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.
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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When the editors of The Oxford Handbook of Populism (2017) remarked that it was just as important […]
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 […]
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 […]
In Refuge Beyond Reach: How Rich Democracies Repel Asylum Seekers, David Scott FitzGerald argues that the rich democracies of the Global North have developed ways to evade the spirit of international humanitarian laws when it comes to migration, whilst simultaneously de jure adhering to them. With a rich empirical basis and a clear, accessible style, this compelling and topical book will appeal to […]
In Anatomies of Revolution, George Lawson offers a new account of how revolutions begin, unfold and end through a dynamic amalgam of in-depth sociological theory, multiple historical narratives and poignant commentary on contemporary politics. This book is a triumph when it comes to a creative theorisation of revolution, writes Eric Loefflad, providing clarity not in spite of complexity, but through it.
If you are […]
Book Review: The Oxford Handbook on Women, Peace and Security edited by Sara E. Davies and Jacqui True
In The Oxford Handbook on Women, Peace and Security, editors Sara E. Davies and Jacqui True bring together 93 contributors to capture the ever-growing volume of scholarship that has developed since the passing of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) in October 2000. Columba Achilleos-Sarll recommends this as an extensive, timely contribution to the study of the WPS agenda, which maps […]
Book Review: Footsoldiers: Political Party Membership in the 21st Century by Tim Bale, Paul Webb and Monica Poletti
Although tens of millions of adults turn out to vote at UK general elections having decided which party’s policies and leaders they prefer, very few of them join those parties, let alone actively participate in and promote them. Who are those few, why do they join and what do they do? Ron Johnston reviews the latest book reporting on party member […]
Book Review: When the State Winks: The Performance of Jewish Conversion in Israel by Michal Kravel-Tovi
In Israel, Jewish conversions by first and second generation repatriates from the former Soviet Union are often depicted in public discourse as ‘wink-wink’ conversions, whereby converts and the state pretend that converts’ commitment to the Jewish faith and practice is sincere rather than performed solely for the duration of the conversion process. In When the State Winks, Michal Kravel-Tovi unsettles this narrative, […]
Book Review: In the Shadow of Justice: Postwar Liberalism and the Remaking of Political Philosophy by Katrina Forrester
With In the Shadow of Justice: Postwar Liberalism and the Remaking of Political Philosophy, Katrina Forrester explores how John Rawls’s justice theory became the dominant way of thinking about institutions and individuals in the second half of the twentieth century. This important work sheds light on the conceptual roots of modern political thought while at the same time disclosing its limits, writes Rahel […]
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 […]