Daniel W. Drezner

Your late summer political science book club

Your late summer political science book club

Barring a last-minute hurricane, your humble blogger is off to the American Political Science Association annual meetings early tomorrow.  Now, personal and professional networking aside, there are two other reasons academics like myself like to go to these things.  The first is to hear interesting work-in-progress, and the second is to linger over the book room, which has all the latest books about politics from academic and commercial presses.  Name the most obscure political science-y topic in the world, and I’d be willing to bet that there’s at least one book about it in that room. 

Now, one of the perks of my Klout score academic station is that publishers and authors send some interesting books sent my way.  For those readers who are attending APSA and… um… read my blog and are therefore likely to be interested in the same topics that I am, here are the books that I think are worth picking up: 

1)  Mark Blyth, Austerity:  The History of a Dangerous Idea (Oxford University Press).  Blyth’s book is that rare combination of analytical precision and furious jeremiad against the notion that fiscal austerity is the macroeconomic policy solution for times of uncertainty.  If you’re interested in economic ideas, this is well worth the read. 

2)  Ronald J. Deibert, Black Code:  Inside the Battle for Cyberspace (Signal).  Cyber! Cyber!!  CYBER!!!  It’s been that kind of year.  Deibert has been looking at these issues for more than a decade now, and this very accessible text looks like it will be a must-read for the fall. 

3)  Emilie Hafner-Burton, Making Human Rights a Reality (Princeton University Press).  Over the past few years, Hafner-Burton has published… let’s see… approximately a gazillion pieces on human rights over the past decade.  This book represents Hafner-Burton’s efforts to distill what she’s learned from her research and convert that knowledge into an actionable strategy to improve human rights across the globe. 

4)  Thomas Hale, David Held and Kevin Young, Gridlock:  Why Global Cooperation Is Failing When We Need It Most (Polity Press).  Loyal readers are aware of the argument I’m making in my book about the state of global economic governance.  This book disagrees with me, but it does so in some very interesting ways — and also covers a much wier range of issue areas than my own project. 

5)  Noel Maurer, The Empire Trap:  The Rise and Fall of U.S. Intervention to Protect American Property Overseas, 1893-2013 (Princeton University Press).  Maurer makes an argument that strikes me as pretty much the opposite of Stephen D. Krasner’s Defending The National Interest.  He posits that U.S. interventions have been dictated by private rather than national interests, and that military interventions to deal with expropriations have proven to be a costly and unnecessary exercise.  As I write some follow-up work to my summer International Security article, it should come in handy. 

6)  Manjari Chatterjee Miller, Wronged By Empire:  Post-Imperial Ideology and Foreign Policy in India and China (Stanford University Press).  It’s easy and glib to talk about how countries that were colonized carry that experience into their post-independence foreign policy.  It’s another thing entirely to explore rigorously how these colonial legacies explain foreign policy behaviors in wars that standard international relations theories do not.  Miller looks at China and India in particular, two kinda important countries.