I buy books from three sources: Amazon online (80%), airport bookstores (15%), and selected university bookstores (5%). This one came to me from a visit to the University of Colorado bookstore, where I was quite impressed by the breadth and depth of the selection across all topics.
I bought this book because the table of contents is one of the very best I have seen, and even if only the table of contents were memoized, one would be well-prepared for a senior undergraduate or master’s degree final examination.
While grotesquely over-priced, as most textbooks are (it cost the publisher $5.70, at most, to print this book, a penny a page), I will leave that to the side, but it is a factor in the loss of one star.
This book could and should be completely re-designed to add more white space, dramatically improve the coverage of the ten threats, twelve policies, and eight challenges, dramatically improve the coverage of decision-support both secret and non-secret, and introduce a complete new section on national, regional, and global budgets as they represent our actual priorities, together with a completely new section on sub-state (vice non-governmental) tribes, clans, families, and neighborhoods. In my view, this book has the potential to be a “keeper” for every student that buys it, and I would design it–and price it–accordingly.
The books lacks a more revisionist appreciation of the damage that the United Kingdom and the USA have done in their combined two centuries of colonialism, unilateral militarism including horrendous war crimes against most indigenous cultures, and predatory capitalism (not ignoring the same crimes by Spain and Portugal, France, Germany, and Russia).
Were I teaching today, I would lean toward assigning this as the text to one third of the class, with the two books below being assigned to the other two thirds of the class, and everyone having to also buy the third book. See my comment for a URL where anyone can receive, for free, a weekly report, “GLOBAL REALITY: The Week in Review,” covering in less than 8 pages, the ten threats, twelve policies, and eight major players other than the EU and US.
The two books below are better than this book, but this book is most definitely in my top three. See my lists for many other books regarding the information society, intelligence, emerging threats, strategy & force structure, anti-Americanism, blowback, and dissent, and the negative impact of domestic politics on sound foreign policy.
Security Studies for the 21st Century
Understanding International Conflicts (6th Edition) (Longman Classics in Political Science)
The New Craft of Intelligence: Personal, Public, & Political–Citizen’s Action Handbook for Fighting Terrorism, Genocide, Disease, Toxic Bombs, & Corruption