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: The Language of Brexit by Steve Buckledee

In The Language of Brexit: How Britain Talked its Way Out of the European Union, Steve Buckledee analyses and compares the linguistic features of both sides of the UK ‘Brexit’ debate, placing these discursive techniques in wider social and historical context. Combining an accessible writing style and thoughtful analyses, the book will help open up and advance the academic discussion of Brexit […]

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    Book Review: The Remnants of the Rechtsstaat: An Ethnography of Nazi Law by Jens Meierhenrich

Book Review: The Remnants of the Rechtsstaat: An Ethnography of Nazi Law by Jens Meierhenrich

In The Remnants of the Rechtsstaat: An Ethnography of Nazi Law, Jens Meierhenrich challenges the perception of Nazism as an absence or perversion of legal oversight, instead outlining how jurists and practitioners mobilised and transformed key concepts within German law to support the actions of the Nazi regime. Focusing particularly on the figure of Ernst Fraenkel and his formative work The Dual State – a […]

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Book Review: The Market by Matthew Watson

In The Market, Matthew Watson offers a critical enquiry into what we mean when we refer to ‘the market’ and explores the consequences of allowing one particular interpretation to prevail. Delving into the history of economics, this is a valuable excavation of the emergence and triumph of the market concept as we know it, writes David Dodds, and a call to action to imagine […]

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    Book Review: Policy Experiments, Failures and Innovations: Beyond Accession in Central and Eastern Europe edited by Agnes Batory, Andrew Cartwright and Diane Stone

Book Review: Policy Experiments, Failures and Innovations: Beyond Accession in Central and Eastern Europe edited by Agnes Batory, Andrew Cartwright and Diane Stone

In Policy Experiments, Failures and Innovations: Beyond Accession in Central and Eastern Europe, Agnes Batory, Andrew Cartwright and Diane Stone examine how European Union accession has contributed to institutional and policy change in Central and Eastern Europe and consider whether these diffusions constitute success stories or failures. The collection serves to challenge simplistic binary models, finds Simeon Mitropolitski, showing the often complex nature of policy transfers and diffusion […]

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    Book Review: 1917: War, Peace, Revolution by David Stevenson

Book Review: 1917: War, Peace, Revolution by David Stevenson

In 1917: War, Peace and Revolution, David Stevenson offers a detailed and well-structured narrative of the complex, interlocking events of this fateful year, with an eye to their subsequent impact on the unfolding twentieth century. Stevenson’s masterful account should be essential reading for anyone with a particular interest in the First World War, recommends Benjamin Law. 
1917: War, Peace, Revolution. David Stevenson. Oxford University Press. 2017.
Find this book: 
Last year […]

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    Book Review: Journey into Europe: Islam, Immigration and Identity by Akbar Ahmed

Book Review: Journey into Europe: Islam, Immigration and Identity by Akbar Ahmed

In Journey into Europe: Islam, Immigration and Identity, Akbar Ahmed scrutinises the experiences of Muslims living in European nations that are facing challenge to their hegemonic position in a global age. This is no ordinary book project, writes Tahir Abbas, praising the unprecedented wealth of information contained in this gripping, engaging and immersive study.
Journey into Europe: Islam, Immigration and Identity. Akbar Ahmed. Brookings […]

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    Book Review: Ideology and the Future of Progressive Social Movements by Rafal Soborski

Book Review: Ideology and the Future of Progressive Social Movements by Rafal Soborski

In Ideology and the Future of Progressive Social Movements, Rafal Soborski provides a punchy and passionate critique of the post-ideology approach of progressive social movements from an anti-neoliberal perspective. While questioning whether all grassroots protest movements have abandoned ideology to the extent described in the book, Luke Martell finds this a distinctive and stimulating contribution recommended to all those interested in social change. 
Ideology and the […]

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    Book Review: Poor News: Media Discourses of Poverty in Times of Austerity by Steven Harkins and Jairo Lugo-Ocando

Book Review: Poor News: Media Discourses of Poverty in Times of Austerity by Steven Harkins and Jairo Lugo-Ocando

In Poor News: Media Discourses of Poverty in Times of Austerity, Steven Harkins and Jairo Lugo-Ocando explore how debates and discourses surrounding poverty and welfare have been shaped by the mainstream press in the UK. The granular content analysis offered by the book gives great insight into the normalisation of social inequality across the British media landscape, writes Matthew Hacke, and will be of interest to those looking to […]

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    Book Review: Brexit and Beyond: Rethinking the Futures of Europe edited by Benjamin Martill and Uta Staiger

Book Review: Brexit and Beyond: Rethinking the Futures of Europe edited by Benjamin Martill and Uta Staiger

In Brexit and Beyond: Rethinking the Futures of Europe, editors Benjamin Martill and Uta Staiger bring together contributors to consider the possible implications of Brexit for the futures of Europe and the European Union. Available to download here, the book’s interdisciplinary approach makes clear the difficulties of predicting the potential outcomes of an unfolding process while nonetheless outlining a number of different scenarios and possibilities in […]

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    Book Review: Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine by Anne Applebaum

Book Review: Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine by Anne Applebaum

In Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine, Anne Applebaum offers a new comprehensive account of the Holodomor: the famine that led to the deaths of millions of Ukrainians through starvation in the early 1930s. Drawing on archival documents, written and oral testimonies and historical scholarship, this is a valuable addition to our understanding of this devastating and long-neglected event, reccommends Vlad Onaciu. 
If you are interested in […]

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    Book Review: Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth

Book Review: Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth

In Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist, Kate Raworth offers a new model for economics, based around the ‘doughnut’, which values human well-being and advocates for a ‘regenerative and distributive economy’. While the book holds multidisciplinary promise and Raworth draws upon appealing and evocative metaphors and examples to convey economic concepts in accessible terms, Maria Zhivitskaya remains unconvinced of the […]

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    Book Review: News, Numbers and Public Opinion in a Data-Driven World edited by An Nguyen

Book Review: News, Numbers and Public Opinion in a Data-Driven World edited by An Nguyen

In News, Numbers and Public Opinion in a Data-Driven World, An Nguyen brings together contributors to showcase international research on the integration of statistical reasoning in journalistic education, production and consumption. In a data-driven context marked by concerns about fake news, ‘post-truth’ and the spread of disinformation, this is a thoughtful and accessible contribution to understanding the role of numeracy in contemporary […]

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    Book Review: Near Abroad: Putin, the West and the Contest over Ukraine and the Caucasus by Gerard Toal

Book Review: Near Abroad: Putin, the West and the Contest over Ukraine and the Caucasus by Gerard Toal

In Near Abroad: Putin, the West and the Contest over Ukraine and the Caucasus, Gerard Toal offers a detailed geopolitical account of the Russian conflicts with Georgia and Ukraine in 2008 and 2014 respectively. While questioning some aspects of the book’s analysis, April Curtis welcomes this as a highly nuanced work that will enable readers to have a deeper awareness of how Russia views its role in […]

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    Book Review: Republic of Islamophobia: The Rise of Respectable Racism in France by Jim Wolfreys

Book Review: Republic of Islamophobia: The Rise of Respectable Racism in France by Jim Wolfreys

In Republic of Islamophobia: The Rise of Respectable Racism in France, Jim Wolfreys describes the emergence of a ‘respectable racism’ against Muslims in France since the 1980s, fuelled by the ‘War on Terror’ and rooted in the nation’s colonial history. Praising the book’s candid and incisive writing, Elsa Stéphan welcomes this as a commendably comprehensive and accessible account on Islamophobia in contemporary France. 
Republic of Islamophobia: The […]

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    Book Review: Europe Reset: New Directions for the EU by Richard Youngs

Book Review: Europe Reset: New Directions for the EU by Richard Youngs

In Europe Reset: New Directions for the EU, Richard Youngs looks at the issue of democracy in Europe, identifying a crisis rooted in alienation from the prevailing model of integration and proposing new initiatives for democratic participation by citizens. While the book largely focuses on democracy on the supra-national level, which may overlook the need for improvement both nationally and sub-nationally, this […]

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Book Review: The New Poverty by Stephen Armstrong

Coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the Beveridge Report and written in the spirit of George Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier, The New Poverty takes a tour of contemporary Britain to show how the implementation of austerity has worked to impoverish millions and leave millions more close to crisis. The combination of reportage and statistics presented by author Stephen Armstrong offers compelling, evocative and […]

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    Book Review: Among Wolves: Ethnography and the Immersive Study of Power by Timothy Pachirat

Book Review: Among Wolves: Ethnography and the Immersive Study of Power by Timothy Pachirat

In Among Wolves: Ethnography and the Immersive Study of Power, Timothy Pachirat offers an experimental contribution to scholarship on social science methodology. Written in the form of a play, the book unfolds over seven acts which reflect on different aspects of ethnographic research, including the role of the researcher, the issue of power and questions of accountability. This is a rich, accessible […]

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    Book Review: The Acceleration of Cultural Change: From Ancestors to Algorithms by R. Alexander Bentley and Michael J. O’Brien

Book Review: The Acceleration of Cultural Change: From Ancestors to Algorithms by R. Alexander Bentley and Michael J. O’Brien

In The Acceleration of Cultural Change: From Ancestors to Algorithms, R. Alexander Bentley and Michael J. O’Brien examine the fast pace of technological and cultural change today, contrasting our modes of knowledge exchange with those of early humans. Exploring rapidly changing traditions from ancient fairy tales to viral memes, this playful book gives great insight into the ways in which cultures are transformed and sustained over […]

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    Book Review: Miseducation: Inequality, Education and the Working Classes by Diane Reay

Book Review: Miseducation: Inequality, Education and the Working Classes by Diane Reay

In Miseducation: Inequality, Education and the Working Classes, Diane Reay draws on interviews with over 500 children to explore the class inequalities that persist in UK education from the transition to secondary school up to university. The book’s personalisation of everyday working-class experiences of education, combined with statistical evidence on continued inequality, makes this engaging and timely reading, finds Natasha Codiroli Mcmaster.
Miseducation: Inequality, Education […]

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    Book review: Minority Women and Austerity: Survival and Resistance in France and Britain by Leah Bassel and Akwugo Emejulu

Book review: Minority Women and Austerity: Survival and Resistance in France and Britain by Leah Bassel and Akwugo Emejulu

In Minority Women and Austerity: Survival and Resistance in France and Britain, Leah Bassel and Akwugo Emejulu contribute to analyses of the political effects of austerity by looking at how minority women in cities across the UK and France navigate their race, gender, professional lives and social groups in an increasingly harsh economic landscape. Drawing on interviews, focus groups and knowledge exchange events, this […]

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