Review Essays

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Review Essay,
May/June
2014
Tyler Cowen

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

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,
Mar/Apr
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,
Mar/Apr
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,
Mar/Apr
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,
Mar/Apr
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.

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