Review Essays

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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.

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.

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