Book Reviews

This section offers reviews of books written on global politics, international relations, and Pakistan.

The Unending Game: A Former R&AW Chief’s Insights into Espionage

Written by Muhammad Osama Asghar 12:47 pm

The Unending Game: A Former R&AW Chief’s Insights into Espionage by Vikram Sood is a brilliant piece of writing that is based on the workings of a premier intelligence agency. Vikram Sood has discussed various examples of the foreign policy contours of India while simultaneously poking around the organization, hierarchy, operations, successes, and failures of an agency.
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Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics

Written by Javeria Tariq 7:13 pm

In “Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need To Know About Global Politics,” Tim Marshall (British author and journalist) explores the world through ten geographical maps. The book is divided into ten chapters, and provides critical insights into the geography and politics of each of the ten regions.
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Pakistan: A Personal History by Imran Khan

Written by Nimra Dawood 7:00 pm

Authored by Pakistan’s former prime minister, Imran Khan, “Pakistan: A Personal History” offers the readers a look inside the beliefs, ideas, and personal life of the PTI leader. The book explains the history of Pakistan from Imran Khan’s perspective and introduces the people to the experiences that transformed him into who he is today.
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Cold War in the Islamic World by Dilip Hiro

Written by Nouman Javeid 12:44 pm

Written by Dilip Hiro, “Cold War in the Islamic World: Saudi Arabia, Iran and the Struggle for Supremacy” presents an analysis of the ongoing conflict between Riyadh and Tehran. The author, while conveying the depth of conflict, explains the reality behind the persistent rivalry between both states.
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The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities

Written by Syed Basim Raza 7:41 pm

The father of offensive realism, John Joseph Mearsheimer, constructed this piece of literature revolving around the critique of “liberal hegemony” and liberalism in US foreign policy. In “The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities,” he methodically deconstructs the liberal foreign policy paradigm that has been very relevant in the past century.
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How the BJP Wins: Inside India’s Greatest Election Machine

Written by Nimra Dawood 11:19 am

“How the BJP Wins: Inside India’s Greatest Election Machine” by Prashant Jha is thought to be a journalistic guide and an insightful analysis of the Indian electoral system, especially concerning the rise of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) under the leadership of Narendra Modi. A clear and responsible dissection of the success story of the BJP government following its big and decisive victory in the Lok Sabha elections of 2014 has been presented with the skilful connection drawn between various elements that are playing a role in making the rise of the BJP possible.
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The Envoy: From Kabul to the White House, My Journey Through a Turbulent World

Written by Nimra Dawood 12:30 pm

Zalmay Khalilzad contributed to the reconstruction and peace-building of Afghanistan after the USSR invaded the country – and in the post-Taliban era. In “The Envoy: From Kabul to the White House, My Journey from a Turbulent World,” Khalilzad details his turbulent journey from a traditional country like Afghanistan to a modern and developed country like the US. Khalilzad also argues that the world has already moved toward disorder and chaos because of several factors including terrorism, mistrust among allies, unrest in the Middle East, the rise of China, and Russian aggression.
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Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism by Benedict Anderson

Written by Ureeda Khan 11:51 am

Authored by Benedict Anderson, “Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism” explains the roots of nationalism, a pertinent element in contemporary politics. The title of the book is indicative of the process through which “nations” came to be “imagined” as being socially constructed artifacts. The European Linguistic Revolution, amongst other elements, is majorly attributed as the origin of the rise of nationalism.
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Pakistan: A Hard Country by Anatol Lieven

Written by Abrish Nayyar 7:24 pm

“Pakistan: A Hard Country” is widely recommended for CSS aspirants, and the title is pretty self-explanatory. Pakistan has had more than its fair share of conflicts, disasters, upheavals, and socioeconomic crises, but has always miraculously made it through. In the book, Anatol Lieven (a visiting professor at King’s College London) analyses the various factors that have – and still are – negatively impacting the country.
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Pakistan: Beyond the ‘Crisis State’

Written by Tamseel Aqdas 1:34 pm

Edited by Maleeha Lodhi and several other contributors, Pakistan: Beyond the ‘Crisis State’ was published in 2011. The book effectively embarks beyond terrorism and natural disasters. Instead, it addresses the country’s contemporary security dynamics, demographic pressures, energy shortages, and lack of political will.
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Anthropology and Migration by Caroline Brettell

Written by Ahmad Wadeer 6:57 pm

“Anthropology and Migration: Essays on Transnationalism, Ethnicity, and Identity” by Caroline Brettell is a collection of essays presenting a unique approach to the study of migration. While focusing on Portuguese emigration, she explores the linkages between gender and migration, and themes like transnationalism, ethnicity, and identity.
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Stealth War: How China Took Over While America’s Elite Slept

Written by Taha Amir 12:24 pm

“Stealth War” showcases a retired US Air Force officer and White House advisor’s outlook on China’s rise to great power. Robert Spalding, the author of the book, views China’s rise as a threat to the ideas and status of the US. He believes that China is using silent tactics and strategies to exert its influence across the world and counter the US, without resorting to military aggression. He discusses how Beijing has been trying to dominate every field – be it the economy, military, diplomacy, technology, education, or infrastructure.
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India and Central Asia: The Strategic Dimension

Written by Nauman Sultan 11:48 am

“India and Central Asia: The Strategic Dimension” presents an Indian diplomat’s perspective on Indian foreign policy. Phunchok Stobdan, the author of the book, analyzes the significance of Central Asia for India and the different ways of connecting the two to solidify India’s regional influence. He evaluates the security challenges in the path of linking India and Central Asia, and proposes solutions to overcome them.
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World Order by Henry Kissinger

Written by Syed Yasir Abbas Shah 12:47 pm

A book sought by CSS aspirants and students of international relations, Henry Kissinger’s World Order sets the stage by addressing the evolution of the state as a permanent and fundamental entity in conducting international relations. He puts light on the significance of the Peace of Westphalia (1648) in the first institutionalising international order among states. In so doing, Kissinger deftly explains the role of the state and its enduring legacy in structuring relations between and among the states.
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How Democracies Die

Written by Syed Yasir Abbas Shah 12:14 pm

Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblett’s book “How Democracies Die” discusses what factors weaken democracy, and what ultimately causes the downfall of democracy. Reflecting on Linz’s litmus test for undemocratic politicians, the authors put light on Donald J. Trump’s political career. To save democracy, the authors put forth two ways: mutual tolerance and institutional forbearance.
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Shooting for a Century: The India-Pakistan Conundrum by Stephen P. Cohen (Book Review)

Written by Haider Ali Khan 11:47 am

In “Shooting for a Century: The India-Pakistan Conundrum,” Stephen P. Cohen analyzes the future of India-Pakistan relations. Cohen argues that even after the two rival South Asian states surpass a century since their independence, the ties between them are unlikely to normalize.
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The Military and Domestic Politics: A Concordance Theory of Civil-Military Relations

Written by Omair Farooq Khan 12:14 pm

In “The Military and Domestic Politics: A Concordance Theory of Civil-Military Relations,” Rebecca Schiff uses the concordance theory to better understand and explore the reason for military intervention than the traditional theory of separation which has its roots in the Western system, making it incompatible for non-Western countries. She also gives due importance to institutional development and culture in understanding the civil-military relations of a state.
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