Category Archives: Book Reviews

Setting the Record Straight: An In-Depth Review of “Duty” by Robert Gates

Bowman “sets the record straight” with his review of Bob Gates’ new book, Duty. He states that Duty is not a “tell all,” but rather a highly personal and almost daily reflection of what Gates thought and experienced during his time as US Secretary of Defense. Ultimately, Bowman concludes that while the book is very readable, it is primarily a catharsis with little to no commentary on national security or international law.

Unknotting the Tangled Threads of Watergate Lore

Reviewing Leak: Why Mark Felt Became Deep Throat by Max Holland

“Holland does more than present what is certainly a more nuanced explanation for the leaks by the whistleblower “Deep Throat.” The research that goes into this relatively short book (200 pages of text, plus exhaustive footnotes) not only collects in one place the facts surrounding the investigation of Watergate, but also assesses many of the myths that have developed around that rather remarkable period of history.”

A Knowledgeable Insider Warns of the Challenges in Shaping Counterterrorism Policies

Reviewing Skating on Stilts: Why We Aren’t Stopping Tomorrow’s Terrorism by Stewart A. Baker

“Stewart Baker has written an enthralling, yet alarming, account of the difficult road we as country have traveled since 9/11.1 Part memoir of a veteran senior government official, part lesson in interdepartmental infighting and bureaucratic power games, part philosophical musing on technology’s benefits and potential costs, and part vigorous advocacy enlivened by saucy humor and snappy prose, Baker’s book summons us to think hard about how new technologies – air travel, computer functionality, biotechnology – jeopardize our lives and our way of life even as they also promise to brighten our futures.”

Foreign Affairs and Separation of Powers in the Twenty-first Century

Reviewing The Powers of War and Peace: The Constitution and Foreign Affairs After 9/11, by John Yoo

John Yoo is nothing if not controversial. During his tenure at the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), he became widely known for, among other things, drafting the Administration’s legal justification for the use of aggressive interrogation techniques.1 His prior academic writing also frequently staked out bold positions supporting expansive interpretations of executive power in the realm of foreign affairs. Yoo’s recent book, The Powers of War and Peace: The Constitution and Foreign Affairs After 9/11, amplifies many of the themes of his earlier work in academia. In it, he addresses two fundamental aspects of foreign policy making, the war power and the treaty power, each of which he analyzes from a decidedly revisionist perspective.