Part 1 of this series by Lowy Institute research staff here; part 2 here; part 3 here.

Insurgent Intellectual, edited by Brendan Taylor, Nicholas Farrelly and Sheryn Lee. Selected by Robert O'Neill, former Lowy Institute Board Director.

Professor Des Ball has well and truly earned his place in the front rank of Australia's strategic thinkers. Fortunately he loves living and working in Australia or he might have gone off to one of the best American universities or research institutes that have pursued him. Instead he has stuck to his last here and completed 38 years of work in the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the ANU.

This did not prevent him from achieving a high profile worldwide for the distinction of his work on the US-Soviet nuclear balance, arms control, and whether nuclear war is controllable or not. As issues changed during the Cold War, Des moved more into regional and Australian national defence topics while still retaining a broader vision. The result has been a tremendous flow of high quality ideas, research and publications which span the range of the security policy debates of the past forty years.

Des' colleagues have produced this book on his thinking as a tribute to his breadth, depth and success. It is also a powerful educator to all who might be interested in the main points of contention in the expert debates on defence since the mid-1960s. As a Festschrift it is unusually good, and for all of us interested in the intellectual dimensions of what we have been working on, it is a huge stimulus.