Top 5 Books: April

Krisztina Csortea

International Affairs has the best book review section of any journal in the field. Many people subscribe to it for that reason alone.’

Professor Sir Michael Howard

Every issue of International Affairs features a comprehensive book review section which assesses the latest writing on all facets of international studies. In this, the latest in our Top 5 Books series, Book Reviews Editor Krisztina Csortea presents her picks from the March issue. Join the conversation and share your must-read new books on global politics and international relations in the response section below. Enjoy!

1) The perfect weapon: war, sabotage, and fear in the cyber age

Written by David E. Sanger. Published in London by Scribe.

Krisztina says: David Sanger paints a frightening picture of Russian cyberattacks in the US, which will surprise even the most dedicated followers of the Mueller investigation. On an international level, Sanger argues, cyber weapons have transformed geopolitics as nothing has since the invention of the atomic bomb. As Julien Nocetti notes in his review: ‘Sanger’s book is a wake-up call for the US, and more globally for the West, in a time of dire transatlantic relations’.

Read the full International Affairs review here.

2) AI super-powers: China, Silicon Valley and the new world order

Written by Kai-Fu Lee. Published in New York by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Krisztina says: ‘Anxiety over the advance of AI is rife’ observes Robyn Klingler-Vidra in her review of Kai-Fu Lee’s AI super-powers. Lee surveys developments in AI research in the US and China, and outlines the difference between Silicon Valley’s and China’s tech companies approaches to AI.

Read the full International Affairs review here.

3) The BRICS and collective financial statecraft

Written by Cynthia Roberts, Leslie Elliott Armijo and Saori N. Katada. Published in New York by Oxford University Press.

Krisztina says: Are the BRICS the new frontier in financial statecraft or do they play by the conventional rulebook? Cynthia Roberts, Leslie Elliott Armijo and Saori N. Katada argue that the BRICS have been increasingly willing to engage in collective financial and monetary strategies which has increased their influence, especially China’s. Ilene Grabel concludes that as the US is becoming more and more inward looking, ‘the issues raised in this fascinating book are even more salient now than they were when it went to press.’

Read the full International Affairs review here.

4) Reimagining Pakistan: transforming a dysfunctional nuclear state | Imagining Pakistan: modernism, the state and the politics of Islamic revival

Written by Husain Haqqani. Published in Noida by Harper Collins.

Krisztina says: ‘Can reality be beaten with enough imagination?’ Farzana Shaikh asks in her double review of two new books on Pakistan. ‘Mark Twain thought so, and so it would seem do the authors of these two new books on Pakistan. Both share a common faith in the power of imagination to shift entrenched parameters and arrest the ruinous cycle that has reduced Pakistan to what former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright once described as ‘an international migraine’.

Read the full International Affairs review of both books here.

5) Violence in Latin America and the Caribbean: subnational structures, institutions and clientelistic networks

Edited by Tina Hilgers and Laura Macdonald. Published in New York by Cambridge University Press.

Krisztina says: Tom Long notes that ‘Several times a year, a wave of headlines declares Latin America the world’s most violent region.’ Tina Hilgers and Laura Macdonald have brought together an impressive group of contributors who try to parse the causes of this violence and what can be done to mitigate them. They make ‘clear that the experience of violence is related to a multitude of factors: place, socio-economic status, race, gender, political sympathies and relation to the state’.

Read the full International Affairs review here.

Krisztina Csortea is the Book Reviews Editor for International Affairs.

This blog features her picks from the book reviews section of our March issue. To read the reviews in full, click here.

To find more suggestions from the IA Bookshelf series, click here.

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