"Sterling's analysis is consistently thorough and thought provoking. He devotes ample time to each case study, providing a balanced review of the political, economic, diplomatic, military, cultural, and other factors that influenced the decision to build strategic defenses." -- Journal of Homeland Security
"Takes a rather different and refreshing look.... Finely crafted and thoroughly enjoyable.... Barrier builders and their critics should all take heed." -- Political Science Quarterly
"A thoughtful and analytical approach to an often overlooked element of security.... Given the uniqueness of the subject and the author's approach, I highly recommend this book for any course on general military history or defense studies and commend it to those focused on border security issues." -- Military Review
"Brent Sterling has written an extremely interesting and thoughtful book. In [this book] he compares six major defensive fortification systems from different periods of time and in different contexts. By allowing us to see the intent and results of all of these efforts laid out side-by-side, he provokes the reader to think more deeply about the role of defenses in a nation's strategic design and offers a variety of insights of his own. Anyone interested in military history or current national security matters will find Dr. Sterling's informative and intelligent book to be an important analysis of a critical, but badly neglected, subject." -- Kenneth M. Pollack, author of A Path Out of the Desert: A Grand Strategy for America in the Middle East
"An unusual and long overdue perspective. This will be a welcome addition to any course on defense studies." -- Antulio Echevarria, U.S. Army War College
"Brent Sterling restores 'walls', and strategic defenses in general, to their rightful place as an important but often flawed part of nearly every country's security strategy. He exposes the historical stereotypes about strategic defenses to the light of careful examination and demonstrates precisely how and when strategic defenses can contribute or can undermine national security. It is a timely contribution that should inform U.S. policymakers as they consider such diverse questions as fences along the US-Mexican border and Ballistic Missile defenses." -- Jeremy Shapiro, research director, Center on the United States and Europe, The Brookings Institution
About the Author
Brent L. Sterling is an adjunct lecturer at the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. He has spent the past twenty years as a defense analyst, including positions at the Central Intelligence Agency and consulting firms that support the Department of Defense.