Editors’ Picks

Political and Legal

by Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes

In this original and thought-provoking study, Krastev and Holmes argue that the retreat from liberal democracy in eastern Europe and elsewhere is rooted in liberalism’s post-1989 global triumph, which cemented a singular model of modernity rather than making room for alternatives.

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by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson

Only in rare circumstances have states managed to produce free societies, Acemoglu and Robinson argue. It was in medieval Europe that states began to find this balance, and since then history has reinforced the notion that liberty is deeply contingent and often ephemeral.

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Economic | Social | Environmental

by Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo

Banerjee and Duflo, 2019 winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics, cover a wide swath of structural and policy issues, consistently emphasizing the importance of dignity for people from all walks of life.

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Military | Scientific | Technological

by Alexander Mikaberidze

In this extraordinary work of scholarship, Mikaberidze provides vital context and global perspective to the epic struggle between France and its European competitors until Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo in 1815.

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The United States

Western Europe

by Anu Bradford

Bradford demolishes myths about Europe’s declining international standing by showing how the European Union’s stringent regulations raise the standards of producers across the globe. This may well be the single most important book on Europe’s influence to appear in a decade.

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by Wolfgang Ischinger

Germany is the only major country that consistently articulates and often acts on a genuinely progressive vision of the global multilateral order. No clearer statement of this pragmatically optimistic outlook can be found than the one elaborated in this important book.

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Western Hemisphere

Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Republics

by Larry Wolff

In this enthralling account, Wolff traces the way U.S. President Woodrow Wilson’s quest to bring national self-determination to eastern Europe clashed with the messy reality of historical frontiers and political rivalries in the region.

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Middle East

by Ben Hubbard

Hubbard provides a fascinating, well-reported, and compellingly recounted story of the rise of Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s impatient young crown prince, and his increasingly brazen concentration of power.

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by Thanassis Cambanis, Dina Esfandiary, Sima Ghaddar, Michael Wahid Hanna, Aron Lund, and Renad Mansour

Cambanis and his colleagues have produced a provocative discussion about a particularly challenging kind of armed nonstate actor in the Middle East: the “hybrid actor” who can operate in concert with the state or in competition with it.

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Asia and Pacific

by Daniel C. Mattingly

Looking at the Chinese state’s relationship with rural society, Mattingly describes a dynamic yet delicately balanced system in which the state recruits low-level officials from within local kinship and religious networks.

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by Owen Bennett-Jones

In this intimate portrait of both the Bhutto family and Pakistani politics, Bennett-Jones delivers a complex Shakespearean tale of loyalty and feuding, insecurity and arrogance, and jealousy and solidarity spanning three generations.

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Africa

by Max Siollun

Siollun is the premier expert on the role of the military in Nigeria. This sharply written and well-informed book focuses on the period between 1993 and 1999 that saw the rise of a particularly toxic politics in which senior military officers constantly maneuvered to maintain their power.

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by Sarah G. Phillips

Phillips’s nuanced and provocative study is the most compelling account yet of the recent history of Somaliland, the territory that unilaterally broke away from Somalia in 1991. Her explanation of the country’s success weaves together domestic and international dynamics.

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