Books & Media Reviews

The Emergency State: America’s Pursuit of Absolute Security at all Costs

by David Unger Washington Post May 25, 2012

Last year a Newsweek article made public President Obama’s reading list. Its message was promising: A third of the books focused on former presidencies. Yet according to “The Emergency State,” David C. Unger’s ambitious and valuable overview of 20th-century presidents and national security, ...

Reviewed By: Karen J. Greenberg

Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey From North Korea to Freedom in the West

by Blaine Harden Washington Post April 27, 2012

Escape From Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West” by Blaine Harden...

Reviewed By: Andrew Salmon

Tinderbox : How the West Sparked the AIDS Epidemic and How the World Can Finally Overcome It

by Craig Timberg and Daniel Halperin Washington Post April 7, 2012

Just a few months ago, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, a leading firebrand of the global AIDS movement, Stephen Lewis, said at a conference that the money given to Africa by the U.S. global AIDS initiative called PEPFAR and by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria amounted to “partial ...

Reviewed By: John Donnelly

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

by Katherine Boo Washington Post February 10, 2012

This is an astonishing book.eye view of the “undercity” of one of the world’s largest metropolises; as an intensely reported, deeply felt account of the lives, hopes and fears of people traditionally excluded from literate narratives; as a story that truly hasn’t been told before, at least n...

Reviewed By: Shashi Tharoor

World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development

by World Bank Woods Project February 8, 2012

The 2012 World Development Report (WDR) is a watershed moment: it is the first time that the World Bank, the world’s largest and most influential development institution, has devoted its flagship publication to gender. Kate Bedford of the University of Kent argues that the report leaves the Bank f...

Reviewed By: Kate Bedford Bretton

Earth Grab: Geopiracy, the New Biomassters, and Capturing Climate Genes

by Diana Bronson, Hope Shand, Jim Thomas, Kathy Jo Wetter World Hunger Education Service January 11, 2012

January 11, 2012 Human induced climate change is rapidly becoming an environmental crisis unprecedented in scope. As the crisis takes hold, with examples such as increasingly unpredictable and destructive weather patterns, unrestrained deforestation, the disappearance of arctic ice, risi...

Reviewed By: Michael Abouzelof

The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions Are Changing World Politics

by Kathryn Sikkink Washington Post December 30, 2011

What is the impact of putting former national leaders on trial for massive violations of human rights? Surely, most who are aware of the crimes, and certainly the surviving victims, find value in the trials and convictions of murderous leaders and their associates. On the other hand, there are cases...

Reviewed By: Micheline Ishay

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined

by Steven Pinker Washington Post November 30, 2011

Appearances often deceive. Steven Pinker’s “The Better Angels of Our Nature” landed on my desk in the immediate aftermath of that terrible massacre in Norway. As I read the book, Syrian forces slaughtered pro-democracy protesters, riots engulfed English cities, and murders punctuated the news....

Reviewed By: Gerard Degroot

Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa

by Jason K. Stearns Washington Post October 30, 2011

Most books about Congo’s war focus, understandably, on the victims. Perhaps 5 million have died in this central African inferno, though that is a guess — no one is counting the corpses. Some were murdered with clubs, knives or farm tools. Most died more slowly, of war-induced hunger and disease....

Reviewed By: Robert Guest

UNWARRANTED INFLUENCE Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Military-Industrial Complex

by James Ledbetter Washington Post September 30, 2011

The history of the Victorian age, wrote Lytton Strachey, can never be written: We know too much about it. The wise historian ought rather to examine specimen...

Reviewed By: Josiah Bunting III