The Shield of Faith: A Chronicle of Strategic Defense from Zeppelins to Star Wars

B. Bruce-Briggs, Author Simon & Schuster $22.45 (464p) ISBN 978-0-671-61086-9
In a chatty style that includes occasional gossip from the arcane circles of defense analysis, Bruce-Briggs traces the permutations of strategic-defense policy from the earliest days of air power to the present, from reliance on civil defense and continental air defense, the fights over SALT and ABM, to the politics and technology of Star Wars. Doctrinal disputes in various think-tanks are revealed (as a member of Herman Kahn's Hudson Institute the author was an ``insider'') in relation to the development of offensive/defensive weapons at the strategic level. As Bruce-Briggs explains, ``Much of this book about the defense is about the offenseinevitably so, because offense and defense entwine like two lovers embraced in death.'' Comparing strategic-defense initiatives launched by every administration since Eisenhower's, along with a decade-by-decade account of the worst-case scenario of the day, he concludes that the Reagan administration is no more successful at solving ``The Problem'' than its predecessors were. The relatively trivial question of which wunderkind was ``a pain in the ass'' and which colleague had ``a pathetic need to be adored'' may not be the sort of information serious students of strategic defense will find illuminating; nevertheless such tidbits render the study more lively than most books on the subject. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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