Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Shadow War: Inside Russia's and China's Secret Operations to Defeat America” as Want to Read:
The Shadow War: Inside Russia's and China's Secret Operations to Defeat America
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Shadow War: Inside Russia's and China's Secret Operations to Defeat America

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  700 ratings  ·  107 reviews
CNN’s Chief National Security Correspondent reveals the invisible fronts of twenty-first century warfare and identifies the ongoing battles being waged—often without the public’s full knowledge—from disinformation campaigns to advanced satellite weaponry.

The United States is currently under attack from multiple adversaries—yet most Americans have no idea of the dangers thr
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 19th 2020 by Harper Paperbacks (first published May 14th 2019)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Shadow War, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Shadow War

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  700 ratings  ·  107 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Shadow War: Inside Russia's and China's Secret Operations to Defeat America
Chris Sosa
Jim Sciutto presents a solid overview of the "shadow war" being waged against the United States but offers dangerously militarized solutions that exacerbate the problem.

I found myself repeatedly frustrated by the author's overt deference to military analysts without regard for other areas of expertise in international relations. Sciutto writes as though the threats facing the U.S. from its adversaries represent a unique aggression toward a benevolent power. He offers no serious acknowledgment o
May 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Informative and interesting, but paints a dangerously incomplete picture of the world.

Jim Sciutto's book is a very interesting look at the tactics employed by two of America's rivals - Russia & China - to challenge American global dominance. Sciutto's theory is that both nations are employing a form of assymetric warfare designed to challenge US interests, but to stay "below the threshold" that would elicit a powerful (presumably military) response.

In order to support this idea, he cites sever
Michael J.
It’s a very telling question: “Are we losing a war few of us realize we’re fighting?”

Yes, as Jim Sciutto’s very detailed and disturbing book reveals, and it’s mostly a war without a physical battle but with more devastating potential for disruption of the United States and Western civilization.

This is the nature of conflict in the 21st century - - land grabs extending the disputed borders of both Russia and China, exercises in outer space near the satellites we depend on, undersea activity nea
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As an Obama fan, I found myself surprised to agree with the author's critical take on Obama's foreign policy stance on Russia and China. And I found myself agreeing with Trump that we need a "Space Force" (I'm sure Trump and I disagree on the details, but I have done a 180 on my assumptions about conflict in space). Those were just two of the issues I changed my mind about while reading this insightful, fair, and forward-looking take on some of the conflicts that will shape the next decades. Gre ...more
Liz Norell
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I spent my weekend reading The Shadow War. When I would come across a particularly astonishing (let’s be honest -- HORRIFYING) fact, I’d share it with my life partner Doug. By Sunday afternoon, he was saying, “I’m REALLY READY for you to be done with that book!” Suffice it to say, Jim Sciutto’s news is Not. Good.

The book came out in May 2019, and I happened to be in DC during the launch of the book. One Saturday afternoon (May 18th), Sciutto and Wolf Blitzer (both CNN anchors/reporters) were spe
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author is a CNN reporter who has been to many places, and even went to the freezing Artic in a nuclear submarine and spoke to the naval officers. This is quite an eye-opening report. The world has morphed into a phase where Great Powers fight shadow wars with each other:

1. Russian annexation of Crimea with the little green men. Ultimately a Malaysian civilian aeroplane was tragically shot down.
2. China building a naval base on an artificial island.
3. China hacked into Boeing and others to
Jun 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, policy
This was an interesting read. Sciutto has criticisms of both the Obama and Trump administrations' handling of foreign policy, and I don't think the book is particularly biased on a Republican/Democrat spectrum. It reads fairly well, though there are some repetitive passages. The book basically goes over the many provocative things Russia and China have been doing for the past 30 years, and explaining how the US has not come up with great ways of dealing with the aggressions. The "Shadow War" is ...more
Hit No
Jun 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a good book but excellent newspaper article (just longer).
It deals with current situation so it has and Expiration date 2019
Aaron VanAlstine
Good reporting. Essentially a series of long-form articles on different national security topics and aimed at the general public.
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written by Jim Sciutto, CNN's chief national security corespondent, in its first chapters the book promises a lot of exciting revelations about the "Shadow War" being fought between the global superpowers on all fronts - kamikaze satellites, submarine drones, laser weapons to name a few. Reads incredibly well.

While the book slows down in the second part and grows a bit repetitive, it's a must-read which will definitely challenge the way you look at global politics and current events. The sole f
Budd Margolis
Really fascinating collection of the state of war we are now engaged in with Russia & China. Covers what has been going on and how we got to where we are today with hacks and electoral manipulation, divisive politics and hate memes. After reading this I am still mystified as to how to resolve the new cyber warfare being wages successfully, and inexpensively, against us. Ultimately we are terribly vulnerable to attack and are doing far to little about it. Great book. Hard to put down.
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened-2020
Sciutto's examination of Russian and Chinese military activity over the past few years does not provide much new insight or cover any new ground for readers who have followed the news closely. I wish I could say that it was a fine introduction for people who would like to catch up on the current events covered in this book, but it would just provide a misleading picture of Russian and Chinese ambitions. However, this would be a fine book for readers who are familiar with other aspects of US/Chin ...more
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I can't imagine not having a bias when working with several people in the intelligence and military sectors, I am glad to get a somewhat-layman view of the goings-on there. Mr. Sciutto has done a great job of weaving together disparate elements to form a coherent narrative that speaks to his compelling argument regarding China and Russia. It also makes me a little mad that these things are happening with very little in the way of anything being done about them.

Over and over again, Mr. Sciu
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The Shadow War is the red pill to understanding the modern Cold War of today.

Jim Sciutto describes each ongoing battle in a casualty free war, one in which that the United States is losing. A very broad and detailed picture is painted of the ongoing foreign policy engagements, such a detailed picture in fact, that it is even unknown by the majority of politics (regardless of party), and even some senior military commanders.

Community Discussion Commentary: It seems the larger portion of critiq
He’s such a good storyteller. It’s a fast read that makes you want to keep reading, very hard to put down.

It reminded me a lot of Michael Lewis’s The Fifth Risk. That was an examination of Executive branch departments, this is more national security and defense, primarily in relation to China and Russia, but they both use stories and the people who lived them to highlight overlooked and important parts of our government. Parts that most people are unaware of but are critically important and may
Jul 16, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: espionage
I'm finally finished. Wow. For only being 281 pages, that was some work. That is a shame because the information shared and arguments made are legitimate and important.

To get the negative out of the way, here's the problem: it is written like a script for CNN. Go figure, as that's his day job. That makes the first half of the book tedious, repetitive, and tediously repetitive. Also, the book is repetitively tedious, at least in the first half. Maybe he had writer's block or the coffee didn't ki
Jim Geraghty
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At the end of 2011, Jim Sciutto moved to Beijing to become chief of staff and senior policy adviser to U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, after spending a decade as ABC News senior foreign correspondent. After his two-year stint in China, Sciutto returned to the world of journalism and was named CNN’s chief national-security correspondent. This move from a position in the Obama administration to a major cable-news organization led to familiar complaints that Sciutto was biased, and that he wou ...more
Jan 19, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book makes it obvious that the government is facilitating in lies. Because... the title is really the obvious "dead give away".

No country can have a government being in at "a War" with another country's government, and then... allow the government's people to facility reports, books, and analysis in regards to how the governments in dispute (in war), are in "attacks and Tactic" of gaining advantage of the other country's government.

This book makes it obvious that life and the world we liv
John Findlay
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a real eye-opener for me. Sciutto describes the multiple ways that countries like Russia and China are attacking America while staying below the threshold of provoking a war. Russia annexed Crimea from the Ukraine, attacked eastern Ukraine, and hacked the 2016 US Presidential election. China is stealing US technology and manufacturing militarized man-made islands in contested waters. Some of the attacks read like science-fiction, but are real threats against US communications, from ...more
As usual, caveat that I didn't walk into this book with much prior knowledge, although I did have passing familiarity with most of the topics mentioned here. I had heard Sciutto on two interviews (one on Axe, one on Recode) and thought he was pretty good there. The book does a good job jumping between his personal experience/observations, the opinions of experts, and the historical/factual record.

The basic thesis of the book is that China and Russia (but really mostly Russia) are out to get the
Randall Russell
Jan 04, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this book offers some interesting perspectives on aggression by the Chinese and the Russians that falls short of outright war, but threatens the long-term security of the US. One example of this strategy is the expansion and militarization of islands off of China that are considered to be in international waters, and that China previously agreed not to militarize. The author contends that the US response to these aggressions has been weak, and this has encouraged both China and Russia to ...more
Larkin Tackett
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We're in the middle of Shadow War ("a strategy of attacking an adversary (with cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, threats to space assets, operations to spark domestic division, and territorial acquisition) while remaining just below the threshold of conventional war.) CNN's Chief National Security Correspondent argues that we are not winning it. I learned a lot from the book, like the specific failures of the FBI to truly notify DNC leadership about the Russian threat or the DNC staff typ ...more
Tim Lightfoot
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Madeleine Albright has publicly apologized for criticizing Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential campaign for his claims that Russia is the United States' "number one geopolitical foe." Obama mocked Romney saying "the 1980's are calling for their foreign policy back." Anyone reading The Shadow War would agree Albright's apology was warranted and Obama owes Mitt one as well. Unless of course 44 believes China is US Public Enemy #1...a claim he could certainly make to avoid acquiescing to the j ...more
Jun 17, 2020 added it
Shocked an author gave a nod to ADM Cecil Haney 👏🏽 he was the most undetected powerful man no one talked about or seemed to notice. Been peeped his overall lay low was too real years ago.

Stealing intellectual property is the name of the main game - lie cheat or steal to be #1, who is surprised or really cares at this point?

Can’t give a rating right now, this book almost found its way out an open window for blaming the bureau in chapter 7. <— that would be the definition of ___*bleeeep*__ privi
Evan Harkins
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5/5 stars. Jim Sciutto breaks down the ongoing power struggle between the US, Russia, and China, and the actions Russia and China have taken and contribute to take to undermine the US. These actions range from cyber attacks like Russia conducted in Estonia in 2007, to the use of paramilitary forces in Ukraine in the 2014 annexation of Crimea, to China turning reefs in the South China Sea into islands used to project naval power. Other topics are security in space, election hacking, and submari ...more
John Fredrickson
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, cultural
This book is a very disturbing account of some of Russia's and China's activities in recent years. The reported activities are quite extensive, ranging from the little green men of the Ukraine, airliners downed by Russian missiles, intellectual property theft, creation of islands in international waters, and election hacking and interference.

While this list is extensive and very interesting, what is really frightening is the portrait of the feckless US political infrastructure that the reader g
Matthew Aujla
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Closing quote of the book...

"My personal motivation in writing this book is far from political. I am writing this solely as a concerned American. I've always thought that living overseas cements, rather than weakens, your patriotism. Yes, you can often better identify your country's weaknesses from abroad. But you can also better recognize its strengths. In its vision, there is no question that America has far more to offer the world than China and Russia. The Shadow War is in large part a battl
Stephen McDonald
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shadow Wars concerns a number of actions China and Russia are taking past and present which are undermining American interests. These actions such as China’s island building along reefs in the South China sea or Russia’s submarine activities under the shrinking polar ice cap are running under our radar screen of actions that deserve a direct response but they are military moves designed to weaken our hand in the next conflict.

Sciutto blames in part our desire through several administrations to f
Lenny Herman
Many American's seem to show no interest in foreign policy, and what is happening outside of our country. Politics seems to be about domestic issues, but what is happening with our relations with friends and foes, seems to be ignored, and mishandled. The Shadow War is going on and deserves more attention. I gave this book 4 stars because many of the events are covered in the news, but are being ignored. But the strength of the book is that the US has no long term strategic plan to deal with prob ...more
William Brown
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very scary book! Want to know why Washington is picking on little old Tik Tok? Sciutto goes into great detail about the low key war both the Chinese and Russians have been waging against us and all their local neighbors for several decades now and winning -- military and industrial espionage, the Chinese take over of the South China Sea, Hong Kong, stealing plans and building copies of our latest fighter jets, the islands they've built and garrisoned 600 miles off their coast, and on and on. T ...more
« previous 1 3 4 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Kill Chain: How Emerging Technologies Threaten America's Military Dominance
  • Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare
  • The Fifth Domain: Defending Our Country, Our Companies, and Ourselves in the Age of Cyber Threats
  • Dawn of the Code War: America's Battle Against Russia, China, and the Rising Global Cyber Threat
  • Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World
  • Information Wars: How We Lost the Global Battle Against Disinformation and What We Can Do about It
  • Stealth War: How China Took Over While America's Elite Slept
  • The New Rules of War: Victory in the Age of Durable Disorder
  • The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America
  • The Targeter: My Life in the CIA, Hunting Terrorists and Challenging the White House
  • Burn-In: A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution
  • Rigged: America, Russia, and One Hundred Years of Covert Electoral Interference
  • Russians Among Us: Sleeper Cells, Ghost Stories, and the Hunt for Putin's Spies
  • Compromised: Counterintelligence and the Threat of Donald J. Trump
  • The Spymasters: How the CIA Directors Shape History and the Future
  • Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War
  • Undaunted: My Fight Against America’s Enemies, at Home and Abroad
  • The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Jim Sciutto is CNN’s Chief National Security Correspondent and CNN Newsroom Anchor based in Washington, D.C. He reports, anchors. and provides analysis across the network's programs and platforms on all aspects of U.S. national security, including foreign policy, the military, and the intelligence community. Prior to joining CNN, Sciutto served as ABC News' senior foreign correspondent. - Amazon b ...more

News & Interviews

Juneteenth, observed on June 19th each year, is an American holiday commemorating the day in 1865 when the last enslaved people in Galveston,...
78 likes · 15 comments
“Today military planners in Moscow and Beijing openly discuss a whole range of unconventional means to reduce America’s military advantage and influence in peacetime and, if need be, in war. For them hybrid warfare is not just asymmetric, it is never-ending. As General Gerasimov wrote, ominously, Russia’s strategy involves creating “a permanent front through the entire territory of the enemy state.” 0 likes
More quotes…