Fred Kaplan (journalist)

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Fred M. Kaplan
Born (1954-07-04) July 4, 1954 (age 65)
Hutchinson, Kansas
OccupationAuthor, journalist
ResidenceBrooklyn, New York
Alma materOberlin College,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
SpouseBrooke Gladstone (m. 1983)

Fred M. Kaplan (born July 4, 1954) is an American author and journalist. His weekly "War Stories" column for Slate magazine covers international relations and U.S. foreign policy.


Kaplan was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, to Julius E. and Ruth (Gottfried) Kaplan.[1] He received a bachelor's degree (1976) from Oberlin College and a master of science (1978) and Ph.D. (1983) in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[1] From 1978 to 1980, he was a foreign and defense policy adviser to U.S. Congressman Les Aspin (D, Wisconsin).

Before writing for Slate, Kaplan was a correspondent at the Boston Globe, reporting from Washington, D.C.; Moscow; and New York City. In 1982, he contributed to "War and Peace in the Nuclear Age," a Sunday Boston Globe Magazine special report on the U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms race that received the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 1983. He has also written for other publications, including The New York Times, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and Scientific American.

Kaplan has authored several books on military strategy. His 1983 book on the individuals who created American nuclear strategy in the late 1940s and '50s, The Wizards of Armageddon, won the Washington Monthly Political Book of the Year award. He published Daydream Believers in 2008,[2] a work which analyzes the George W. Bush administration's use of Cold War tactics in post-9/11 military activities. He criticizes the administration for pursuing policies he believes to be unilateral and violate prohibitions on pre-emptive warfare. In late 2012, Kaplan published The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War,[3] which examines how General David Petraeus attempted to implement new thinking in Afghanistan and Iraq regarding the traditional clear and hold counter-insurgency strategy, and the shortcomings of this strategy, its intellectual underpinnings, and the individuals who defined it.[4]

In 2009, Kaplan published 1959: The Year Everything Changed.[5] The book argues that the course of world history was not changed by the counter-culture movements of the 1960s but rather by artistic, scientific, political, and economics events occurring in the year 1959.


Kaplan is an enthusiast of high-end audio and video equipment, and has reported from the Consumer Electronics Show on new technologies in this area,[6] as well as penning shopping-advice columns on which new televisions offer the best value.[7]

He has authored articles covering jazz and hi-fi equipment for the magazine Stereophile.[citation needed]


Kaplan married Brooke Gladstone, an editor and journalist, in 1983. The couple has twin daughters.


  • Dubious Specter: A Skeptical Look at the Soviet Nuclear Threat, Institute for Policy Studies, 1980, ISBN 9780897580236
  • The Wizards of Armageddon. Simon & Schuster. 1983. ISBN 9780804718844.
  • Daydream Believers. John Wiley & Sons. 2008. ISBN 9780470121184.
  • 1959: The Year Everything Changed. John Wiley & Sons. 2009. ISBN 9780470730270.
  • The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War, Simon and Schuster, 2013, ISBN 9781451642667
  • Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War. Simon and Schuster. 2016. ISBN 9781476763279.
Select essays



  • Contemporary Authors. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1998.

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