Center for Strategic Communication

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a “zen“]

Strategy: A History by Sir Lawrence Freedman  
Out of the Mountains by David Kilcullen

As I promised Professor Freedman a few weeks ago in the comments section, I ordered his book, Strategy: A History and it arrived yesterday, so I am bumping it to the top of my very large and disorderly book pile ( now a desk high stack) and will begin reading it immediately. I believe Scott Shipman is already reading it too, so perhaps when I review it we can have a mini-round table with other people posting or guest posting their impressions, maybe end of November.

Out of the Mountains will be the third book by COIN guru David Kilcullen that I have read. I think he is on the right track here, in big picture terms. If guerrillas need, like fish, to swim in the sea of people, densely packed urban areas, megacities, are needed to thwart aerial surveillance and inhibit freely administered “death from the skies” delivered by drones.  Bombing a hamlet in FATA is a different kettle of fish from taking out a Land Rover speeding on an 8 lane highway outside LA with a Hellfire missile  or targeting a shopping mall in a ritzy Chicago suburb on the Lake.

I am also reading the following books:


The former is giving me a granular view of Fascism in its original form with a social historian’s perspective. I’m 250 pages in and I’m not half finished. Echevarria is always a good read with clear arguments.

This past year, I have not read enough or read seriously with attending marginalia comments and I am feeling the absence. Too many things have been permitted to distract me; while this was not always within my control, honesty compels me to admit that my self-discipline slackened this year. It is time to rectify that – evidence for which will be more frequent book review here.

What are you reading?