Well chaos has been here a for a couple of years but I’m actually talking about my book Creating Chaos / Covert Political Warfare from Truman to Putin. And yes authors are allowed to use exclamation marks when their books actually make it into print…
I did my first interview on Creating Chaos a couple of days ago – some two hours’ worth – and immediately learned how challenging it is going to be to really present the content of a book that covers decades but which also has extensive contemporary commentary. It’s far too easy to get sucked into what is going on in the news every day and how that relates to the techniques of political warfare covered in the book, as well as the backstory of those current events. A backstory that actually began in 2004 and evolved somewhat slowly over a full decade.
While talking about the book will no doubt be an ongoing challenge, what I can do is give you some more detailed information about the book – now that I have the first version of the print copies in hand – and let you get a feel for it yourselves.
First, the book is coming out in two “generations”. The first generation, which became available in July, was direct from the publisher (OR Books). The EBook version is $10 and a softcover print on demand (POD) book ($18). The POD edition is about two thirds the size of a standard trade paperback that you would find in a book store or library.
This size book is really very portable and I was a bit surprised by how “readable” it was (being old and all small print is not my friend). The print is quite a good size, the contrast on the page is good and both the end notes and the index are quite readable (which is sometimes an issue even in trade paperback and hard cover editions).
Sometime in September a second generation, press printed trade paperback will be available on Amazon and bookstores should be able to order copies through Publishers Group West. I’ve now received early copies of the press print book, which has a more polished cover, higher quality paper and is physically a bit larger. Because of the press printing the type/page contrast is sharper (OK, that’s probably “too much information” but authors obsess over such things).
Now to what is actually in the book. First off the book itself is 393 pages, proving that I can write something at least a little shorter than 500/600 pages. It has over 40 pages of end notes, which should be enough citations for pretty much anyone. And the index is some 17 pages, with a host of names which will be new to most readers.
As to contents, here are the Chapter Titles:
Chapter One: The Games of Queens, Kings and Presidents
Chapter Two: Going Dark
Chapter Three: Containment
Chapter Four: Political Action
Chapter Five: Regime Change
Chapter Six: Hybrid Warfare
Chapter Seven: Active Measures
Chapter Eight: Privatization
Chapter Nine: Role Reversals
Chapter Ten: Sovereignty Issues
Chapter Eleven: Pushing Back
Chapter Twelve: Beachheads
Chapter Thirteen: Shaping
Chapter Fourteen: Fragmentation
Chapter Fifteen: Consequences
As you can see, I try to address both the tactics and practices of covert political warfare. Along the way I present a model which addresses its scaling and evolution from one state to the next. I’ve worked quite hard to make it a balanced presentation, beginning with the practices of the British and Russian Empires, moving through examples from the Cold War for both the United States and the Soviet Union and finally stepping into how roles have reversed in the 21st Century, probing deeply into contemporary events and the new technologies available to the old practices.
So, that’s it for now. I will move on to other subjects, hopefully returning when a few readers have delved into the book and have things to discuss.