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Reviewed by Sean Coleman

Chip War: The fight for the world’s most critical technology
By Chris Miller
Scribner, October 2022

In a rapidly evolving world where technology permeates every aspect of our lives, the global race for control over the semiconductor industry has emerged as the most consequential geopolitical battle of the 21st century. In “Chip War,” Miler takes readers on a compelling journey that delves deep into the intricate web of politics, economics, and military power that surrounds this crucial sector.

The book masterfully explores the pivotal role of semiconductors, the building blocks of modern technology, and reveals how they have become the linchpin of global power dynamics. Miller artfully dissects the multifaceted implications of the semiconductor industry, unraveling its profound impact on nations, economies, and security.

One of the book’s strengths lies in its comprehensive analysis of the interplay between global politics and the semiconductor race.  He investigates how nations vie for dominance and control over this critical industry, illuminating the complex motivations and strategies employed. The book showcases how nations have recognized the indispensable nature of semiconductors and have invested heavily in ensuring their sovereignty in this realm, i.e., US Chips Act, (August 2022) the European Chips Act (ECA, April 2023, and China’s recent decision to limit the export of rare earth minerals Gallium and Germanium on July 5, 2023.

Furthermore, the author delves into the intricate economic implications of the semiconductor industry. The book explores how access to cutting-edge technology and production capabilities can reshape the economic landscape, with far-reaching consequences for both developed and developing nations. Miller provides a nuanced examination of how the semiconductor industry has the potential to reshape global trade patterns, supply chains, and economic power dynamics.

Beyond politics and economics, the book explores the profound influence of the semiconductor industry on military power. The author highlights the pivotal role of semiconductors in modern military technology, ranging from advanced weaponry systems to cyber warfare capabilities. “Chip War” sheds light on the vulnerabilities and risks associated with nations’ dependence on foreign semiconductor supply chains, making a strong case for strategic self-sufficiency.

The strength of “Chip War” lies in its meticulous research and data-driven analysis. Miller draws on a vast array of primary and secondary sources, expert interviews, and historical context to present a well-rounded narrative. The book provides a thorough understanding of the semiconductor industry and places it within the broader context of geopolitics, economics, and military strategy.

While the book excels in examining the implications of the semiconductor industry, it occasionally delves into technical jargon that may prove challenging for readers without a background in technology. However, the author makes a commendable effort to explain complex concepts in accessible terms, ensuring that the book remains engaging and enlightening for a broad audience.

“Chip War” presents a timely and compelling argument that the race for control over the global semiconductor industry is of utmost geopolitical significance. Miller convincingly demonstrates how this industry’s stakes go beyond technological advancements and economic prosperity, profoundly influencing the distribution of power among nations.

In conclusion, “Chip War” is an essential read for anyone interested in understanding the tensions in the U.S. / China / Europe relationship today.  Miller’s thought-provoking analysis and deep history of the Silicon Age underscores how computer chips have become front and center in foreign and economic policy.End.


Chris Miller teaches International History at Fletcher School at Tufts University. He is also Jeane Kirkpatrick Visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and Eurasia Research Director of the Foreign Policy Research Institute. He is regularly quoted in publications such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, is featured on CNBC and NPR, and writes for publications like Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy. He is author of three books: Putinomics: Power and Money in Resurgent Russia, The Struggle to Save the Soviet Economy and We Shall Be Masters: Russian Pivots to East Asia from Peter the Great to Putin. He received his PhD and MA from Yale University and his AB in history from Harvard University. Chris Miller, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of International History at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy


Sean Coleman, Captain, USN, (Ret.), J.D., MBA, MA   After several careers in defense, law, publishing, and government Captain Coleman is now happily retired and living in Wendell, NC.

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