Top 5 Books: October

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 September issue. Join the conversation and share your must-read new books on global politics and international relations in the response section below. Enjoy!

1) War, women, and power: from violence to mobilization in Rwanda and Bosnia-Herzegovina

Written by Marie E. Berry. Published in Cambridge by Cambridge University Press.

Krisztina says: In her book, Marie E. Berry discusses the political activism of women during conflict by looking at the conflicts in Rwanda and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Her excellent book not only notes women’s involvement in conflict, but also highlights the ‘patriarchal backlash’ that was experienced after the wars ended and which has resulted in the marginalization of women in both Bosnian and Rwandan society.

Read the full International Affairs review here.

2) Unelected power: the quest for legitimacy in central banking and the regulatory state

Written by Paul Tucker. Published in Princeton and Oxford by Princeton University Press.

Krisztina says: A decade after the global financial crisis, discussions about the manner in which this crisis was managed are no less relevant or important. Paul Tucker’s book explores the unelected power of central banks during the financial crisis and how this continues to affect their role today. In order to counter the power of such unelected bodies, Tucker also helpfully suggests some principles and governance techniques to protect these central banks’ fragile legitimacy.

Read the full International Affairs review here.

3) Eurotragedy: a drama in nine acts

Written by Ashoka Mody. Published in New York by Oxford University Press.

Krisztina says: Ashoka Mody emphasizes in his book that a single European currency was always going to produce conflict and divergence within Europe. In examining the history of the euro, Mody’s impressive book tries to understand why the decision was made to adopt a single currency when all the evidence suggested this was a bad idea. This exploration of the adoption of the euro demonstrates that the problems the eurozone economy has faced are by no means surprising.

Read the full International Affairs review here.

4) Russian ‘hybrid warfare’: resurgence and politicisation

Written by Ofer Fridman. Published in London by Hurst.

Krisztina says: Partly due to the Russian interference throughout the European continent, hybrid warfare — and what this actually means — is becoming an increasingly discussed topic. Ofer Fridman’s insightful book takes a critical look at this concept and traces its development in and deployment by the West and Russia. The book offers some great insights, including that gibridnaya voina (hybrid war in Russian) is considered a specifically western tactic in Russia.

Read the full International Affairs review here.

5) The burning shores: inside the battle for the new Libya

Written by Frederic Wehrey. Published in New York by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Krisztina says: Frederic Wehrey looks at the developments which caused Libya’s successful revolution to turn into a civil war by examining the key moments which caused Libya to fracture. While Wehrey’s description of the 2012 Benghazi attack is particularly insightful, the whole book discusses the complex developments that have taken place in Libya in an accessible, measured and astute manner.

Read the full International Affairs review here.


Krisztina Csortea is the Book Reviews Editor, and acting Managing Editor, for International Affairs.

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

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