5 New Books on Political Violence (January 2022)

In recognition of the fact I will never be able to write enough on topics like this, I think it is important to bring attention to book length projects covering political violence events and wars. I believe that those seeking to learn more about war and political violence should engage with conflicts that have occurred/are occurring in different regions of the world and over different time periods. With that in mind, here are 5 recent releases anyone interested in war and political violence might be interested in picking up.

  1. How Civil Wars Start: And How to Stop Them

Written by Dr. Barbara F. Walter, who is the Rohr Professor of International Relations at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California, San Diego. Already gaining a lot of attention, in this book Dr. Walter engages with how, over the past two decades, there has been a surge in the number of civil wars occurring around the world. In doing so, she takes pains to engage with the warning signs that a civil war might be imminent, as well as why some countries end up sinking into conflict while others do not. For this latter point, particular attention is paid to countries categorized as anocracies, that is, countries that share characteristics of both democratic and autocratic states. This will be an important book for anyone interested in learning more about civil wars going forward.

2. When God Stops Fighting: How Religious Violence Ends

Written by Dr. Mark Juergensmeyer, who is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Global Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara and the William F. Podlich Distinguished Fellow at Claremont McKenna College. In this book, Dr. Juergensmeyer launches into an examination of the minds of religiously motivated militants like those from ISIS, the Sikh Khalistan movement, and the Moro movement to see what motivated drastic changes caused individuals from these groups to lay down their arms despite previously being fully committed to engaging in religious warfare.

3. The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an Empire

Written by William Dalrymple, a bestselling author who has won a number of major awards for his works, such as Xanadu and Nine Lives. This book presents a new look into how the East India Company took over large amounts of territory in Asia, with devastating results for these populations. Notably it draws on previously untapped sources of information to provide an in-depth portrait of the violence the East India Company engaged in.

4. The War in Ukraine’s Donbas: Origins, Contexts, and the Future

Edited by Dr. David R. Marples, Distinguished University Professor in the Department of History and Classics at the University of Alberta, Canada. The book itself provides a relatively comprehensive examination of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine over the period of 2013 until 2020. Interestingly, particular attention is devoted to the autonomy and history of Donbas itself as a region. It concludes with four specific proposals for a durable peace in Donbas that will be of interest to anyone looking towards learning about more alternatives of how this conflict might end.

5. Conflict at the Edge of the African State: The ADF Rebel Group in the Congo-Uganda Borderland

Written by Dr. Lindsay Scorgie, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Huron College, University of Western Ontario. In this book, Dr. Scorgie presents an examination of one of the most secretive rebel groups in the eastern Congo: the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). In operation for nearly three decades now, the Islamic rebel group has outlasted many other rebel groups in the region. Notably, they have begun getting increasing attention from the international community due to their alleged ties to the Islamic State, making this publication particularly timely for those interested in learning more.

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This article contains affiliate links to books that serve as references to wars and incidents of political violence that you might be interested in learning more about. If you choose to purchase these books via my affiliate links, you will help support my writing and research at no additional cost to you.

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