Review Essays

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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.

Review Essay,
Nov/Dec
2013
Max Hastings

Ian Buruma’s history of 1945 captures the moral, social, and political confusions that pervaded every nation after World War II, in which factional rivalries and hatreds overlaid the confrontation between the Allies and the Axis. Yet for all its horrors and disappointments, 1945 was also a time of hope and purpose.

Review Essay,
Nov/Dec
2013
Enrique Krauze

With sensitivity and balance, Amy Greenberg's new book on the Mexican-American War introduces the general reader to this remote and largely forgotten drama, which established the deeply unequal relationship between Mexico and the United States that persists today.

Review Essay,
Sept/Oct
2013
Taeku Lee

Ira Katznelson’s history of the New Deal digs deeper than conventional accounts, detailing how Franklin Roosevelt’s agenda relied on the support of segregationist southern Democrats. “Without the South,” Katznelson asserts, “there could have been no New Deal.”

Review Essay,
Jul/Aug
2013
Jeffrey Goldberg

As two new books detail, Israel's ultra-Orthodox community has formed a partisan bloc able to manipulate the country's political system even as it makes little effort to hide its contempt for secular democracy. But it is not too late for Israeli centrists to push back.

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