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The Essential Herman Kahn: In Defense of Thinking Paperback – June 16, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0739128299 ISBN-10: 0739128299

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Lexington Books (June 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739128299
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739128299
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,783,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Herman Kahn’s seminal thinking, extracted in this smart volume, is timeless. From thinking about nuclear war to anticipating the complaints about capitalism and forecasting the future, Kahn offers relevant ideas for today’s challenges of terrorism, financial meltdown, and global warming. An indispensible read or re-read! (Henry R. Nau, The George Washington University)

Broken into four parts, The Essential Herman Kahn reflects his wide range of interests: from nuclear strategy to prospects for economic growth, from the state of Western culture to methodologies for forecasting. Kahn, as one might suggest, would be no easy man to condense; but Aligica and Weinstein have done a remarkably good job of it. (The Weekly Standard, September 7, 2009)

An excellent selection of the works of one of the most original and influential thinkers of our time. (Mark Blitz, Claremont McKenna College)

About the Author

Paul Dragos Aligica is senior fellow at the Mercatus Center of George Washington University, faculty fellow at the James Buchanan Center for Political Economy, associate faculty at the Center for Global Studies at George Mason University, and adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute. Kenneth R. Weinstein is chief executive officer of the Hudson Institute.

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By DKC on November 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
It is very difficult to take the work of a prolific, wide-ranging, and influential author and choose and compile a representative sampling of their work in only 260 pages, but Aligica and Weinstein have managed the daunting task. Much of Herman Kahn's once controversial work and methodologies have become such an integral part of modern discourse, or in the case of futurist work, come to pass with uncanny accuracy, that it is well worth taking a moment to understand these roots, often unrecognized and uncredited. In addition, Aligica and Weinstein, through their choices, have revealed consistent threads and concepts often obscured by the sheer mass of Herman Kahn's output. They have also restrained themselves from comment and interpretation, allowing the chosen samples to speak for themselves. It is to be hoped that the book revives interest in a thinker and author, much of whose work is still applicable (frighteningly so in the case of his nuclear war work) decades after his death.

Nobel Prize winner Thomas Schelling states in his foreword to the recently re-released ON ESCALATION by Kahn,
"I know of no better preparation for future nuclear dangers than this book.
It's forty-five years old but is a classic that will never be out of date.
I recommend it not only to those who, were it 1965, would find it essential
in thinking about the most dangerous issues in international affairs, but to
those in a dozen or more nations now to whom nuclear weapons are a new
concern and preoccupation.
This is a genuine classic that, I'm afraid, will never be out of date.
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