Faculty Summer Reading List 2017

June 5, 2017

Want to brush up on international politics, history and the like this summer? Ditch the classroom and grab a couple of these books suggested by Elliott School faculty. We promise there won't be any pop quizzes! 


Mona Atia, Associate Professor of Geography and International Affairs

Critical Geopolitics by Gerard Toal (1996)

This book is an excellent introduction to the field of geopolitics from a geographical perspective and serves to provide a foundational understanding of the spatial writing of international relations. 


Gregg Brazinsky, Associate Professor of History and International Affairs

Winning the Third World: Sino-American Rivalry During the Cold War by Gregg Brazinsky (2017)

Sino-American relations have emerged as one of the most critical issues for the Trump Administration. Yet our understanding of the history of the relationship and of China's policies in Asia and Africa is quite limited. This book provides crucial historical background for understanding China's One Belt One Road initiative, as well as its expanding economic presence in Africa and Central Asia. 


Reuben E. Brigety II, Dean, Elliott School of International Affairs 


Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2013)

With effortless grace, celebrated author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie illuminates a seminal moment in modern African history: Biafra's impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in southeastern Nigeria during the late 1960s. 


In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larsen (2011)

The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America's first ambassador to Hitler's Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. 


Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

As Adolf Hitler and the Nazis seduced a nation, bullied a continent and attempted to exterminate the Jews of Europe, a small number of dissidents and saboteurs worked to dismantle the Third Reich from the inside. 


Jennifer Brinkerhoff, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Special Initiatives, Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs 


King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild (1999)

This book is a must-read for anyone interested in human rights and global advocacy movements. It documents one of the first global advocacy movements on record -- before we had access to the internet. 


Christina Fink, Professor of the Practice of International Affairs 


Madame President: The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf by Helene Cooper (2017) 

A beautifully written biography and portrait of a country by a New York Times journalist who grew up in LIberia. 


Mark Langevin, Research Professor, Director of the Brazil Initiative 

Aspirational Power: Brazil on the Long Road to Global Influence by David Mares and Harold Trinkunas (2016)

This book raises fundamental questions about the global order and Brazil's place in it. It is a study of soft power in the global order that will likely become a central work of Brazilian foreign policy scholarship for decades to come. 


David Malet, Visiting Associate Professor of International Affairs 

The Anarchical Society: A Study of Order in World Politics by Hedley Bull (1977)

This is the 40th anniversary of this important book and it is more relevant in 2017 than it was in 1977. Bull incorporates important perspectives on history and diplomacy into his study of "International Society," a world political order that expands upon the state-based international system to include non-state actors and private sector trade. 


Harris Mylonas, Associate Dean for Research, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs


The Politics of Nation-Building: Making Co-Nationals, Refugees, and Minoritie by Harris Mylonas (2013)

What drives a state's choice to assimilate, accommodate, or exclude ethnic groups within its territory? This book argues that a state's nation-building policies toward non-core groups are influenced by both its foreign policy goals and its relations with the external patrons of these groups. 


Henry Nau, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs 


Patriotism Is Not Enough by Steven Hayward (2017)

This book is a brilliant recent analysis of the philosophical debate between conservatives and liberals. It's important because liberals and conservatives in America today consider each other evil, when in fact their respective positions on the role of government in free societies are both reasonable and legitimate. 


Scott Pace, Professor of the Practice of International Affairs

The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism by Michael Novak (1990) 

This book is an eloquent moral argument on the linkages between a free and democratic society and a free and prosperous one. It should be of interest to international affairs students who would like a better understanding of the normative arguments supporting many U.S. policies, domestic and foreign. 


Peter Rollberg, Professor of Slavic Languages, Film Studies, and International Affairs


I recommend Mikhail Bulgakov for an enjoyable, witty and enriching summer reading experience. Russia will seem less enigmatic after that! 

1) A Country Doctor's Notebook

2) A Dog's Heart

3) The Master and Margarita 


Paul Williams, Associate Professor of International Affairs

Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the 20th Century World by JR McNeill (2001)

This book explains how the 20th century is special: by altering ecosystems with such intensity, the human race, without intending anything of the sort, has undertaken a gigantic uncontrolled experiment on the Earth.