Review Essays

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Review Essay,
Daniel Falkiner

The new book A Troublesome Inheritance confirms that the basic biological facts of race and human evolution are indisputable. But at certain moments, the book ceases to be a scientific inquiry into race and becomes something far more troubling.

Review Essay,
SEPT/OCT
2014
John Osburg

Will Chinese economic development ultimately lead to political development? In his new book, Age of Ambition, the journalist Evan Osnos discovers what might be the missing link: the emergence in Chinese society of a search for dignity.

Review Essay,
SEPT/OCT
2014
Ananya Vajpeyi

A successful right-wing campaign in India to suppress the work of Wendy Doniger, a prominent scholar of Hinduism, suggests that conservative voices are gaining the upper hand in the country’s long struggle between secular liberalism and religious nationalism.

Review Essay,
SEPT/OCT
2014
Paul Kennedy

Lawrence Freedman’s massive, ambitious new book, Strategy, offers a personal take on an important term, one so overused that it has become almost meaningless.

Review Essay,
Tansen Sen

Since at least the first half of the twentieth century, Chinese and Indian elites have justified present-day friendship between China and India on the basis of allegedly harmonious ancient ties. But an increasing number of scholars are acknowledging that this narrative drastically distorts historical reality.

Review Essay,
JUL/AUG
2014
Joseph S. Nye Jr.

During the early Cold War, the Dulles and Bundy brothers played critical roles in shaping U.S. foreign policy. New biographies make clear that the all four men had some common ideological blindspots. But how much of their worldview and behavior can be attributed to their WASP establishment backgrounds is an open question.

Review Essay,
JUL/AUG
2014
Keith Gessen

Two recent books about Soviet history help answer questions raised by the ongoing crisis in Ukraine: What is wrong with Russia and why, despite two decades of optimistic predictions that it was on track to become a “normal” country, has it never become one?

Review Essay,
JUL/AUG
2014
Peter Hoffmann

In profiling two leading figures in the German resistance, Elisabeth Sifton and Fritz Stern have revealed an important truth about the anti-Nazi underground: although those who opposed Hitler often had motives unrelated to anti-Semitism, the most influential resisters were driven primarily by a shared horror at the mass murder of Jews.

Review Essay,
May/June
2014
Margarita Estévez-Abe

David Pilling's useful book, Bending Adversity, takes a relatively hopeful view of the conservative nationalism advocated by Japanese president Shinzo Abe. But a more thorough accounting of Japan’s recent past and the country's political system would suggest a less sanguine outlook.

Review Essay,
May/June
2014
Tyler Cowen

Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-first Century is a truly important book, a groundbreaking work of analysis of economic inequality. It is frequently brilliant, but also flawed, and its policy recommendations are wildly impractical.

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