I originally intended the title of this book to be A Layman's Guide to Nuclear Military Strategy. My idea was to honor the memory of Bernard Brodie, since the first of his many books on strategy, published in the early days of World War II, was entitled A Layman's Guide to Naval Strategy. Although Alfred T. Mahan was the first American to write extensively on strategy, it was Brodie who pioneered the subject as a legitimate concern of university research and teaching and thus a legitimate attempt by scholars to influence strategy. I studied under Brodie at Yale in the period immediately following World War II, and his guidance enabled me to continue an interest in strategy and defense policy originally awakened when I was a cadet at West Point.
That awakening happened on the opening day of a class in military history taught by Colonel Max S. Johnson, later a Major General and head of the Army War College. He was that rare creature, a military intellectual, and he thrilled and delighted me on the opening day by saying, "Gentlemen, welcome to Military History. Until today you have dealt with squads, platoons, and companies. Here you will deal with nothing smaller than a division!"
As it happened, however, as I began to understand what the consequences of the marriage of nuclear weapons and missiles would be, the purpose the book was intended to serve changed dramatically. The result was an entirely different book, requiring an entirely different title.
The book draws on several of my earlier books. It also draws on a number of my articles in periodicals such as Foreign Affairs, World Politics, the Political Science Quarterly, and others.