Clear evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and Russia’s renewed efforts to skew 2020 voting, reveals the urgency for counter-weaponized disinformation. Stengel, former editor of Time and Obama’s undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs (2013–16), addresses the “global information war.” His book is part narrative as participant in the war and part argument for a more robust response to cyberthreats and disinformation. The narrative points to some successes in response to cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns, but is also points to failures in response not only to Russian efforts but to threats of others. Stengel concludes with recommendations that have been on the public agenda but not effectively implemented: requiring social media platforms to police content, shoring up privacy to prevent targeted deceptive messaging, and bolstering media literacy to decrease vulnerability to “fake news.” Stengel recounts some insider anecdotes, but the core of the book is based on publicly available sources, including journal and newspaper accounts. For experts this is familiar ground, but for others the book is an excellent introduction to information wars.
Summing Up: Essential. All readers. Reviewer: R. P. Peters, Harvard University Subject: Humanities – Communication Choice Issue: Jul 2020