Soldiers of Reason- The RAND Corporation and the Rise of the American Empire

By Alex Abella


Reviewed by Dan Perri

Perhaps the title says it all for this informative work about the
birth of modern American policies; Soldiers of Reason: Than RAND
Corporation and the Rise of the American Empire. The author, Alex
Abella, characterizes the Rand Corporation immediately addressing the
common misconceptions about it. In the forward one of Abella
colleagues during the 1960's describes RAND as "a place where war
criminals conducted research on how to defeat the Viet-cong and
perpetuates the ruling classes, the 'establishment'." While many in
America tend to take mystery as conspiracy, Abella seeks out to make a
good argument to why RAND was beneficial for America and how it
contributed, not trumped, America's history and future as a

Soldiers of Reason is seemingly written with the purpose of
convincing the reader RAND is responsible for many American victories
and points them out chronologically according to the point in American
history all the way from the end of the second World War to the
present. The narration typically describes the perspective of
particular "RANDites" and the issue in history they deal with. Abella
does point out that RAND was often based on the human ability to
reason and the classical enlightenment thinking without much moral
consideration. However, Abella displays how RAND is flexible in
dealing with America's problems; what is called the "human factor" is
addressed by RANDites by bringing in psychologist.

Abella also displays how RAND is able to expand its thinking and
resources in the face of a problem; going from mathematics, to
physics, psychology, economics and the list goes on. This display is
impressive and we learn that some of the greatest American minds were
produced and utilized, mostly in secret, for the purpose of expanding
American strength. While the book has a lot of information in it,
Abella brilliantly has a gripping narrative that makes the reader want
to jump from one point in history to the next in order to find out
what was really behind it all. While the book has many climaxes,
perhaps the greatest one is the enormous split in America during the
Vietnam War. We learn that even the policy makers themselves were
split on the justifications of the war. Yet, unlike many everyday
Americans, many of these RANDites had visited the battlefield; still
with that proof some protested and others supported the government
efforts to contain communism. Even the most brilliant Americans minds
where split through the controversy of the 1960's.

The Soldiers of Reason is worth the read if you are interested in
history and how specific policies were developed in the U.S. The book
dispels many of the myths about the RAND Corporation and points out
the difficulties the American policy makers had during the time. The
book points out how this very small idea developed new technology,
immense research, and intelligence; the very way America started small
with a group of people who had a certain idea.


Send Comments to