical to understand story of the small group of men who devised plans and shaped policies on how to use the Bomb. It is a critical foundation in the canon of knowledge around this important chapter in national security affairs.
With his new book, Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War, Kaplan dives into a topic which could end up being just as transformational to national security affairs as the nuclear age was. The book opens fast and builds from there, providing insights from research that even professionals directly involved in cyber operations will not have gleaned. Famed author John le Carre described it this way: “A book that grips, informs, and alarms, finely researched and lucidly related“. I have to agree.
The reason to study the past is to inform today’s decisions, and there is a dire need for this type of research today. The discipline of cyber warfare is still very young and the people charged with leadership in this domain are too frequently left to their own to discover the history of their profession. This book captures all the key elements of foundational cyber conflict knowledge in a way that can help today’s national security strategists operate and plan for the future.
It also has lessons for enterprise security professionals. The only defenses that work in business are ones that are informed by an awareness of the nature of the threat, and this book does a very good job of underscoring the serious and dynamic threats that face us all in and through our interconnected information technology.
My view: You will love this book.