Review Essays

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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.

Review Essay,
Jul/Aug
2013
J. Bradford DeLong

The global economic downturn is hardly over, and without a more dramatic set of actions, the United States is likely to suffer another major crisis in the years ahead. A new book by Alan Blinder may be the best general volume on the recession to date, but it paints an overly optimistic portrait of the current situation.

Review Essay,
Jul/Aug
2013
Adam S. Posen

Central bankers have always carried a mystique far beyond justification, whether they are cast as malicious, incomprehensible, or all-powerful. Neil Irwin's new book on monetary policy during the financial crisis should dispel these myths once and for all.

Review Essay,
Jul/Aug
2013
William E. Scheuerman

War makes for strange bedfellows, and among the oddest pairings that World War II produced was that between "Wild Bill" Donovan's Office of Strategic Services and the emigre German Jewish Marxists he hired to teach Washington about the Nazis.

Review Essay,
Jul/Aug
2013
John Delury

A new book offers useful insights into the North Korean mindset, but it overlooks the regime's durability and the reformist bent of its new leader, Kim Jong-un. The regime is here to stay, and the United States should pursue more peaceful relations.

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