FPI’s Books of 2014

Leave a Comment

FPI is gearing up for lots of interrupting in 2015. To kickstart the exciting year ahead, let’s change the ratio on your [electronic] bookshelf. Below is a compilation of some biblio-brainfood served up by women this year. As always, holler with recs!

Peaceland: Conflict Resolution and the Everyday Politics of International Intervention BookCover
Severine Autesserre
FPI Q&A
“Peaceland is a pathbreaking contribution to our understanding of the contemporary practice of peacebuilding – and global politics.”
– Michael Barnett, University Professor of International Relations and Political Science, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University

 

VeraThe European Union’s Democratization Policy for Central Asia Failed in Success or Succeeded in Failure?
Vera Axyonova
“An insightful and refreshing analysis of the European democratization strategy in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. A must-read for all those interested in understanding the very limited success of EU democratization tools in Central Asia and the challenges that European institutions face in their promotion of a value-based agenda.”
– Marlene Laruelle, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University

 

The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist: When Girl Meets Oil corporateidealist_final
Christine Bader
FPI Q&A
“The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist is a quick read, effortlessly gulped during a long airplane flight. The writing is clear and concise, and if the book doesn’t leave one convinced that every multinational has suddenly developed a guiding conscience, it does offer some encouragement that many are on the way.” — The New York Times

 


EdinaGenocide on the Drina River

Edina Becirevic
Becirevic walks the reader through the controversy surrounding the concept and definition of “genocide,” then makes an energetic case that the term applies to the war waged by Serbian forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992–95. Her task, however, goes beyond merely justifying the label as a fair characterization of the murder of thousands of Bosnian Muslims during that conflict. She probes deeply into the nature of the killings, focusing as much on the intent to commit genocide as on the various methods of carrying it out.

 

Schools for Conflict or for Peace in Afghanistan Dana
Dana Burde

“Public education in conflict-ridden societies should be a force for peace and stability, if done well. But Dana Burde shows that international aid to education in Afghanistan sowed conflict when its political goals prioritized jihad against the Soviet occupation or favored some ethnic groups over others. Impeccably researched, this study has global implications for thinking about politics, education policy, and foreign aid.”
– Jack Snyder, Institute of War and Peace Studies and Department of Political Science, Columbia University

 


KarenPutin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?

Karen Dawisha
“A who’s who of the people on the sanctions lists drawn up by America and the EU. It is also a guide to the crony capitalism that grew out of the nexus of Mr. Putin’s plutocratic interests, his shady past and authoritarian rule.” – The Economist

 

 

Troubled Apologies Among Japan, Korea, and the United States Alexis
Alexis Dudden

“Dudden engagingly explores how the nexus of politics, war memory, and apology shapes contemporary trilateral relations between Korea, Japan, and the United States.” – Jeff Kingston

 


ElizabethAll Means Necessary: How China’s Resource Quest Is Changing the World
Elizabeth Economy (and Michael Levi)

Economy and Levi’s findings thread a path between alarmist and complacent views of China’s impact on the global economy. Chinese demand drives up world prices of oil and copper, but not those of natural gas and bauxite, owing to differences in the market structures surrounding each commodity. Some Chinese companies buy foreign mines and farmland to carry out state strategy, but others consist of private entrepreneurs pursuing commercial interests.

 

While the Gods Were Sleeping: A Journey Through Love and Rebellion in Nepal 51x1wyegphl-_sy344_bo1204203200_

Elizabeth Enslin
“This finely written memoir transports the reader into a society on the cusp of social and political transformation. The barriers to gender, caste, and class equality that Elizabeth Enslin reveals continue to impede Nepal’s quest for democracy today. This is an inspiring and challenging read for activists, rebels, and dreamers everywhere.”
—Manjushree Thapa, author of Forget Kathmandu

 

ChristineFairFighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War 
C. Christina Fair
“In this painstakingly developed and brilliantly argued book, one of America’s leading South Asia scholars examines Pakistan’s chronic insecurities and grand ideological ambitions that generate high levels of conflict for itself, the region, and the world. Using extensive primary and secondary sources, Christine Fair shows conclusively that Pakistan is insecure not only for its inability to obtain Kashmir, but due to a civilizational notion that it ought to be a co-equal with India and that it should employ all means, including Jihadist violence, to obtain strategic parity with its larger neighbor. Her findings have far-reaching consequences and immense policy implications.” -T.V. Paul, McGill University, and author of The Warrior State

 

The Lonely War: One Woman’s Account of the Struggle for Modern Iran Nazila
Nazila Fathi
“With dazzling frankness and authenticity… Fathi shows the reality faced by Iranian citizens throughout the last 30 years of political upheaval in the country. [M]ultifaceted and incredibly informative… Readers of history and politics will revel in the accurate reporting of a veteran journalist and lovers of human interest stories will feel gratified to know Fathi so personally. This educational, emotionally enthralling read about a country many Americans know only a little about is a must-read.” – Library Journal

 

leftoverwomenLeftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China 
Leta Hong Fincher
“‘Leftover Women’ offers a…chilling account of the pressures on Chinese strivers…One hopes that “Leftover Women” will soon be translated into Chinese, as it is likely to resonate deeply with urban educated women. It seems the party has forgotten the Mao-era dictum: ‘Women Hold Up Half the Sky’.” – New York Times Book Review

 

War Dogs: Tales of Canine Heroism, History, and Love  51zcjolx67l-_sy344_bo1204203200_
Rebecca Frankel
“Military aficionados as well as dog lovers will learn from and enjoy this study of canine commandos and the service people who count on them.”—Publishers Weekly 

 

 

carlottagallThe Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001–2014
Carlotta Gall
“Gall’s long years of reporting for the New York Times from the front lines of the war are clear in this book, particularly in her vivid reconstruction of how things went rapidly downhill after the easy U.S.-led victories over the Taliban at the end of 2001…To her credit, Ms. Gall gets the most important thing right. She underscores the danger of the U.S. turning its back on Afghanistan, which, while still fragile, shows more signs of modernity than ever before. The repercussions of the U.S. drawdown ‘are already inspiring Islamists, who are comparing it to the withdrawal of the Soviet Union’ after its defeat at the hands of the mujahedeen. Unlike the Obama administration, Ms. Gall recognizes that radical Islam can’t be ignored or wished away.” – The Wall Street Journal

 

The Globalization of Clean Energy Technology: Lessons From China KellySims
Kelly Sims Gallagher
The diffusion of applied knowledge, both within and between countries, is one of the sources of economic growth. The spread of such knowledge is also necessary to deal with climate change. Yet economists and environmentalists alike know little about the process. This useful book — a thorough piece of practical research — looks closely at how clean energy technologies such as gas turbines, advanced batteries, solar photovoltaics, and coal gasification emerged and spread to China.

 


LuTaiwanMy Fight for a New Taiwan: One Woman’s Journey From Prison to Power

Lu Hsiu-lien
Today, the optimism and excitement stirred up by the wave of democratic transitions that swept the world in the 1980s and 1990s are hard to recall, much less rekindle. Many of the so-called Third Wave democracies have struggled to sustain the gains they made during those years, and more recent attempts to transform authoritarian states have ended in disappointment.

 

Without You There Is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea’s Elite SukiKim
Suki Kim

FPI Q&A
“Remarkable…A deeply unsettling book, offering a rare and disturbing inside glimpse into the strangeness, brutality and claustrophobia of North Korea… Kim’s book is full of small observations that vividly evoke the paranoia and loneliness of a nation living in fear and in thrall to its ‘Great Leaders’…Her portraits of her students are tender and heartbreaking, highlighting the enormity of what is at stake.”
— Chicago Tribune

 


Drone-Warfare_Kreps-editedDrone Warfare

John Kaag and Sarah Kreps
“One of the most significant and controversial developments in contemporary warfare is the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly referred to as drones. In the last decade, US drone strikes have more than doubled and their deployment is transforming the way wars are fought across the globe. But how did drones claim such an important role in modern military planning? And how are they changing military strategy and the ethics of war and peace? What standards might effectively limit their use? Should there even be a limit?” – Wiley Publishers


A Society of Young Women: Opportunities of Place, Power and Reform in Saudi Arabia 
societyofyoungwomen

Amélie Le Renard
“This splendid ethnography shatters many of the myths surrounding Saudi women. Amelie Le Renard brilliantly shows that women in Saudi Arabia don’t need to be saved from their culture or religion and have invented creative ways to talk back to power.”—Pascal Menoret, New York University Abu Dhabi

 



GreenInnovationGreen Innovation in China: China’s Wind Power Industry and the Global Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy

Joanna I Lewis
“Green Innovation in China is a compelling exploration of how China is transforming itself into a clean energy powerhouse. By taking us deep into the competitive world of wind power–from research and development to the cutthroat global marketplace–Joanna Lewis provides fascinating insights into China’s broader clean tech innovation strategy. This is a book that should be on the desk or nightstand of anyone who wants to understand where China’s leaders are taking their country and how they plan to get there.” – Elizabeth Economy, C. V. Starr Senior Fellow and director of Asia studies, Council on Foreign Relations

 

The People’s Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited lim
Louisa Lim
“Twenty-five years after the bloodshed in Beijing, new details keep emerging. This reconstruction, by a correspondent for America’s National Public Radio, is as important for Western readers as it is for the new Chinese generation that has grown up since 1989 and knows little of what happened.” – The Economist

 



RamitaCity of Lies: Love, Sex, Death, and the Search for Truth in Tehran
Ramita Navai

“A daring exposé of what really goes on under the noses of the morality police in this God-fearing city of 12 million…. British-Iranian journalist Navai protects the real identities of her subjects, who are as engaging as characters of fiction and reveal, frankly, the charade that living under Sharia law has become since Iran’s Islamic Revolution….Navai offers sharply rendered portraits.” — Kirkus

 

Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan Jenny
Jenny Nordberg

FPI Q&A
“Nordberg’s immersive reporting reveals an astonishingly clear picture of this resourceful, if imperfect, solution to the problem of girlhood in a society where women have few rights and overwhelming restrictions.” – The Boston Globe

 


brightcontinentThe Bright Continent: Breaking Rules and Making Change in Modern Africa

Dayo Olopade
FPI Q&A
“In her sunny tour of contemporary sub-Saharan Africa, Olopade does not deny the existence of the region’s ills so much as selectively focus on the positive contributions of individuals and grass-roots civic organizations. In her telling, kanju, a Yoruba term that broadly suggests resilience and ingenuity, will help Africans overcome poor governance and material scarcity.”

 

Africa’s Urban Revolution UrbanRev
Edited by Susan Parnell and Edgar Pieterse
Sub-Saharan Africa boasts the fastest-growing urban population of any region in the world. With an annual rate of urbanization of 3.3 percent, the region can’t be viewed as primarily rural anymore. Indeed, the authors of this timely collection of essays estimate that if the region maintains its present rate of growth, a majority of Africans will live in cities by 2030. Already today, in absolute terms, there are more Africans living in cities than there are Americans or Europeans living in cities.

 


IndonesiaIndonesia Etc: Exploring the Improbable Nation

Elizabeth Pisani
“A richly entertaining account of a year spent travelling around the archipelago. It takes on some big themes: democracy, decentralisation, corruption, inequality, the failings of the educational system, and radical Islam, as well as the ghosts of hundreds of thousands slaughtered as Suharto took power in 1965.” – The Economist

 

After Love: Queer Intimacy and Erotic Economics in Post-Soviet Cuba Stout
Noelle M. Stout
“Immersing herself in Havana’s gay culture, Stout, an American anthropologist, gives readers a street-level view of the turbulent changes under way in Cuba, as Cuban society gradually transitions from conformist socialism to a more market-oriented individualism. In its formative years, the austere Cuban Revolution repressed homosexuality. Today, figures as influential as President Raúl Castro’s daughter Mariela push for equal rights for LGBT Cubans.”

 


MelineThere Was and There Was Not: A Journey Through Hate and Possibility in Turkey, Armenia, and Beyond

Meline Toumani
“This remarkable memoir serves as a moving examination of the complex forces of ethnicity, nationality and history that shape one’s sense of self and foster, threaten or fray the fragile tapestry of community.”

 

 

A Daughter’s Memoir of Burma WendyBurma
Wendy Law-Yone
“A rich portrait of a family equally rich in spirit and mind, and for those of us less familiar with the complicated history of Burma… the book serves as a fast-paced yet thorough crash course in Burma’s postcolonial politics.” – Asian Review of Books

 

PariahThe Pariah Problem: Caste, Religion, and the Social in Modern India
Rupa Viswanath
“…brilliantly demonstrates the intertwining of the colonial and the missionary discourses and shows how ultimately they came to inform each other. What she offers is a tour de force in the historian’s craft.”
– David Washbrook, Senior Research Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge

 


Powerful Patriots: Nationalist Protest in China’s Foreign Relations
 JessicaWeiss
Jessica Chen Weiss
“An invaluable record of China’s diplomatic storms.” – The Financial Times

 

DictatorsDictators at War and Peace
Jessica L. P. Weeks
“Dictators at War and Peace is an excellent book that makes a significant contribution to empirically tested theory in international relations. Jessica L. P. Weeks has made a state-of-the-art appraisal of dictators’ foreign policy behavior.” — Bruce Russett, Dean Acheson Research Professor of International Relations and Political Science, Yale University

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *