Book Reviews

In this section you can read reviews of academic books covering Europe and the European neighbourhood. We publish four reviews a month, aiming to cover a wide range of books on all aspects of public policy and politics.

Book Review: Charlemagne by Johannes Fried

In Charlemagne, Johannes Fried offers a new account of the life of the Frankish king and emperor, one of the most influential figures in European history. Although the limited surviving resources from the period make the book more of an in-depth account of the socio-political context of Charlemagne’s reign rather than a strict biography, Sara Perley welcomes this as a well-researched and engaging […]

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    Book Review: Under the Shadow: Rage and Revolution in Modern Turkey by Kaya Genç

Book Review: Under the Shadow: Rage and Revolution in Modern Turkey by Kaya Genç

In Under the Shadow: Rage and Revolution in Modern Turkey, Kaya Genç draws upon a range of interviews undertaken following the 2013 Gezi Park protests, bringing to light the diverse perspectives of different members of Turkish society at a time of division and dissent. Genç’s innovative use of oral history makes for a fascinating and magnetic read that particularly deserves praise for […]

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    Book Review: Reconstructing Karl Polanyi: Excavation and Critique by Gareth Dale

Book Review: Reconstructing Karl Polanyi: Excavation and Critique by Gareth Dale

In Reconstructing Karl Polanyi: Excavation and Critique, Gareth Dale contributes a further volume to his decade-long research into the life and thought of the influential political economist. Here, he provides an account of Polanyi’s specific contributions to the social sciences, reconstructs some of his more complex or elusive concepts and reflects on the relevance of his theories to present-day […]

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    Book Review: The French Revolution: From Enlightenment to Tyranny by Ian Davidson

Book Review: The French Revolution: From Enlightenment to Tyranny by Ian Davidson

In The French Revolution: From Enlightenment to Tyranny, Ian Davidson offers a new examination of the diverse factors that converged to spark and propel this crucial historical event. While the breadth of the book is occasionally overwhelming and characterised more by description than explanation, its rich detail highlights the intricacies of the French Revolution without centralising the role played by […]

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    Book Review: Singapore and Switzerland: Secrets to Small States Success edited by Yvonne Guo and Jun Jie Woo

Book Review: Singapore and Switzerland: Secrets to Small States Success edited by Yvonne Guo and Jun Jie Woo

What makes a small state succeed? In Singapore and Switzerland: Secrets to Small State Success, editors Yvonne Guo and Jun Jie Woo explore this question through two cases that have shown similar economic performance by balancing international forces and domestic demands. This is a far-reaching overview of the mechanisms that have shaped the successes – and some failures – of […]

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    Book Review: Re-Making Kozarac: Agency, Reconciliation and Contested Return in Post-War Bosnia by Sebina Sivac-Bryant

Book Review: Re-Making Kozarac: Agency, Reconciliation and Contested Return in Post-War Bosnia by Sebina Sivac-Bryant

In Re-Making Kozarac: Agency, Reconciliation and Contested Return in Post-War Bosnia, Sebina Sivac-Bryant focuses her longitudinal study on the town of Kozarac in north-west Bosnia as one of the only successful examples of contested minority return following the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of the community in the 1990s. The book fills a significant gap in addressing questions of reconciliation, community rebuilding and trauma […]

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February 26th, 2017|Book Reviews, featured|0 Comments|
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    Book Review: The Populist Radical Right: A Reader edited by Cas Mudde

Book Review: The Populist Radical Right: A Reader edited by Cas Mudde

With The Populist Radical Right: A Reader, editor Cas Mudde brings together seminal social science scholarship on the radical or extreme right in Western democracies produced between the early 1990s to the present day. With a wealth of information that will be of particular use to scholars and students beginning research in this field, the volume will leave readers […]

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    Book Review: Socrates Tenured: The Institutions of 21st-Century Philosophy by Robert Frodeman and Adam Briggle

Book Review: Socrates Tenured: The Institutions of 21st-Century Philosophy by Robert Frodeman and Adam Briggle

In Socrates Tenured: The Institutions of 21st-Century Philosophy, Robert Frodeman and Adam Briggle offer a diagnosis and remedy for the malaise currently gripping the study of philosophy, advocating a ‘field philosophy’ that aims to break free of the strictures of its disciplinary and departmental settings that have led to accusations of insularity and irrelevance. While suggesting that the authors’ claims are […]

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February 12th, 2017|Book Reviews, featured|0 Comments|
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    Book Review: Student Lives in Crisis: Deepening Inequality in Times of Austerity by Lorenza Antonucci

Book Review: Student Lives in Crisis: Deepening Inequality in Times of Austerity by Lorenza Antonucci

In Student Lives in Crisis: Deepening Inequality in Times of Austerity, Lorenza Antonucci examines the material inequalities that shape young people’s experiences of Higher Education by examining welfare provision in three European countries – England, Italy and Sweden. Heather Mew welcomes this book as an eye-opening account that shows how austerity policies are leading universities to reinforce rather than remedy […]

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February 5th, 2017|Book Reviews, featured|0 Comments|
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    Book review: Slippery Slope: Europe’s Troubled Future, by Giles Merritt

Book review: Slippery Slope: Europe’s Troubled Future, by Giles Merritt

Shortlisted for the 2016 European Book Prize, in Slippery Slope: Europe’s Troubled Future journalist and analyst Giles Merritt reflects on the threats, challenges and unexpected opportunities that Europeans are likely to face as they move deeper into the twenty-first century. Simeon Mitropolitski strongly recommends this book to those pondering the future horizons of a presently troubled Europe. 
If you are interested in this book, you may […]

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January 29th, 2017|Book Reviews, featured|1 Comment|
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    Book Review: Gramsci’s Common Sense: Inequality and its Narratives by Kate Crehan

Book Review: Gramsci’s Common Sense: Inequality and its Narratives by Kate Crehan

In Gramsci’s Common Sense: Inequality and its Narratives, Kate Crehan examines a number of core concepts in the work of theorist Antonio Gramsci – including common sense, the subaltern and the intellectual – that can help give precise insight into the emergence and persistence of social inequalities. Drawing on such case studies as the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements, […]

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January 22nd, 2017|Book Reviews, featured|0 Comments|
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    Book Review: Memories of the Spanish Civil War: Conflict and Community in Rural Spain by Ruth Sanz Sabido

Book Review: Memories of the Spanish Civil War: Conflict and Community in Rural Spain by Ruth Sanz Sabido

In Memories of the Spanish Civil War: Conflict and Community in Rural Spain, Ruth Sanz Sabido recovers the testimonies of survivors of the Spanish Civil War and the early years of General Franco’s dictatorship from one village in Huelva province in Andalusia. This is a compelling and powerful ethnographic study that gives voice to hitherto silenced experiences of Spanish fascism, writes […]

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January 15th, 2017|Book Reviews, featured|0 Comments|

Book Review: What is Populism? by Jan-Werner Müller

In What is Populism?, Jan-Werner Müller provides a timely perspective on the pressing question of what populism is and how to respond to it. Defining populism as anti-pluralist, elite-critical politics with a moral claim to representation, he cautions that populists are both willing and able to govern and may therefore deform democracy by turning states towards partisanship. This short book […]

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January 8th, 2017|Book Reviews|1 Comment|
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    Book Review: Economic Governance in Europe: Comparative Paradoxes and Constitutional Challenges by Federico Fabbrini

Book Review: Economic Governance in Europe: Comparative Paradoxes and Constitutional Challenges by Federico Fabbrini

In this book, Federico Fabbrini outlines the impact of the Euro crisis on the constitutional and legal architecture of the European Union, arguing for a shift from constitutional arrangements rooted in ‘accident and force’ to systems ‘designed on the basis of reflection and choice’. Francesco Costamagna welcomes this as a refreshing challenge to the assumption that movement towards an EU super-state […]

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December 18th, 2016|Book Reviews, featured|0 Comments|
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    Book Review: Energy, Capitalism and World Order: Toward a New Agenda in International Political Economy edited by Tim Di Muzio and Jesse Salah Ovadia

Book Review: Energy, Capitalism and World Order: Toward a New Agenda in International Political Economy edited by Tim Di Muzio and Jesse Salah Ovadia

In this new collection, editors Tim Di Muzio and Jesse Salah Ovadia bring together contributors to examine the relationship between energy, capitalism and the world order in light of pressing and emergent issues such as fracking, biofuels and climate change. While more attention on the diverse challenges faced by different political economies would have been welcome, the collection presents lucid analyses […]

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December 11th, 2016|Book Reviews, featured|0 Comments|
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    Book Review: What is Political Sociology? by Elisabeth S. Clemens

Book Review: What is Political Sociology? by Elisabeth S. Clemens

In this book, Elisabeth S. Clemens aims to produce a ‘definitive and inspirational standard text for students at all levels’. Patricia Hogwood writes that her work offers a concise overview of political sociology as the human face of politics: the politicised interactions that take place within and between the domains of family, work, civic culture and structures of government. Clemens presents key […]

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December 4th, 2016|Book Reviews, featured|0 Comments|
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    Book Review: Historically Inevitable? Turning Points in the Russian Revolution edited by Tony Brenton

Book Review: Historically Inevitable? Turning Points in the Russian Revolution edited by Tony Brenton

For the edited collection Historically Inevitable? Turning Points in the Russian Revolution, editor Tony Brenton brings together fourteen leading scholars to consider the inevitability of the Russian Revolution by focusing on key turning points. While readers may not necessarily share the authors’ commitment to the utility of counterfactual history, the volume contributes to our understanding of the various agents and […]

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November 27th, 2016|Book Reviews, featured|0 Comments|
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    Author Interview with Brian Klaas: How Can We Fix Democracy?

Author Interview with Brian Klaas: How Can We Fix Democracy?

The end of the Cold War in the early 1990s saw democracy surge as former Soviet autocracies transitioned to democratic systems and democracy spread in Africa and Latin America. But the past decade has seen a reverse in this trend, with authoritarianism and dictatorships making a comeback around the world. In this interview with Peter Carrol on his new book, The Despot’s Accomplice: […]

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    Book Review: The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens by Gabriel Zucman

Book Review: The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens by Gabriel Zucman

In The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens, Gabriel Zucman makes a provocative argument about the large-scale evasion of taxes as well as how to tackle this global issue. Antonio De Vito highly recommends this concise, nontechnical and clearly argued book to everyone interested in understanding how the international financial system is making illegal use of tax […]

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November 13th, 2016|Book Reviews, featured|0 Comments|
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    Book Review: How Europeans View and Evaluate Democracy edited by Mónica Ferrín and Hanspeter Kriesi

Book Review: How Europeans View and Evaluate Democracy edited by Mónica Ferrín and Hanspeter Kriesi

In How Europeans View and Evaluate Democracy, editors Mónica Ferrín and Hanspeter Kriesi offer insight into perceptions of democracy across Europe by examining how Europeans evaluate their experience of democracy and assess the legitimacy of current democratic regimes across the continent. This comprehensive study will be an excellent read for political comparativists and Europeanists, finds Simeon Mitropolitski.
How Europeans View and Evaluate Democracy. Mónica Ferrín and […]

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