Top 5 Books: May 2022

Mariana Vieira

All issues of International Affairs feature a comprehensive book review section which surveys the latest writing on international politics. In the latest in our Top 5 Books series, Book Reviews Editor Mariana Vieira presents her choices from the May 2022 issue. Share your favourite new books on international relations in the response section below.

1) Roadblock politics

Written by Peer Schouten. Published in Cambridge by Cambridge University Press.

In this ground-breaking and insightful study, Peer Schouten investigates the complicated political role of roadblocks in armed conflict in central Africa. Roadblock Politics provides a sophisticated analysis of the logistical structures and histories in which contemporary roadblocks operate. Crucially, Schouten expertly recognizes that roadblocks frequently act as a site of creative political response to international supply chains. A genuinely innovative contribution that makes for fascinating reading.

Read the full review here.

2) The fight for climate after COVID-19

Written by Alice C. Hill. Published in New York by Oxford University Press.

Those looking for a grounded, useful analysis on the political steps needed in the fight against climate change should look no further than Alice Hill’s new book. Making a powerful argument for immediate investment in climate adaption, The fight for climate after COVID-19, serves as a wake-up call to contemporary policy-makers. With clear and actionable solutions, this is a must read for anyone with an interest in climate policy.

Read the full review here.

3) Britain’s persuaders

Written by Michael Clarke and Helen Ramscar. Published in London by I.B. Tauris.

In the continued aftermath of Brexit, the need for UK policy-makers to make the best use of the UK’s soft power is more acute than ever. In Britain’s persuaders Ramscar and Clarke assess the key sources of the UK’s soft power and challenge policy-makers to build on the country’s status as a ‘soft power superpower’. In so doing the authors manage to avoid overemphasizing soft power’s role whilst also skilfully showing where policy-makers can and must do more.

Read the full review here.

4) Atomic steppe

Written by Togzhan Kassenova. Published in Redwood City, CA by Stanford University Press.

Atomic steppe tackles non-proliferation as a practical policy question without losing sight of the human costs of attempts to attain and retain nuclear weapons. Drawing on extensive interviews, Togzhan Kassenova presents an account of Kazakhstan’s denuclearization that not only makes clear the strategic decisions facing Kazakh policy-makers, but also holds important insights for wider discussions of non-proliferation.

Read the full review here.

5) Tribalism and political power in the Gulf

Written by Courtney Freer and Alanoud al-Sharekh. Published in London by I.B. Tauris.

In Tribalism and political power Courtney Freer and Alanoud al-Sharekh offer a nuanced and engaging analysis of how tribal affiliations function within a broader identity politics and the bureaucratic structures of Gulf states. Exploring how social media platforms amplify tribal voices, the authors outline the role of online representation for women in the varied contexts of Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE. This book will be of interest to anyone looking for insight into the international politics of Gulf states.

Read the full review here.

Mariana Vieira is the Book Reviews Editor of International Affairs.

This blog features her picks from the book reviews section of International Affairs published in May 2022. To read the reviews in full, click here.

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

If you are interested in reviewing a book for the journal or registering as a book reviewer with International Affairs you can find our book review application form here.

All views expressed are individual not institutional.

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