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.
If capitalism has triumphed to become the sole socio-economic system globally, what are the prospects for achieving a fairer world? In his new book Capitalism, Alone: The Future of the System That Rules the World, Branko Milanovic examines the historical shifts that have led to capitalism’s dominance and looks at the varieties of capitalism at work today to propose choices to ensure […]
In Visions of Empire: How Five Imperial Regimes Shaped the World, Krishan Kumar analyses five key historical empires – the Ottoman, the Habsburg, the Russian/Soviet, the British and the French – making the case for how the ideas and ideologies of each shaped their mode of imperial rule and enduring influence. Due to a lack of clarity in the book’s central thesis and its […]
In The Far Right Today, Cas Mudde provides readers with a comprehensive overview of contemporary far right politics: a pressing task considering that groups or parties once located on the fringe of mainstream politics have experienced a surge in popularity over recent years across Europe and beyond. The most worrying aspect of this surge, argues the author, is the mainstreaming and normalisation […]
Book Review: Networked Selves: Trajectories of Blogging in the United States and France by Ignacio Siles
In Networked Selves: Trajectories of Blogging in the United States and France, Ignacio Siles studies the evolution of the blog both as a technological platform and a medium of personal expression, focusing particularly on the different conditions that have shaped the creation, adoption and transformation of blogs in the US and France. The book provides powerful insights into the mutually constitutive relationship […]
In Why Not Default? The Political Economy of Sovereign Debt, Jerome Roos explores why sovereign defaults have been an undesirable last option by systemically unpacking the structural characteristics of the contemporary debt market. This is a fresh and painstakingly researched approach that raises vital questions for economists, political scientists and policymakers to address in the era of relatively low cost, yet mounting, […]
Book Review: Democracy and Prosperity: Reinventing Capitalism through a Turbulent Century by Torben Iversen and David Soskice
In Democracy and Prosperity: Reinventing Capitalism through a Turbulent Century, Torben Iversen and David Soskice add to current debates concerning the relationship between democracy and capitalism by arguing that they mutually support each other and enable resilience through turbulence and crisis. This is a welcome contribution to scholarship exploring the ‘crisis of democratic capitalism’, writes M Kerem Coban, and offers a unique and provocative framework […]
In Social Mobility and its Enemies, Lee Elliot Major and Stephen Machin offer a thought-provoking assessment of the state of social mobility in Britain. In the context of much social and political change and rising levels of inequality in Britain, this book is able to dispel the myth of meritocracy and suggest evidence-informed avenues for achieving a fairer society for all, writes Ross Goldstone.
Social Mobility and […]
In The First Marx: A Philosophical Introduction, Douglas Burnham and Peter Lamb bring together Marx’s early writings in order to shape them into a distinct political philosophy. This is a diligently and rigorously researched work, writes Tarique Niazi, that will serve as a must-have primer for both early and advanced students and scholars of Marx.
The First Marx: A Philosophical Introduction. Douglas Burnham and Peter Lamb. Bloomsbury. […]
Book Review: Eric Drummond and his Legacies: The League of Nations and the Beginnings of Global Governance by David Macfadyen et al
In Eric Drummond and his Legacies: The League of Nations and the Beginnings of Global Governance, David Macfadyen et al show how the emergence of an international bureaucracy of civil servants and their role in the development of the League of Nations rested on Eric Drummond and the early internationalists around him. This book provides a much-needed historical and biographical perspective on the […]
Book Review: The Technology Trap: Capital, Labour and Power in the Age of Automation by Carl Benedikt Frey
In The Technology Trap: Capital, Labour and Power in the Age of Automation, Carl Benedikt Frey explores automation and its consequences, taking the reader on a long sweep of UK and US industrial history that demonstrates the distinction between labour-enabling and labour-replacing technologies. As arguably the most comprehensive account of automation to date, this book deserves to be read widely, writes Liam Kennedy.
Book Review: The Justice and Development Party in Turkey: Populism, Personalism, Organization by Toygar Sinan Baykan
In The Justice and Development Party in Turkey: Populism, Personalism, Organization,Toygar Sinan Baykan offers a sophisticated contribution to the existing literature on the JDP by shifting focus from structural analysis towards the role of party agency. This is an invaluable addition to the study of populism in Turkey, writes Nikos Christofis, opening up new ways to approach the JDP’s rise, structure and […]
Book Review: Twilight of the Elites: Prosperity, The Periphery and the Future of France by Christophe Guilluy
In Twilight of the Elites: Prosperity, The Periphery and the Future of France, Christophe Guilluy sets out the predicament of the ‘left-behind’ regions of France and excoriates the elites that have presided over their decline. While Guilluy does make a novel set of claims about the working-class response to recent political developments, peripheral France requires a more granular analysis than that found in […]
Book Review: …and forgive them their debts: Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption From Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year by Michael Hudson
In …and forgive them their debts: Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption From Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year, Michael Hudson offers a historical account of the role that debt played in ancient societies. In focusing on how such societies dealt with the proliferation of debts that cannot be paid, this book sheds informative light on the significance of debt today, writes Alfredo Hernandez […]
In The Politics of Land, editor Tim Bartley brings together contributors to highlight the significance of the neglected issue of land to political sociology. This is a highly informative volume that explores a range of issues related to the land-politics nexus beyond the top-down understanding of its role in capitalist accumulation with much potential for future sociological research, writes Alexander Dobeson.
The Politics of […]
Book Review: Unwanted Neighbours: The Mughals, the Portuguese and their Frontier Zones by Jorge Flores
In Unwanted Neighbours: The Mughals, the Portuguese and their Frontier Zones, Jorge Flores explores the ways in which the Portuguese Estado da India—situated on the coastal peripheries of the Mughal empire—dealt with their Timurid neighbours from c. 1570 to c. 1640. Unwanted Neighbours is a book that is extremely rich in thematic concerns, empirical details and includes a varied cast of characters. It also […]
In Stretching the Constitution: The Brexit Shock in Historic Perspective, Andrew Blick situates Brexit within the wider context of UK constitutional reform debates over the course of the past century. Blick’s unconventional approach to this topic is insightful, providing instructive historical context to contemporary discussions of Brexit that will be of particular value for scholars of constitutional affairs, writes Gary Wilson.
Stretching the Constitution: […]
Book Review: Theory for the World to Come: Speculative Fiction and Apocalyptic Anthropology by Matthew J. Wolf-Meyer
In Theory for the World to Come: Speculative Fiction and Apocalyptic Anthropology, Matthew J. Wolf-Meyer argues that speculative fiction offers a rich vein to theorise catastrophe and crisis in ways that are not paralysing or demoralising, drawing on the work of those such as Octavia E. Butler and Kurt Vonnegut. This book admirably succeeds in showing its source material to offer a […]
Book Review: Citizens of Nowhere: How Europe can be Saved from Itself by Lorenzo Marsili and Niccolo Milanese
In Citizens of Nowhere: How Europe can be Saved from Itself, Lorenzo Marsili and Niccolo Milanese offer an innovative look at citizenship, grounded in the development of a transnational civil society sphere across Europe. This is an ambitious, perceptive and clear-sighted argument for a transnational citizenship and politics, writes Ben Margulies, that also details the political project required to make it a reality.
Citizens of Nowhere: […]
Book Review: The Populist Radical Left in Europe edited by Giorgios Katsambekis and Alexandros Kioupkiolis
In The Populist Radical Left in Europe, editors Giorgios Katsambekis and Alexandros Kioupkiolis bring together contributors to explore populist radical left movements across Europe, discussing examples including Greece’s Syriza, Spain’s Podemos, Slovenia’s Left Party, France’s La France Insoumise and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, among others. This is an engaging and engaged work of political science, writes Anton Jäger, that provides a necessary moment of reflection on […]
In Politics Rules: Power, Globalization and Development, Adam Sneyd confronts the neglect of politics in government and mainstream development circles, stressing the importance of careful, ‘disinterested’ political analysis. While suggesting that there may be no easy way out of the trap of ideology, Gavin Fridell welcomes the book as a thought-provoking and engaging guide that plots conceptual and practical ways to go beyond narrow […]