Despite the present-day attraction of ‘security’ as an attention-grabbing word in politics and the public sphere, the study of security is a missing chapter in many state-of-the-art surveys of historical literature. Its central relevance for the modern statehood has been obvious for centuries in the European context. In Thomas Hobbes's mid-seventeenth-century Leviathan, written in the context of the devastating English civil war and previous religious wars, government was given the fundamental role in guaranteeing security. Over the course of the twentieth century, intellectuals have constantly debated Hobbes's ideas and concepts about security and societal peace. Especially after the second world war, security has found major attention in the fields of International Relations and its sub-discipline security studies. Security studies evolved during the nuclear age and were originally foremost about the study of the threat, use and control of military force, as one proponent of security studies, Stephen Walt, stated. They were mainly concerned with military strategy and giving policy advice to the military. Since the cold war, the study of security has come a long way. Most importantly, as Emma Rothschild has reminded us, during the past two decades or so, the concept was first extended downwards from states to individuals, upwards from the nation to the biosphere and horizontally from the military to the economic, social, political and environmental. It is the reflection of this dynamic change in theory, methodology and empirical research that connects most of the books under review in this article.