Boot, Max 1968-
Boot, Max 1968-
Writer, journalist. Christian Science Monitor, writer, 1992-94; Wall Street Journal, New York, NY, reporter, 1994-97, op-ed editor, 1997-2002; Council on Foreign Relations, New York, NY, senior fellow for national security studies, 2002—. Lecturer at many military institutions, including the Army, Navy, and Air War Colleges, the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare School, the Army Command and General Staff College, Marine Corps University, West Point, and the Naval Academy. Member, U.S. Joint Forces Command Transformation Advisory Group.
Best book awards, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and the Christian Science Monitor, 2002, for The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power; Wallace M. Greene Award, 2003; Eric Breindel Award for Excellence in Journalism, 2007.
Out of Order: Arrogance, Corruption, and Incompetence on the Bench, foreword by Robert H. Bork, Basic Books (New York, NY), 1998.
The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power, Basic Books (New York, NY), 2002.
War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History; 1500 to Today, Gotham (New York, NY), 2006.
Writer and journalist Max Boot is a senior fellow in national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of several well-received nonfiction books on legal and military matters.
While judges have traditionally received more respect than lawyers in American society, Max Boot's book Out of Order: Arrogance, Corruption, and Incompetence on the Bench takes a critical look at contemporary federal, state, and local judges. As the subtitle indicates, Boot discusses the arrogance, corruption, and incompetence of certain judges. He criticizes the way many state and local judges attain their positions: by running political campaigns funded by special interests, such as their former law firms. Once on the bench, the judges may find themselves trying cases argued by these special interests. Boot also criticizes judges who engage in what he calls "judicial activism," jurists who do not base their decisions on the United States Constitution. He calls for the increased scrutiny of judges as well as changes in the judicial system.
Reviewing Out of Order in Reason, Stephen F. Williams found Boot's suggestions to correct the state of the judicial system unoriginal, but wrote that the book "will give you a visceral sense of the judicial establishment's dregs, without which you cannot realistically appraise the whole." According to Mark Miller in the National Review, Boot places a special emphasis on the condition of the state courts because these courts review so many cases with so little scrutiny. Miller stated that Out of Order urges readers "to demand judges for whom integrity is a primary concern." Suzanna Sherry, reviewing the work in the New York Times Book Review, claimed that the author's conservative leanings color the book's presentation, concluding: "In the end, Out of Order is just a list of cases Max Boot can't applaud." Commentary contributor Andrew C. McCarthy observed: "In sum, Max Boot has written a book that ably and entertainingly describes the misdeeds many judges commit. But when it comes to our out-of-order judiciary, what happens in the courtroom may be only the place to start."
Boot turns to warfare and American power as a subject in his award-winning 2002 title, The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power. The book takes its title from a line by the British poet of imperialism, Rudyard Kipling. In the work, Boot traces such "savage wars of peace," waged by the United States, through three different stages: the early years of the republic up to 1898 when the U.S. Navy and the Marines helped to enable American trade around the globe, from North America to North Africa; the period from 1900 to the entry into World War II, during which America became an imperial power, waging bloody conflicts in the Philippines, fighting to maintain an open-door policy in China, and making deep imperial inroads in Latin America; and the period since World War II, when the United States emerged as a superpower. Throughout these three epochs, Boot finds more than one hundred small wars that the United States has taken part in, attempting in the long run to establish a Pax Americana by military means. For Boot, such a small-war strategy is a vital ingredient in maintaining American hegemony and international peace on a larger scale. He argues that the nation must shake off the history of Vietnam and be willing once again to exercise its power in the world when necessary. Policy Review writer Josh London commented that Boot provides an overview of the reasons for such small imperial wars: "punitive (to punish the bad guys), protective (to protect U.S. citizens and interests in a foreign land), pacification (the occupation of foreign territory to bring peace and order to rebellious and unlawful masses), and profiteering (the demand for trade or territorial concessions)."
Reviewing The Savage Wars of Peace in the Library Journal, Charles L. Lumpkins observed: "Although the political-moral ramifications of his argument as related to domestic affairs need more exploration, Boot has written a readable and thought-provoking book." Looking at the book from a technical rather than a political point of view, a Publishers Weekly contributor complained that "Boot's historical descriptions are too thin to provide a solid foundation." A reviewer for the Economist felt that Boot "tells the story with clarity and verve, rediscovering on the way some lesser-known American heroes," yet also commented that some important questions, such as the costs of unilateral action by the United States, "go largely unexamined." Higher praise, however, came from Commentary contributor Frederick W. Kagan, who termed The Savage Wars of Peace a "fine book," further noting that "few books published this decade will be timelier." Similarly, Thomas Donnelly, writing in Foreign Affairs, praised "the important and timely contribution Boot makes to American strategic self-awareness." A Kirkus Reviews critic concluded: "Boot's generally evenhanded approach makes some of his more immodest proposals palatable, and serious students of foreign policy, no matter what their leanings, will want to entertain his arguments."
With his 2006 title, War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History; 1500 to Today, Boot presents an "unusual, and magisterial, survey of technology and war," according to New York Times Book Review critic Josiah Bunting. Boot examines four revolutions in warfare: the use of gunpowder, the first and second industrial revolutions, and the information and technology revolution, each of which led to different approaches to warfare. As Library Journal contributor Richard Fraser observed, Boot argues that "victory in battle relies as much on … organizational innovations as on technology itself." Mark Yost, writing in the Philadelphia Inquirer, called the book a "rich and highly readable tome." However, other reviewers, such as Martin Sieff in the American Conservative, found the book an apologia for the seemingly failed neoconservative policies in Iraq. Noting that Boot's chapter on the Iraq War basically ends with the 2003 declaration by President Bush of "mission accomplished," Sieff found this to be like "ending an account of World War II with the Nazis' conquest of France." For the same reviewer, War Made New was "a political and propaganda ploy." Fraser had a higher assessment, commenting: "Readable and informative, this book provides a valuable overview of how military innovations can abruptly affect the course of history." Similarly, a Publishers Weekly contributor concluded: "Boot distills 500 years of military history into a well-paced, insightful narrative."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Boot, Max, Out of Order: Arrogance, Corruption, and Incompetence on the Bench, Basic Books (New York, NY), 1998.
American Conservative, March 12, 2007, Martin Sieff, "On War It's Not."
Booklist, April 15, 1998, Gilbert Taylor, review of Out of Order: Arrogance, Corruption, and Incompetence on the Bench, p. 1401.
Canadian Army Journal, summer, 2004, Arthur Majoor, review of The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power.
Choice, December 1, 2002, R.D. Ward, review of The Savage Wars of Peace, p. 690; September 1, 2003, review of The Savage Wars of Peace, p. 86.
Christian Science Monitor, May 16, 2002, review of The Savage Wars of Peace, p. 14; November 21, 2002, review of The Savage Wars of Peace, p. 14.
Commentary, June, 1998, Andrew C. McCarthy, review of Out of Order, pp. 78, 80; May 1, 2002, Frederick W. Kagan, "No More Vietnams," p. 82.
Economist, April 27, 2002, "With or Without; America and Foreign Wars."
First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, August 1, 2002, "Small Wars, Big Plans," p. 74.
Foreign Affairs, July 1, 2002, Thomas Donnelly, "The Past as Prologue: An Imperial Manual," p. 165.
Journal of Military History, October 1, 2002, Keith B. Bickel, review of The Savage Wars of Peace, p. 1260.
Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2002, review of The Savage Wars of Peace, p. 300.
Library Journal, April 15, 1998, review of Out of Order, pp. 96-97; April 1, 2002, Charles L. Lumpkins, review of The Savage Wars of Peace, p. 123; October 15, 2006, Richard Fraser, review of War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History; 1500 to Today, p. 71.
Los Angeles Times, December 8, 2002, review of The Savage Wars of Peace, p. 22.
Marine Corps Gazette, June 1, 2003, "A Showcase for the Corps," p. 63.
Military History, April 1, 2007, Stephan Wilkinson, review of War Made New, p. 70.
Military Review, November 1, 2004, Robert M. Cassidy, review of The Savage Wars of Peace, p. 76; March 1, 2007, Bill Latham, review of War Made New, p. 116.
National Review, June 2, 1998, Mark Miller, review of Out of Order, pp. 30-31; June 22, 1998, review of Out of Order, pp. 62-63; May 20, 2002, "Oh What a … Small War," p. 47; January 29, 2007, "The Too-much-information Age," p. 49.
Naval War College Review, summer, 2003, Richard Norton, review of The Savage Wars of Peace.
New Criterion, June 1, 2002, "To the Shores of Tripoli," p. 90.
Newsweek, April 7, 2003, review of The Savage Wars of Peace, p. 64.
New York Review of Books, October 10, 2002, Brian Urquhart, "Is There a Case for Little Wars?," p. 10; December 21, 2006, "Conspicuous Proliferation," p. 16.
New York Times Book Review, July 26, 1998, Suzanna Sherry, review of Out of Order, p. 20; July 21, 2002, review of The Savage Wars of Peace, p. 11; December 17, 2006, Josiah Bunting, "Killing Machines," p. 11.
Philadelphia Inquirer, January 31, 2007, Mark Yost, review of War Made New.
Policy Review, August 1, 2002, Josh London, "The Unlikely Imperialists," p. 81.
Publishers Weekly, April 20, 1998, review of Out of Order, pp. 52-53; March 25, 2002, review of The Savage Wars of Peace, p. 52; August 21, 2006, review of War Made New, p. 60.
Reason, November, 1998, review of Out of Order, pp. 69-70.
Reference & Research Book News, August 1, 2002, review of The Savage Wars of Peace, p. 54.
SAIS Review, January 1, 2003, Michael Alexander Innes, review of The Savage Wars of Peace, p. 257.
Special Warfare, April 1, 2003, Kevin H. Govern, review of The Savage Wars of Peace, p. 55.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), July 21, 2002, review of The Savage Wars of Peace, p. 1; July 27, 2003, review of The Savage Wars of Peace, p. 1; September 7, 2003, review of The Savage Wars of Peace, p. 6.
Virginia Quarterly Review, spring, 2003, review of The Savage Wars of Peace.
Wall Street Journal, July 13, 1998, review of Out of Order, p. A15.
Wall Street Journal Western Edition, May 2, 2002, "Bookshelf: Small-scale Heroics, Big Effects," p. 6.
Washington Monthly, September, 1998, review of Out of Order, pp. 50-51.
Washington Post Book World, November 19, 2006, "Shooting Ahead: Revolutions in Military Affairs, from the Rise of Gunpowder to the Iraq War," p. 4.
Council on Foreign Relations Web site,http://www.cfr.org/ (August 17, 2007), "Max Boot."
Democratic Underground.com,http://www.democraticunderground.com/ (March 4, 2005), Weldon Berger, "Max Boot Is Barking Mad."
Los Angeles City Beat,http://www.lacitybeat.com/ (February 1, 2007), Mindy Farabee, interview with Max Boot.
Right Web,http://www.rightweb.irc-online.org/ (March 27, 2007), "Max Boot."