LikeWar

Two defense experts explore the collision of war, politics, and social media, where the most important battles are now only a click away.

Through the weaponization of social media, the internet is changing war and politics, just as war and politics are changing the internet. Terrorists livestream their attacks, “Twitter wars” produce real‑world casualties, and viral misinformation alters not just the result of battles, but the very fate of nations. The result is that war, tech, and politics have blurred into a new kind of battlespace that plays out on our smartphones.

P. W. Singer and Emerson Brooking tackle the mind‑bending questions that arise when war goes online and the online world goes to war. They explore how ISIS copies the Instagram tactics of Taylor Swift, a former World of Warcraft addict foils war crimes thousands of miles away, internet trolls shape elections, and China uses a smartphone app to police the thoughts of 1.4 billion citizens. What can be kept secret in a world of networks? Does social media expose the truth or bury it? And what role do ordinary people now play in international conflicts?

Delving into the web’s darkest corners, we meet the unexpected warriors of social media, such as the rapper turned jihadist PR czar and the Russian hipsters who wage unceasing infowars against the West. Finally, looking to the crucial years ahead, LikeWar outlines a radical new paradigm for understanding and defending against the unprecedented threats of our networked world.

Reviews

LikeWar named an Amazon Best Book of the Year, notably in two categories, for NonFiction and Business & Leadership.

LikeWar should be required reading for everyone living in a democracy and all who aspire to.—BookList (starred review)

“LikeWar is an engaging and startling work.” Vice-Motherboard 

“LikeWar is a magical combination of history, technology, and early warning wrapped in a compelling narrative of how today’s information space can threaten the truth, our polity, and our security.  It’s a page turner, too, chock full of deep insights and fascinating detail.  Sun Tzu tells us to know ourselves, our enemy and our battle space and LikeWar delivers on all three.”—General Michael Hayden, former Director of the CIA and NSA, author of The Assault on Intelligence

“Online technology has outrun our social intuitions about its power. In vivid prose, Singer and Brooking offer insight into the ways that social media can be used to manipulate beliefs and attitudes for self-serving purposes.” —Vint Cerf, co-inventor of the internet, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

“Much as Clausewitz did for conventional war, LikeWar lays out the new 21st century principles of war. Mixing fascinating stories and the front edge of research, it explains the twilight battlegrounds of politics and war on social media—a frightening future where truth is the first casualty, and our fundamental values are deeply at danger.  I loved it.”—Admiral James Stavridis, US Navy (Ret.), former Supreme Allied Commander, NATO

“A timely, urgent look at a world of electronic sheep—and wolves aplenty, too.” —Kirkus

“My films have specialized in realistic horror. LikeWar is scary as hell, as it shows how people can be manipulated online to make our worst fears come true.”—Jason Blum, producer of The Purge and Get Out

“Through a series of vivid vignettes, LikeWar shows how the internet has become a new battlefield in the 21st century, in ways that blur the line between war and peace and make each of us a potential target of postmodern conflict.”—Francis Fukuyama, author of The End of History, Director of the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University

“LikeWar is the definitive work on the information revolution—its early origins, growth, and many complex implications.  It weaves this broad-tapestry in a way that explains, compels, and provokes thought all at once.  A fascinating, informative must-read.”Lt. Gen. James Clapper, USAF (ret.) Former Director of National Intelligence

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