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Chip War

The Fight for the World's Most Critical Technology

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About The Book

Chip War reveals how we can’t make sense of politics, economics or technology today without first understanding the central role played by computer chips in shaping the modern world. But the West's lead in this area is under threat. At stake is America's military superiority and the economic prosperity of democratic nations.

Power in the modern world - military, economic, geopolitical - is built on a foundation of computer chips. America has maintained its lead as a superpower because it has dominated advances in computer chips and all the technology that chips have enabled. (Virtually everything runs on chips: cars, phones, the stock market, even the electric grid.) Now that edge is in danger of slipping, undermined by the naïve assumption that globalising the chip industry and letting players in Taiwan, Korea and Europe take over manufacturing serves America's interests. Currently, as Chip War reveals, China, which spends more on chips than any other product, is pouring billions into a chip-building Manhattan Project to catch up to the US. 

In Chip War economic historian Chris Miller recounts the fascinating sequence of events that led to the United States perfecting chip design, and how faster chips helped defeat the Soviet Union (by rendering the Russians’ arsenal of precision-guided weapons obsolete). The battle to control this industry will shape our future. China spends more money importing chips than buying oil, and they are China's greatest external vulnerability as they are fundamentally reliant on foreign chips. But with 37 per cent of the global supply of chips being made in Taiwan, within easy range of Chinese missiles, the West's fear is that a solution may be close at hand. 
 

About The Author

Photograph by George Marshall

Chris Miller is Assistant Professor of International History at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He also serves as Jeane Kirkpatrick Visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Eurasia Director at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, and as a Director at Greenmantle, a New York and London-based macroeconomic and geopolitical consultancy. He is the author of three previous books—Putinomics, The Struggle to Save the Soviet Economy, and We Shall Be Masters—and he frequently writes for The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, Foreign AffairsForeign PolicyThe American Interest, and other outlets. He received a PhD in history from Yale University and an AB in history from Harvard University. Currently, he resides in Belmont, Massachusetts. Visit his website at ChristopherMiller.net and follow him on Twitter @CRMiller1.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (October 4, 2022)
  • Length: 464 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781398504110

Raves and Reviews

'Miller [argues that] the future of humanity hinges on the "chip war" between two ecosystems vying to design and make the most advanced micro-processors - that of the United States and its friends (including Taiwan), and that of the People’s Republic of China. Just as Daniel Yergin’s The Prize illuminated the economics and geopolitics of oil at the time of the first Gulf War, so Miller’s book provides just the historical perspective we need as the Sino-American rivalry intensifies. Miller is the first person to write the history of that evolution. The result is an indispensable book.'

– Niall Ferguson, author of Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe

'Chip War is essential for understanding our modern world…With a sweeping narrative that captures the people who risked a lot and made it all happen, Chris Miller tells how our chip-powered world has been shaped by constant battles - among innovators and technologies, among companies, among countries, and now, of critical importance, in the great power competition between the United States and China that will define the future of geopolitics.'

– Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer-prize winning author of The Prize: the Epic Struggle for Oil, Money and Power

'Semi-conductors may be to the twenty-first century what oil was to the twentieth. If so, the history of semi-conductors will be the history of the twenty-first century. This is the best chronicle of that history so far that we have had or are likely to have for a very long time. If you care about technology, or America’s future prosperity, or its continuing security, this is a book you have to read.'

– Lawrence H. Summers, 71st US Secretary of the Treasury

'A remarkable book…The devil is in the details, and it is there where Chris Miller is at his best…An eye-popping work, a unique combination of economic and technological - and strategic - analysis.'

– Paul Kennedy, author of The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers

'The battle for supremacy in semiconductors is one of the most important stories in geopolitics, national security and economic prosperity. But it's also been one of the least well understood. Thankfully, we now have Chip War to give us a clear view and sharp read on this essential subject.'

– Andrew McAfee, author of More from Less

'Chris Miller's brain works like the computer chip he writes about. It is packed with dizzying, complex circuitry that results in sparkling clarity. He has written not only an amazing story, but also one of overwhelming importance that is both taut in style and epic in scope.'

– Robert D. Kaplan, author of The Revenge of Geography

'Outstanding. Miller's history of the chip covers all angles: technological, financial and especially political. No book better discusses the intricacies of lithography techniques - and how they implicate global security. He has written the go-to reference on one of the most important industries today.'

– Dan Wang, Technology Analyst at Gavekal Dragonomics

'In Chip War, Chris Miller has captured the essence of the most critical and strategic element of the 21st century geostrategic competition. This book is brilliantly and entertainingly written, deeply convincing, and grounded in both history and technology. A tour de force!'

– Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret); 16th Supreme Allied Commander of NATO

'Terrific…With extraordinary breadth and absorbing storytelling, Chris Miller traces the global history of the chips that rule the world. A timely tale of how we got to now and the high-stakes politics that will determine what’s next.'

– Margaret O’Mara, author of The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America

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