Soldiers Of Reason: The RAND Corporation And The Rise Of The American Empire
The book is what it claims to be: a comprehensive history of RAND. The problem is that it’s just not that interesting?
RAND (short for “Research and Development”) is a company created by the U.S. Air Force. During the Cold War, we were scared that the Russians were winning the military technology race, so the Air Force created RAND as a private research think tank to come up with new ways to win the war.
RAND was headquartered in Santa Monica, and it employed lots of scientists, mathematicians, and the like to write reports about new technology, new strategies, and new ways to win the Cold War.
Lots of innovations came out of RAND – theories and knowledge that was used in the space program and in the founding of the Internet. There was also a lot of war planning. Most of our nuclear war plans were birthed at RAND.
Later, RAND branched out into social science. They did some studies about health insurance and other non-military problems. But, largely, RAND is a research company funded by the US government. And the area where our government spends the most money is obviously the military.
The book gets a little tedious. It’s about a lot of administrative jockeying and such. If you like 20th century military history, this might be your thing. It’s well-written, and it’s exactly what it claims to be, I just didn’t find it that interesting.