Editors’ Picks

Political and Legal

Economic | Social | Environmental

by Ben S. Bernanke, Timothy F. Geithner, and Henry M. Paulson, Jr.

This collaboration by the three officials who led the fight in the United States against the financial crisis of 2008 presents a mature and revealing assessment of the meltdown and the U.S. government’s efforts to halt it.

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Military | Scientific | Technological

by Max Hastings

In this masterly and engrossing account, Hastings explores three decades of conflict in Vietnam from the bottom up as well as the top down, describing the chaos of battle in a war of ambushes and without obvious frontlines.

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The United States

by Allen C. Guelzo

Guelzo offers a concise, clear, and temperate account of the failure of Reconstruction. Never losing sight of the cause of newly freed slaves, he underscores southern governments’ weakness and the collapse of political will in the North.

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by Hal Brands and Charles Edel

Brands and Edel argue that U.S. foreign policy should be less about building utopia than about preventing disaster. Unless met with resolute American power, countries such as China, Iran, and Russia will return the world to an age of catastrophic war.

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edited by James M. Banner, Jr.

The book is a fascinating glimpse into misconduct by every administration from George Washington’s through Barack Obama’s—and a look at the disappointing weaknesses of the remedies available to deter or punish presidential malfeasance.

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Western Europe

by Sophia Besch, Ian Bond, and Camino Mortera-Martinez

The authors explain how sober Brexit negotiations with the EU could preserve most current forms of cooperation under another name—but that the changes that must occur will generally disadvantage the United Kingdom.

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Western Hemisphere

by Camilla Townsend

Townsend rejects the portrayal of the Aztecs as driven by blood lust, superstition, and fatalism. Her book is a landmark masterpiece, powerful in its precision and subtle in its weaving of tragedy and glory.

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by Valeria Luiselli

In this novel, Luiselli combines literary brilliance, empathetic politics, and a dazzling imagination. She envisions the American Southwest as desolate and haunted by genocide, a xenophobic wasteland occupied by a brutal border patrol.

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by Eduardo Engel, Delia Ferreira Rubio, Daniel Kaufmann, Armando Lara Yaffar, Jorge Londoño Saldarriaga, Beth Simone Noveck, Mark Pieth, and Susan Rose-Ackerman

This all-star team of eight governance and anticorruption experts has produced a powerful indictment of Latin American institutions. The authors condemn both public and private elites for undermining good policymaking and entrenching impunity.

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Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Republics

by Ofer Fridman

The modern concept of war fought by multiple means, on and off the battlefield, originated with the U.S. military. The current, more expansive Russian version reflects what its Russian authors believe were the West’s own methods of waging the Cold War, which they now see being used against Russia once again.

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Middle East

Asia and Pacific

Africa

by Mick Moore, Wilson Prichard, and Odd-Helge Fjeldstad

Taxation in Africa remains poorly understood. The authors of this concise and masterly introduction to the topic go some way toward filling that gap. They explain why African tax systems are highly regressive, with poorer citizens paying much higher rates than richer ones.

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