Review Essays

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Review Essay,
2014
Deborah R. Coen

A new book by Geoffrey Parker examines how the Little Ice Age of the seventeenth century contributed to an era of war and upheaval. But it offers a blinkered view of the implications for current environmental policy.

Review Essay,
2014
Jack Shafer

In his new book, Rahul Sagar asks when it is legitimate for a government official to disclose secrets. Although conventional, his answer is far too restrictive -- as the case of Edward Snowden shows.

Review Essay,
2014
Minxin Pei

As the United States and China try to keep their relationship from exploding, one might think that leading technocratic experts in both countries would be a force for calm rather than conflict. A new collection of essays dispels any such hope.

Review Essay,
2014
Jay M. Harris

A masterful new biography of Maimonides by Moshe Halbertal reveals why the medieval Jewish sage's work still matters: it represents a powerful bastion against the retreat from rationality.

Review Essay,
Jan/Feb
2014
Michael Clemens and Justin Sandefur

A new book by Paul Collier argues for a global system of coercive quotas on people moving from poorer countries to richer ones. But instead of presenting a convincing case for a moderate middle path, the book offers an egregious collection of empirical and logical errors about immigration’s supposed negative consequences.

Review Essay,
Jan/Feb
2014
Laura Secor

Two new books show that the Iranian revolution was not quite a historical rupture. The tensions and energies that animate Iranian society today are not new; they have simply become more visible.

Review Essay,
Jan/Feb
2014
Gregory D. Koblentz

Eric Schlosser’s Command and Control is really two books in one. The first is a techno-thriller, narrating a shocking nuclear accident in gripping detail. The second is more analytic, exploring the challenge at the heart of nuclear command-and-control systems: how to ensure that nuclear weapons are both reliable and safe.

Review Essay,
Jan/Feb
2014
Victor Pérez-Díaz

Spain’s surprising cultural richness under General Francisco Franco reflected the reality that for Franco, an opportunistic authoritarian eager to get along with the West, governing Spain meant allowing for limited pluralism and making concessions to a population ever more used to a modicum of wealth and freedom.

Review Essay,
Nov/Dec
2013
John Pomfret

A new book features China experts' recollections of their first trips to the country. It turns out that Western visitors -- scholars and tourists alike -- still cling to their own personal notions of the “authentic” China.

Review Essay,
Nov/Dec
2013
Pankaj Mishra

According to the celebrated British historian Perry Anderson’s new book, India’s democracy is actually a sham. Anderson’s harsh Marxist critique is convincing in many ways, but undercut by his indifference to the distinctive characteristics of India’s politics and economy.

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