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War Made New: America's Military Lead Can be Lost, Warns Max Boot in New Book

Related Bio: Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies
September 28, 2006
Council on Foreign Relations


“America’s early lead in the Information Revolution can easily be lost—it may be lost already—if it does not stay at the forefront of military developments,” warns Senior Fellow for National Security Studies Max Boot in his latest book, War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History. Though technological and strategic revolutions have transformed the battlefield from the Spanish Armada through the war on terror, “keeping up with the pace of change is getting harder than ever, and the risks of getting left behind are rising,” Boot cautions.

In light of this challenge, War Made New examines four major military revolutions of the past 500 years and the lessons learned from each as a framework for analyzing contemporary geopolitics. In addition to the ways in which the Gunpowder Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and the Second Industrial Revolution have transformed the nature of warfare and the international balance of power at large, Boot pays particular attention to the ongoing Information Revolution. Bearing in mind that “history is full of examples of superpowers failing to take advantage of important revolutions in military affairs,” Boot looks at how the U.S. military can best utilize the developments of the Information Revolution to combat both state and nonstate threats.

Boot’s historical evaluation of how innovations in warfare mark crucial turning points in international affairs is forward looking as well, as War Made New anticipates revolutions to come—such as nanotechnology, laser weapons, and so-called supersoldiers. “[Future revolutions] are likely to take warfare in strange and unexpected directions, many of which will empower small states and substate groups at the expense of large nation-states,” Boot writes. Yet, “the focus on cutting-edge technology is in no way meant to suggest that political or organizational developments will not be important in the future; the nature of war will always be determined by the interaction between warriors and their tools, not by the tools alone.”


“Sweeping and erudite, while entirely accessible to the lay reader, [War Made New] is key for anyone interested in where military revolutions have taken us—and where they might lead in the future.” —U.S. Senator John McCain

“[Max Boot] not only tells a remarkable tale, but he compels us all, even those obsessed solely with contemporary military affairs, to ask the right questions and to distinguish what is truly new and revolutionary from what is merely ephemeral. He has rendered a valuable service, and given us a fascinating read at the same time, so we are doubly in his debt.” —Paul Kennedy, Professor of History at Yale University and author of The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers

War Made New is impressive in scope. What is equally impressive is its unique interpretation of the causal relationship between technology, warfare, and the contemporary social milieu. This is a superb thinking person’s book which scrutinizes conventional historical wisdom through a new lens.” —Lt. Gen. Bernard E. Trainor, USMC (ret.), coauthor of Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq

“By providing such a coherent view of the past, [Max Boot] has pointed us toward the future. What is doubly impressive is how he draws surprising, fresh lessons from wars we thought we knew so much about but in fact didn’t.” —Robert D. Kaplan, author of Imperial Grunts

“[Max Boot] makes events from the dawn of the gunpowder era as immediate to contemporary America as is the threat of terrorist attacks, all the while telling a story as enthralling as it is significant.” —Richard Snow, Editor, American Heritage


Published by Gotham Books; 640 pages, $35

ISBN 9781592402229

Contact: CFR Communications; 212-434-9888 or

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War Made New

Author: Max Boot

A sweeping, epic history that ranges from the defeat of the Spanish Armada to the War on Terrorism, War Made New is a provocative new vision...