Book cover of Losing the Long Game: The False Promise of Regime Change in the Middle East by Philip Gordon
History

Losing the Long Game: The False Promise of Regime Change in the Middle East

Since the end of World War II, the United States has set out to oust governments in the Middle East on an average of once per decade―in places as diverse as Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan (twice), Egypt, Libya, and Syria. The reasons for these interventions have also been extremely diverse, and the methods by which the United States pursued regime change have likewise been highly varied, ranging from diplomatic pressure alone to outright military invasion and occupation. What is common to all the operations, however, is that they failed to achieve their ultimate goals, produced a range of unintended and even catastrophic consequences, carried heavy financial and human costs, and in many cases left the countries in question worse off than they were before. […Learn More]

Europe

Empireland: How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain

In his brilliantly illuminating new book Sathnam Sanghera demonstrates how so much of what we consider to be modern Britain is actually rooted in our imperial past. In prose that is, at once, both clear-eyed and full of acerbic wit, Sanghera shows how our past is everywhere: from how we live to how we think, from the foundation of the NHS to the nature of our racism, from our distrust of intellectuals in public life to the exceptionalism that imbued the campaign for Brexit and the government’s early response to the Covid crisis. And yet empire is a subject, weirdly hidden from view […Learn More]

History

War: How Conflict Shaped Us

The instinct to fight may be innate in human nature, but war—organized violence—comes with organized society. War has shaped humanity’s history, its social and political institutions, its values and ideas. Our very language, our public spaces, our private memories, and some of our greatest cultural treasures reflect the glory and the misery of war. War is an uncomfortable and challenging subject not least because it brings out both the vilest and the noblest aspects of humanity.  […Learn More]

History

How to Be a Dictator: The Cult of Personality in the Twentieth Century

From the Samuel Johnson Prize-winning author of Mao’s Great Famine, a sweeping and timely study of twentieth-century dictators and the development of the modern cult of personality.

No dictator can rule through fear and violence alone. Naked power can be grabbed and held temporarily, but it never suffices in the long term. In the twentieth century, as new technologies allowed leaders to place their image and voice directly into their citizens’ homes, a new phenomenon appeared where dictators exploited the cult of personality to achieve the illusion of popular approval without ever having to resort to elections. […Learn More]

Asia

China’s Good War: How World War II is Shaping a New Nationalism

Chinese leaders once tried to suppress memories of their nation’s brutal experience during World War II. Now they celebrate the “victory”―a key foundation of China’s rising nationalism.

For most of its history, the People’s Republic of China limited public discussion of the war against Japan. It was an experience of victimization―and one that saw Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek fighting for the same goals. […Learn More]

The Hidden History of Burma: Race, Capitalism, and the Crisis of Democracy in the 21st Century by Thant Myint - U
Asia

The Hidden History of Burma: Race, Capitalism, and the Crisis of Democracy in the 21st Century

Precariously positioned between China and India, Burma’s population has suffered dictatorship, natural disaster, and the dark legacies of colonial rule. But when decades of military dictatorship finally ended and internationally beloved Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi emerged from long years of house arrest, hopes soared. World leaders such as Barack Obama ushered in waves of international support. Progress seemed inevitable. […Learn More]

Biography & Autobiography

Putin’s People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took on the West

Interference in American elections. The sponsorship of extremist politics in Europe. War in Ukraine. In recent years, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has waged a concerted campaign to expand its influence and undermine Western institutions. But how and why did all this come about, and who has orchestrated it?
In Putin’s People, the investigative journalist and former Moscow correspondent Catherine Belton reveals the untold story of how Vladimir Putin and the small group of KGB men surrounding him rose to power and looted their country. […Learn More]

Book cover for Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Forty - Year Rivalry That Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East by Kim Ghattas
History

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty – Year Rivalry That Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East

Kim Ghattas seamlessly weaves together history, geopolitics, and culture to deliver a gripping read of the largely unexplored story of the rivalry between between Saudi Arabia and Iran, born from the sparks of the 1979 Iranian revolution and fueled by American policy.

With vivid story-telling, extensive historical research and on-the-ground reporting, Ghattas dispels accepted truths about a region she calls home. She explores how Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran, once allies and twin pillars of US strategy in the region, became mortal enemies after 1979.  […Learn More]