Cyberwar is proving to be a fertile topic for journalists, researchers, and academics to write books about. I try to read them all. LikeWar is among the best, and it is the first to meld the fields of strategic studies, the history of warfare, and the rising tide of online conflict ... LikeWar applies a historical perspective to an emerging threat ... armed with this book we are able to fit new information into what is now a consistent framework. While students of history, strategic studies, political science, and international relations will all find LikeWar on their required reading list, anyone else who wishes to understand the world we live in must add LikeWar to the top of the pile on their nightstand.
Packed with the past five years of news and a brief account of the birth of the Internet, LikeWar is a breezy read about modern warfare, with the authors flipping through tales of Russian bots, washed-up reality stars and Silicon Valley magnates like clips on your friend’s Instagram story. That rapid succession of stories makes it a suitable textbook for today’s journalism or political science students looking to understand how the same apps they use to communicate with friends can be amassed as tools in a potent arsenal ... There are points where LikeWar is too married to that textbook format ... LikeWar becomes a compelling read as Brookings and Singer give historical context to today’s news to demystify the Internet as a battlefield ... if [19th-century military theorist Carl von] Clausewitz crops up as a motif that grounds the book in staid military doctrine, references to pop stars and reality television celebrities keep the text out of the realm of the typical think tank fare. It may seem a cheap bid for younger readers at first, but the authors draw smart and eerie parallels between terrorist groups and seemingly vapid celebrities.
Peter Singer and Emerson Brooking have written a new book...that is an eye-opening indictment of U.S. folly ... The book is filled with an astonishing array of anecdotes and exemplars, each more chilling than the last ... One useful aspect of LikeWar is how current information operations are contextualized with historical applications ... One of the most engaging and, for this reader, enlightening aspects of LikeWar is its attempt to capture what it is precisely that makes social media information campaigns so consequential. The authors’ conclusion—essentially that people are hard-wired to accept some types of information more readily than others—is distressing because it portends, ultimately, a lack of rationality in human information processing ... The picture Singer and Brooking paint of how social media is being weaponized is compelling, and one that ought to give pause to any practitioner in the field of national security. I am reluctant to be so effusive in my praise, but this is truly a must-read book.