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About The Book

***Winner of the Financial Times Business Book of the Year award***
***Selected as one of Barack Obama's Favourite Books of 2023***

'Pulse quickening. A nonfiction thriller - equal parts The China Syndrome and Mission Impossible' New York Times


An epic account of the decades-long battle to control the world's most critical resource—microchip technology

Power in the modern world - military, economic, geopolitical - is built on a foundation of computer chips. America has maintained its lead as a superpower because it has dominated advances in computer chips and all the technology that chips have enabled. (Virtually everything runs on chips: cars, phones, the stock market, even the electric grid.) Now that edge is in danger of slipping, undermined by the naïve assumption that globalising the chip industry and letting players in Taiwan, Korea and Europe take over manufacturing serves America's interests. Currently, as Chip War reveals, China, which spends more on chips than any other product, is pouring billions into a chip-building Manhattan Project to catch up to the US.

In Chip War economic historian Chris Miller recounts the fascinating sequence of events that led to the United States perfecting chip design, and how faster chips helped defeat the Soviet Union (by rendering the Russians’ arsenal of precision-guided weapons obsolete). The battle to control this industry will shape our future. China spends more money importing chips than buying oil, and they are China's greatest external vulnerability as they are fundamentally reliant on foreign chips. But with 37 per cent of the global supply of chips being made in Taiwan, within easy range of Chinese missiles, the West's fear is that a solution may be close at hand.

'A riveting history. Features vivid accounts and colourful characters' Financial Times

'Fascinating…A historian by training, Miller walks the reader through decades of semiconductor history – a subject that comes to life thanks to [his] use of colorful anecdotes' Forbes

'Indispensable' Niall Ferguson

About The Author

Photograph by George Marshall

Chris Miller is Assistant Professor of International History at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He also serves as Eurasia Director at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, a think tank in Philadelphia, and as a Director at Greenmantle, a New York and London-based macroeconomic and geopolitical consultancy. He is the author of three previous books, and he frequently writes for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and other outlets. He received a PhD in history from Yale University and an AB in history from Harvard University. Currently, he resides in Cambridge, MA.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (August 31, 2023)
  • Length: 464 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781398504127

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Raves and Reviews

'Miller [argues that] the future of humanity hinges on the "chip war" between two ecosystems vying to design and make the most advanced micro-processors - that of the United States and its friends (including Taiwan), and that of the People’s Republic of China. . . The result is an indispensable book.'

– Niall Ferguson, author of Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe

‘A nonfiction thrillerequal parts “The China Syndrome” and “Mission Impossible"… If any book can make general audiences and finally recognize how [the silicon age] rivals the atomic age for drama and import — Chip War is it’

– New York Times

'Chip War is essential for understanding our modern world…With a sweeping narrative that captures the people who risked a lot and made it all happen, Chris Miller tells how our chip-powered world has been shaped by constant battles - among innovators and technologies, among companies, among countries, and now, of critical importance, in the great power competition between the United States and China that will define the future of geopolitics.'

– Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer-prize winning author of The Prize: the Epic Struggle for Oil, Money and Power

'A riveting history of the semiconductor...a compelling book that explains a very complicated industry in digestible fashion...His volume could not be better timed.'

– Demetri Sevastopulo, Financial Times

'A remarkable book…The devil is in the details, and it is there where Chris Miller is at his best…An eye-popping work, a unique combination of economic and technological - and strategic - analysis.'

– Paul Kennedy, author of The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers

'Chip War makes a whale of a case: that the chip industry now determines both the structure of the global economy and the balance of geopolitical power. But the book is not a polemic. Rather, it’s a non-fiction thriller - equal parts The China Syndrome and Mission Impossible... If any book can make general audiences grok the silicon age - and finally recognise how it rivals the atomic age for drama and import - Chip War is it.

– Virginia Heffernan, New York Times

'The battle for supremacy in semiconductors is one of the most important stories in geopolitics, national security and economic prosperity. But it's also been one of the least well understood. Thankfully, we now have Chip War to give us a clear view and sharp read on this essential subject.'

– Andrew McAfee, author of More from Less

'Chris Miller's brain works like the computer chip he writes about. It is packed with dizzying, complex circuitry that results in sparkling clarity. He has written not only an amazing story, but also one of overwhelming importance that is both taut in style and epic in scope.'

– Robert D. Kaplan, author of The Revenge of Geography

'Outstanding. Miller's history of the chip covers all angles: technological, financial and especially political. No book better discusses the intricacies of lithography techniques - and how they implicate global security. He has written the go-to reference on one of the most important industries today.'

– Dan Wang, Technology Analyst at Gavekal Dragonomics

'In Chip War, Chris Miller has captured the essence of the most critical and strategic element of the 21st century geostrategic competition. This book is brilliantly and entertainingly written, deeply convincing, and grounded in both history and technology. A tour de force!'

– Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret); 16th Supreme Allied Commander of NATO

'Terrific…With extraordinary breadth and absorbing storytelling, Chris Miller traces the global history of the chips that rule the world. A timely tale of how we got to now and the high-stakes politics that will determine what’s next.'

– Margaret O’Mara, author of The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America

'An important wake-up call with solid historical context'

– Kirkus

'An insightful history. Well-researched and incisive, this is a noteworthy look at the intersection of technology, economics, and politics'

– Publishers Weekly

'This insightful book is key to understanding the chip's power in shaping all aspects of society in the U.S. and the world at large'

– Booklist

'Semi-conductors may be to the twenty-first century what oil was to the twentieth. If so, the history of semi-conductors will be the history of the twenty-first century. This is the best chronicle of that history so far that we have had or are likely to have for a very long time. If you care about technology, or America’s future prosperity, or its continuing security, this is a book you have to read.'

– Lawrence H. Summers, 71st US Secretary of the Treasury

Chris Miller’s riveting history of semiconductors explains why America is feeling vulnerable

– Financial Times

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