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 New Despotism by John Keane

In The New Despotism, John Keane revives this term to examine how the ‘new despotism’ functions today through qualitatively different characteristics and processes to its older forms. As the book skilfully identifies how the new despotism thrives on ambiguity above all, this is a perceptive study that will shift the analytical lens through which despotic regimes are viewed, writes Gergana Dimova, and offers […]

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    Book Review: The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy by Stephanie Kelton

Book Review: The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy by Stephanie Kelton

In The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy, Stephanie Kelton dispels six key myths that have shaped the conventional understanding of deficits as inherently bad, instead arguing that deficits can strengthen economies and lead to faster growth. This book is a triumph, writes Hans G. Despain, shifting normative grounds of government spending away from the false and […]

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    Book Review: re:generation Europe: Ten Proposals for Another Europe by Floris de Witte

Book Review: re:generation Europe: Ten Proposals for Another Europe by Floris de Witte

In re:generation Europe: Ten Proposals for Another Europe, Floris de Witte sets out a vision for another Europe, one that breaks with the purely technocratic management of European affairs, one that listens to its public and is sensitive to its younger generation. While questioning whether EU leaders would accept such radical change, Simeon Mitropolitski welcomes the call to reform the European Union through cherishing […]

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    Book Review: A Brief History of Fascist Lies by Federico Finchelstein

Book Review: A Brief History of Fascist Lies by Federico Finchelstein

In A Brief History of Fascist Lies, Federico Finchelstein offers a new historical examination of how fascism does not just embrace lies, but integrates them into a distinctive, irrational structure of ‘truth’ that serves its political ends. This is a worthwhile read that provides a clear and lucid overview of how fascism perceives ‘truth’, reason and leadership, writes Ben Margulies, and will be […]

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    Book Review: The State of the European Union: Fault Lines in European Integration edited by Stefanie Wöhl, Elisabeth Springler, Martin Pachel and Bernhard Zeilinger

Book Review: The State of the European Union: Fault Lines in European Integration edited by Stefanie Wöhl, Elisabeth Springler, Martin Pachel and Bernhard Zeilinger

In The State of the European Union: Fault Lines in European Integration, Stefanie Wöhl, Elisabeth Springler, Martin Pachel and Bernhard Zeilinger offer a new collection analysing European integration after the 2008 financial crisis, providing a critique of European economic reforms and insight for progressive European policies. The volume adds new voices and viewpoints to European Studies, enriching and pluralising the debate, writes Vanessa Bilancetti.
The State of the […]

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    Book Review: Liberalism at Large: The World According to the Economist by Alexander Zevin

Book Review: Liberalism at Large: The World According to the Economist by Alexander Zevin

In Liberalism at Large: The World According to the Economist, Alexander Zevin traces the 177-year history of the Economist newspaper, positioning the Economist not only as a lens for understanding reinterpretations of liberalism across different eras, but also as an active participant in influencing policy and public debate. This is a rigorous and meticulously researched study of the Economist’s history and the […]

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    Book Review: Democracy Beyond Elections: Government Accountability in the Media Age by Gergana Dimova

Book Review: Democracy Beyond Elections: Government Accountability in the Media Age by Gergana Dimova

In Democracy Beyond Elections: Government Accountability in the Media Age, Gergana Dimova examines the impact that the rise of the media age has had on government accountability, focusing on the cases of Germany, Bulgaria and Russia. This is an important and timely contribution to the revitalisation of democracy studies, writes Georges Kordas, and shows how accountability can be a tool for citizens but […]

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    Book Review: Ultra: The Underworld of Italian Football by Tobias Jones

Book Review: Ultra: The Underworld of Italian Football by Tobias Jones

In Ultra: The Underworld of Italian Football, Tobias Jones immerses himself in the culture of Italian football ultras, exploring the rituals of different ultra groups, their infamous links with violence and contemporary far-right politics alongside the enduring left-wing identities of some ultras. Jones is an expert and sympathetic guide through this world, showing ultra culture to be as much about complex issues […]

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    Book Review: The Oxford Handbook of Spanish Politics edited by Diego Muro and Ignacio Lago

Book Review: The Oxford Handbook of Spanish Politics edited by Diego Muro and Ignacio Lago

The Oxford Handbook of Spanish Politics, comprising 41 chapters by renowned scholars and edited by Diego Muro and Ignacio Lago, makes a hugely valuable contribution to understandings of the country through its consistent analysis of contemporary Spanish politics and governance in a comparative European context, rather than in isolation. The veritable wealth of excellent material and analysis in the volume makes the […]

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    Book Review: Sharing the Burden: The Armenian Question, Humanitarian Intervention and Anglo-American Visions of Global Order by Charlie Laderman

Book Review: Sharing the Burden: The Armenian Question, Humanitarian Intervention and Anglo-American Visions of Global Order by Charlie Laderman

On 24 April each year, many communities across the world come together to commemorate the mass killing of the Armenian people of the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Grant Golub reviews Sharing the Burden: The Armenian Question, Humanitarian Intervention and Anglo-American Visions of Global Order, in which Charlie Laderman shows how the US and British responses to the atrocities were intimately tied up with […]

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    Book Review: Political English: Language and the Decay of Politics by Thomas Docherty

Book Review: Political English: Language and the Decay of Politics by Thomas Docherty

In Political English: Language and the Decay of Politics, Thomas Docherty offers a new examination of the historical and contemporary linkages between power, politics and the English language, arguing that the impoverishment of language is intimately connected with the impoverishment of political debate today. The book demonstrates the concomitant decline of discourse and democracy and brings a new slant to analyses of racism, classism and […]

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Book Review: The Force of Non-Violence by Judith Butler

In The Force of Non-Violence, Judith Butler challenges the prevailing ways in which violence and nonviolence have been understood, arguing that the distinction between the two has been founded on a harmful individualist paradigm. The book inspires a cautious yet hopeful optimism as it calls for a new interpretation of violence, and with it, a new imagining of nonviolence as a collective form […]

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    Book Review: Plagues and the Paradox of Progress by Thomas J. Bollyky

Book Review: Plagues and the Paradox of Progress by Thomas J. Bollyky

In Plagues and the Paradox of Progress, Thomas J. Bollyky combines a ‘germ’s eye view’ of human history with some powerful reflections on the challenges that face us over the coming decades. This is a beautifully written book, recommends Duncan Green, packed with great one-liners and historical anecdotes.
This review was originally published on the blog From Poverty to Power.
Plagues and the Paradox of Progress. Thomas […]

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    Book Review: Smart Villages in the EU and Beyond edited by Anna Visvizi, Miltiadis D. Lytras and György Mudri

Book Review: Smart Villages in the EU and Beyond edited by Anna Visvizi, Miltiadis D. Lytras and György Mudri

In Smart Villages in the EU and Beyond, Anna Visvizi, Miltiadis D. Lytras and György Mudri bring together leading academics and practitioners to explore opportunities and challenges when it comes to innovating and developing rural communities — the ‘smart village’ approach. Drawing on inspiring case studies, the book offers numerous strategies and human-centred recommendations aimed at enabling a brighter future for rural communities around the world, […]

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    Book Review: The New Populism: Democracy Stares into the Abyss by Marco Revelli

Book Review: The New Populism: Democracy Stares into the Abyss by Marco Revelli

In The New Populism: Democracy Stares into the Abyss, Marco Revelli explores the definitions, historical development and electoral geography of populism across much of Europe and the United States, focusing particularly on the relationship between populist politics and neoliberalism. While the book provides a wealth of detail on the ideology and history of populism and is particularly strong in examining Italy and its […]

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    Book Review: Cypriot Nationalisms in Context: History, Identity and Politics edited by Thekla Kyritsi and Nikos Christofis

Book Review: Cypriot Nationalisms in Context: History, Identity and Politics edited by Thekla Kyritsi and Nikos Christofis

In Cypriot Nationalisms in Context: History, Identity and Politics, Thekla Kyritsi and Nikos Christofis bring together contributors to examine historical and contemporary moments of nationalism in Cyprus and their attendant narratives through an interdisciplinary perspective. The book will be useful to academics and students of modern Cyprus and shines when exploring the lesser-studied new and traditional communities of Cyprus, yet greater attention to this […]

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    Book Review: The Globotics Upheaval: Globalization, Robotics and the Future of Work by Richard Baldwin

Book Review: The Globotics Upheaval: Globalization, Robotics and the Future of Work by Richard Baldwin

In The Globotics Upheaval: Globalization, Robotics and the Future of Work, Richard Baldwin provides a new analysis of how automation and globalisation could together shape our societies in the years to come. Drawing on numerous examples to keep readers engaged from cover to cover, this book is a tour de force, writes Wannaphong Durongkaveroj, discussing the past, present and future of globalisation and automation […]

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Book Review: Populism by Benjamin Moffitt

In Populism, Benjamin Moffitt offers a new study that looks to assess the current state of scholarship on populism. Jake Scott finds the book goes a significant way toward providing the clarity that can be so lacking when it comes to understanding populism.
Populism. Benjamin Moffitt. Polity. 2020.
Find this book: 
When the editors of The Oxford Handbook of Populism (2017) remarked that it was just as important […]

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    Book Review: The Bourdieu Paradigm: The Origins and Evolution of an Intellectual Social Project by Derek Robbins

Book Review: The Bourdieu Paradigm: The Origins and Evolution of an Intellectual Social Project by Derek Robbins

In The Bourdieu Paradigm: The Origins and Evolution of an Intellectual Social Project, Derek Robbins explores the intellectual and social background informing the development of the theoretical perspective, or theory-as-method, of Pierre Bourdieu. Given the increasing application of Bourdieu’s theoretical tools across the social sciences, this book is a timely addition to scholarship, writes Ross Goldstone. 
The Bourdieu Paradigm: The Origins and Evolution of […]

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Book Review: Resist: Stories of Uprising edited by Ra Page

In Resist: Stories of Uprising, editor Ra Page brings together contributors to offer an anthology of short stories and critical essays that narrate a rich counter-history of resistance in the UK, spanning from the Boudicca Rebellion to the protests in response to Grenfell Tower. Positioning fiction as a radical medium, this is a valuable book that will be of particular interest to participants and scholars […]

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