Sunday, January 5, 2014

Playing Favorites

(Yes, I refuse to go full-Canadian and spell it favourite).

Anyhow, one is not supposed to have a favorite child.  We finessed that problem by only having one.  And, yes, she is my favorite.  One should not play favorites too much with one's pets, but when I had two dogs and one cat, one dog was clearly my favorite pet--Flynn a.k.a. the Fonz of dogs. He was not just our favorite, as we were told when we were leaving Vermont ages ago: "We sure will miss
Flynn."  Indeed.

So, I must declare that my latest book, this one with David Auerswald, is, indeed, my favorite of my three books.  Sure, one could accuse me of recency bias by preferring the most recent.  But despite my fondness for my other books and the work by Bill Ayres on the second one, this book is first in my heart.

  1. Well, it was the most fun to research, with trips to Kabul/Kandahar, Bagotville, Paris/Berlin, Sydney/Canberra/Wellington, Copenhagen, and The Hague/Brunssum/Brussels/Mons.  Book one had no travel, book two took me to Budapest a few times and Bucharest once--both of which were interesting and fun, but the two cities just simply are less than the many cities/countries I visited over the past five or six years.
  2. Not just travel but heaps of interesting people.  I forget how many folks I interviewed for book two (probably around 40?), but this time, Dave and I chatted with more than 250 people of varying ranks and occupations.  Just amazing conversations.  I spent many a drive from Ottawa back to Montreal repeating out loud: "I love my job."
  3. It has been and will continue to be the most fun to present (although no one has asked as wonderfully strange/amusing questions as Bill and I received when presenting Kin or Country).  I will not list the places I have presented bits and pieces of research from this book, but just this winter/spring's schedule of talks (see below) will take me to many interesting places.  
  4. The presentations for this project have included multiple opportunities to share my ideas with policy-folks.
  5. It is the only book project that produced enough material for a second book.  I have spent this past year, while the NATO book was in production, writing up another book--this one on the Canadian experience and what that tells us about how Canada does foreign/defence policy.  
  6. Best blurbs (see the back of this book or check out the Amazon page or the PUP page).
  7. About that PUP--Princeton U Press.  Well, I have been chasing that white whale for my career, and while my previous books were at another prestigious, selective press, PUP is about as good as it gets for International Relations stuff.  So, woot us!  When I met Dave over the holidays, we chatted and both marveled at how thorough PUP folks were, even as our original editor moved elsewhere in the middle of our process.
  8. Dave.  Dave and I spent five years in the trenches otherwise known as grad school in San Diego (ok, very temperate trenches with much sun and Mexican food).  So, it was a great pleasure to be working with an old (and yes, we are both getting old) friend. His access via his National War College job to the US case, to CENTCOM and to the Brits was incredibly handy for this project, and we built on his previous theoretical work nicely.
  9. We had a heap of help from a great group of friends, colleagues and graduate students (see our acknowledgements pages--most of which can be read at Amazon).
  10. The book is very relevant for understanding pop culture as I have demonstrated a few times (here and here).
  11. The book is just super-interesting.  Check out chapter one at PUP's page!  And then buy it ;)
The book tour will take me over the next few months to Kansas City, Denver, Calgary, Ottawa (three times), Sydney (Australia, not Nova Scotia), and hopefully Toronto and San Diego down the road, so see me if you can while I am in your town.  I am cheap date!  Really, so invite me and I am likely to show up.  Or just buy the book!  And if you cannot buy it, just cite it!

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