Thomas Ricks' new book identifies an urgent challenge facing the U.S. armed forces: how to produce good generals. But Ricks' solution -- regularly firing underperforming officers -- is based on flawed historical analysis and would do more harm than good.
Two new books -- one condemning the culture of liberal piety embraced by the Nobel Peace Prize, the other detailing the global influence of conservative civil society -- underscore the dangers of using Big Ideas to try to save the world.
Both supporters and detractors of China’s government pay a great deal of attention to the country’s high-profile dissidents. Yet as a new documentary about the artist and critic Ai Weiwei shows, the real challenge to today’s repressive leadership will not come from celebrity activists but from the public’s growing awareness of its rights and its increasing willingness to defend them.
In the latest installment of his epic biography of U.S. President Lyndon Johnson, Robert Caro reveals a man who obsessively sought power to assuage a misplaced sense of his own suffering -- but also to help those whose struggles were less abstract.
Discussions of Hispanic Americans in the media and on the campaign trail are warped by ignorance about who they really are and what they really want. A new book seeks to fill the gap with a data-rich portrait of this complex community.
According to Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson’s Why Nations Fail, economic development hinges on a country’s political institutions. But their monocausal analysis ignores other important factors (such as geography) that can also affect growth.
With Vladimir Putin back in power in Russia, understanding him is more important than ever. Two recent books attempt to unravel the mystery, adding new insight into the Russian leader's life and rule. But by trying to comprehend Putin through his personal history, they miss the true heart of the story: the state he built.
Democratic revolutionaries always confront the same problem: how to replace the old order without replicating its flaws. A new biography of the French revolutionary Maximilien Robespierre's reveals that today's radicals might learn from Robespierre's failure to resolve that dilemma.
As the global financial sector has swelled, the gap between the rich and the poor has grown. Three new books -- by James Galbraith, Robert Shiller, and Charles Ferguson -- come down differently on how much banks are to blame for inequality and what the government should do about it. Pushing for more accountability would be a good place to start.
Yet another bout of worry about long-term U.S. decline has generated yet another countersurge of defensive optimism. What new books by Robert Kagan and Robert Lieber miss, however, is the critical role played by multilateral institutions in the perpetuation of the United States’ global leadership.