Books & Reviews

Review Essays

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.

Capsule Reviews

Capsule Review,
May/June
2014
John Waterbury

Al-Ali, whose father was a former Iraqi diplomat who fled into exile, returned to Iraq as a legal adviser to the United Nations during the U.S. occupation. All his attempts to reform the post-Saddam state failed; this book is his lament. He inveighs against the returned Iraqi exiles who now wield power in Iraq, such as Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki, criticizing them, along with Paul Bremer, who served as the head of the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority in 2003–4, for needlessly leading Iraq into sectarianism and regionalism. Much of al-Ali’s analysis is useful but not original.

Capsule Review,
May/June
2014
John Waterbury

These books present two very different takes on the most dynamic part of the Arab world. Cooke explores tribalism in the hypermodern Gulf; Wehrey examines the causes of the region’s Shiite-Sunni divide.

Capsule Review,
May/June
2014
Andrew J. Nathan

Conventional wisdom has long held that the Maoist system of totalitarianism differed from its Soviet and Eastern European counterparts by relying solely on the mobilized masses to very publicly dispense terror, rather than on a system of covert informants. That turns out to be wrong. Schoenhals discovered piles of documents in flea markets and used bookshops that reveal an extensive citizen-agent apparatus at work in urban areas under the direction of the Ministry of Public Security.

Foreign Affairs Books

Foreign Affairs Books are collections of seminal essays which first appeared in the pages of Foreign Affairs. Whether policy analysis, reportage or review essay each piece offers lasting value. Collectively these articles frame current debates over crucial issues in American foreign policy and world politics. You can find ordering information for Foreign Affairs Books on the individual book pages listed below.

Crisis in Ukraine sets the intellectual stage for understanding the turmoil in eastern Europe, what is really at stake, and what will come next.

This special collection pulls together a broad range of pieces that illuminate Iran’s turn toward negotiations, the pros and cons of the interim agreement, and the geopolitical and psychological intricacies of the crucial U.S.-Iranian-Israeli triangle.

Foreign Affairs has pulled together ten of our top print pieces and ten Web-only ones in this special collection. It includes everything from diplomacy and national security to economics to science and technology to culture, all done with our signature combination of expertise and accessibility.