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April 11, 2008

The New York Times Book Review features Professor Philip Bobbitt’s new book, Terror and Consent, in the April 13, 2008 issue

A new book on terrorism by long-time University of Texas law professor, now distinguished senior lecturer, Philip C. Bobbitt has been called “the most profound book to have been written on the subject of American foreign policy since the attacks of 9/11” by The New York Times Book Review.

Terror and Consent: The Wars for the Twenty-First Century, released this month by Knopf Publishing, is the topic of the Times Book Review’s cover article in its Sunday, April 13, 2008 issue. At almost 700 pages long, Terror and Consent is the seventh book that Bobbitt has published.

In the book, Bobbitt reflects on a new definition of warfare, the current domestic debate over the “war on terror,” the challenges to international law, and how our market-driven society might measure victory.

In addition to providing scenarios about how this war might unfold, Bobbitt’s book also provides particular recommendations—a mix of policy prescriptions and a rethinking of the fundamentals—of how we might actually win a war against terror.

In reviewing the book for the Times, Niall Ferguson, a Harvard professor and prominent commentator on historical topics, writes that Bobbitt’s book is also the most profound book on American foreign policy since the end of the cold war.

Ferguson said the book deserves to be “garlanded with prizes” but notes, “It is more important that it should be read, marked and inwardly digested by all three of the remaining candidates to succeed George W. Bush as president of the United States.”

The Times reviewer continues, “Bobbitt’s originality lies in his almost unique ability to synthesize three quite different traditions of scholarship. The first is history. The second is law; particularly constitutional law. The third is military strategy.”

In the introduction to his new book, Bobbitt writes, “I believe that almost every widely held idea we currently entertain about twenty-first century terrorism and its relationship to the Wars against Terror is wrong and must be thoroughly rethought. In this book I have tried to begin this fundamental rethinking.” He continues, “The looming combination of a global terrorist network, weapons of mass destruction, and the heightening vulnerability of enormous numbers of civilians emphatically requires a basic transformation of the conventional wisdom in international security.”

Terror and Consent has received praise from high-profile national and international figures including Dr. Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Austin-based author Larry Wright, whose book, The Looming Tower, won a Pulitzer Prize in 2007.

Bobbitt, who lives in Austin, London, and New York, is also the author of the critically-acclaimed The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace, and the Course of History (Knopf, 2002). It was named “One of the best books of the year,” by The Times (London), “One of the best books in 2002 on politics and current affairs,” by The Economist, hailed as “magisterial,” by The New York Times, and a classic for future generations,”by The New York Review of Books.

About Philip Bobbitt:

One of the nation’s leading constitutional theorists, Professor Bobbitt’s interests include not only constitutional law but also international security and the history of strategy.

At the University of Texas, Bobbitt is a distinguished senior lecturer in law and a senior fellow at the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law. Last fall, Bobbitt also took a position as Herbert Wechsler Professor of Federal Jurisprudence and director of the Center for National Security at Columbia University.

He has served as associate counsel to the President, legal counsel to the Senate Iran-Contra Committee, the counselor on international law at the State Department, and as the senior director for strategic planning at the National Security Council.

Related links:

A Conversation with Philip Bobbitt [PDF]

UT Law’s Philip Bobbitt

Terror and Consent, UT Law Web site

Contacts: Jennifer Lamar, Administrative Assistant for Philip Bobbitt, UT Law, 512-751-6329 or Kirston Fortune, Assistant Dean for Communications, (512) 471.7330 or