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Holiday Reading

by Michael Levi
December 27, 2011

I’m off on vacation for a couple weeks. In the meantime, here are a few books I’ve read over the past year that I’d recommend:

  1. The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World. Dan Yergin’s new history and prognosis for energy is not without its flaws, but on the whole, it’s a great overview of where we’ve been and where we might be going. Besides, it’s a great read, which is something one can’t often say about an energy book.
  2. Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power. Robert Kaplan’s book, published late last year, is a fascinating cross between travelogue and analysis of international politics. It’s also not entirely unrelated to where I’ll be over the next couple weeks.
  3. The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century’s On-line Pioneers. In a year where social media became a major topic of discussion among people who care about international relations, it’s worth going back to this neat book to understand that we’ve been through something like this before. Like the first two books, this one’s not just good analysis – it’s a great story.
  4. Bounding Power: Republican Security Theory from the Polis to the Global Village. Dan Deudney’s 2006 book isn’t nearly as easy reading as the others I’ve listed here – there’s a lot of jargon and dense political theory. It’s worth the effort, though, to work through this reinterpretation of two thousand years of international relations history and theory that tries to explain the every-expanding scope of international cooperation. I don’t quite buy his predictions for the future, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is probably the most interesting book I read this year.

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