Fred Kaplan (journalist)

This article is about the international relations journalist. For the biographer, see Fred Kaplan (biographer).
Fred M. Kaplan
Born (1954-07-04) July 4, 1954
Hutchinson, Kansas
Occupation Author, journalist
Alma mater Oberlin College,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Spouse Brooke Gladstone
Children 2

Fred M. Kaplan (born July 4, 1954) is an American author and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. His weekly "War Stories" column for Slate magazine covers international relations and U.S. foreign policy. He has no relation to the American journalist Robert D. Kaplan.


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 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. He was a member of a team that won a 1983 Pulitzer Prize for a special Sunday Boston Globe Magazine article, "War and Peace in the Nuclear Age", on the U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms race. 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, 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.[3]

In 2009, Kaplan published 1959: The Year Everything Changed.[4] 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,[5] as well as penning shopping-advice columns on which new televisions offer the best value.[6]

He often writes about jazz and hi-fi equipment for Stereophile.


Kaplan married Brooke Gladstone, an editor and journalist, in 1983.[1] As of 2012, she co-hosts the weekend show On the Media on NPR. The couple have twin daughters.


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