I attended graduate school at the Naval Postgraduate School, run by the U.S. Navy. This book was recommended by everyone I met there. One of the authors, P.W. Singer, was a guest lecturer while I was a student. I’d already read his other book, Like War: The Weaponization of Social Media and I really liked it. Well, I really appreciated it but liking it might be a tad macabre as it detailed all the things that were happening on social media to influence our opinions. Ghost Fleet is the same in that I liked the story and appreciated it but the book is essentially about how China conducts a first strike attack against the U.S. to start World War III, not exactly a fun topic, though the book at times is fun.
Cole and Singer come from national security backgrounds and write about what they know, which is cutting edge technology but more importantly, possible implementations of existing technologies. The book is a very fast read and not particularly deep or thought-provoking but it is interesting and entertaining. It gets a lot of comparisons to 90s era Tom Clancy novels, and certainly the fans of both would form a circle, but Clancy wrote a much better story with more developed characters. Personally, and I read all the 90s Clancy back then, I don’t think they compare that favorably other than both are about about the military and something our adversaries may do to the U.S. I remember Clancy novels using the adversarial plots as devices to get things moving whereas in Ghost Fleet, that *IS* the plot.
All in all, it was a good entertaining read but someone who has an idea of what is happening which makes the threats within the book feel a little more real.