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December 19th, 2023

LSE RB year in review: The 12 most-read posts of 2023

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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

LSE Community

December 19th, 2023

LSE RB year in review: The 12 most-read posts of 2023

0 comments | 5 shares

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

What were you reading on LSE Review of Books in 2023? We count down the top 12 most-read posts (11 book reviews and one author Q&A) published this year on the blog.

Book cover of Spin Dictators12. Spin Dictators: The Changing Face of Tyranny in the 21st Century by Sergei Guriev and Daniel Treisman

Sergei Guriev and Daniel Treisman argue that today’s authoritarian rulers have shifted from hard-line repression to subtler tactics. Ilker Kalin recommended this book as a milestone in scholarship on authoritarianism that will inspire scholars to delve more into the changing character of today’s strongmen.



11. On the Inconvenience of Other People by Lauren Berlant

Lauren Berlant explores the affective states bound up in being inevitably connected to others – not just people, but animals, things and thoughts. Lilly Markaki found this last book of Berlant’s a compelling thought experiment in how to proceed and do theory in a damaged world.



Cover of The Gender of Capital by Céline Bessière and Sibylle Gollac with an old black and white photograph of a man and woman pushing a pram in a suburban setting10. The Gender of Capital: How Families Perpetuate Wealth Inequality by Céline Bessière and Sibylle Gollac (translated by Juliette Rogers)

Céline Bessière and Sibylle Gollac examine how the institution of the family and its legal protections disempower and impoverish women. Khushbu Sharma recommended it as an accessible, thoroughly researched analysis of a key mechanism upholding women’s economic inequality.



Book cover of Shattered Nation: Inequality and the Geography of A Failing State by Danny Dorling with a black background, white and yellow font and the image of a shopping trolley in the foreground.9. Shattered Nation: Inequality and the Geography of a Failing State byDanny Dorling 

Danny Dorling proposes that the United Kingdom has been so damaged by forty years of neoliberalism that it could soon evolve into a dystopia. Larry Patriquin felt that though the book presented a detailed picture of a nation in crisis, it stopped short of probing exactly how the UK has entrenched such deep inequality.


Cover of Values, Voice and Virtue The New British Politics cover, illustration showing white ground with a crack in it.8. Values, Voice and Virtue: The New British Politics by Matthew Goodwin

Matthew Goodwin claims that recent upheavals in British society (like Brexit) have emerged in response to the rise of a liberalised, globalised ruling class, or “new elite.” Goodwin’s emphasis on “culture wars” over empirical evidence failed to convince Vladimir Bortun.



Kashmir at the Crossroads Sumantra Bose book Cover7. Kashmir at the Crossroads: Inside a 21st-Century Conflict by Sumantra Bose

Sumantra Bose analyses the conflict in Kashmir from its origins to the present, considering the influence of colonial legacies, the rise of Hindu Nationalism and global interventions. Ajit Kumar welcomed it as an urgent, compelling contribution to the understanding of one of South Asia’s most critical political issues.


Free and equal cover6. Free and Equal: What Would a Fair Society Look Like? by Daniel Chandler

Daniel Chandler considers how the work of twentieth-century philosopher John Rawls could inform policymaking to build a fairer society with reduced inequality and a more democratic political system. Aveek Bhattacharya questioned whether the work of other thinkers might be more effective in mobilising citizens and policymakers to effect meaningful change.


Book cover of The Women Who Made Modern Economics by Rachel Reeves, red black and yellow font against a white background5. The Women Who Made Modern Economics by Rachel Reeves

Rachel Reeves highlights the work and ideas of women including Mary Paley Marshall, Janet Yellen and Beatrice Webb whose influence on modern economics is often underappreciated. Written from the point of view of the Labour Party’s policies and of Reeves’ own “securonomics”, Tanushree Kaushal found it highly selective in the economists and policymakers it included and the policies it championed.



The illusion of control book cover by Jon Danielsson showing a graph trending downwards4. The Illusion of Control: Why Financial Crises Happen, and What We Can (and Can’t) Do About It by Jón Daníelsson

Examining historic and recent financial crises, Jón Daníelsson challenges conventional assumptions around risk and regulation used to prevent them. William Quinn recommended this sharp, insightful book which makes a strong case for policymakers to reappraise the current safeguarding paradigm.



The Conservative Party After Brexit Turmoil and Transformation, Tim Bale cover3. The Conservative Party After Brexit: Turmoil and Transformation by Tim Bale

Tim Bale dissects the complex dynamics of a divided party attempting to use the Brexit referendum result to political advantage, tracing the shifts in leadership and agenda over the past several years. James Dennison deemed it a skilful anatomy of a tumultuous period in the history of the Conservative Party.



2. Lies Our Mothers Told Us: The Indian Woman’s Burden by Nilanjana Bhowmick 

Nilanjana Bhowmick explores the structural constraints that impede empowerment and gender equality for middle-class women in India. Riddhi Bhandari and Sriti Ganguly found that its combination of personal stories and journalistic investigation made for an accessible insight into these middle-class women’s experiences and negotiations.



Manias, Panics and Crashes 8th edition cover1. Q and A with Robert McCauley on Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises

This year saw the publication of an 8th edition of Charles Kindleberger’s classic 1978 text on financial bubbles, with economist Robert McCauley contributing as a new co-author. Martin Walker spoke to McCauley about the new edition and whether understanding of financial crises has improved.



Note: The reviews in this reading list give the views of the authors, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics.

Banner Image Credit: on Shutterstock.

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This work by LSE Review of Books is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 UK: England & Wales.