Book Reviews

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

Blood and Silk: Power and Conflict in Modern Southeast Asia

Written by Atiqa Tariq 4:57 pm

In “Blood and Silk: Power and Conflict in Modern Southeast Asia”, Michael R. J. Vatikiotis focuses on the violent conflicts that have plagued Southeast Asia ever since it gained independence from colonial empires. Internal conflicts, political polarization, corruption, and economic disparity have halted the region’s progress. In fact, in 2015, Cambodia ranked 150 out of 168 on the corruption index, Thailand sat at 76, Vietnam at 112, and Indonesia at 88.
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The Pashtuns: A Contested History

Written by Sidra Ahad 7:56 pm

“The Pashtuns: A Contested History” is an account of the Pashtun ethnic group, their journey through history, their struggle with foreign invaders, and internal conflicts. Tilak Devasher highlights Pakistan’s role in the rise of the Taliban and in their endurance, especially during the American invasion in the post-9/11 era.
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The State During the British Raj: Imperial Governance in South Asia 1700-1947

Written by Azfar Khan Niazi 7:17 pm

Ilhan Niaz’s ‘The State During the British Raj: Imperial Governance in South Asia 1700-1947,’ takes upon itself to decipher the gradual evolution of institutionalism during the British Raj. The author also tries to divulge the pattern of impersonalized governance, constitutionalism, civilian supremacy, meritocracy, and bureaucratic administration in the Indian subcontinent.
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The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

Written by Wardah Shahid 3:48 pm

In “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism”, Naomi Klein exposes the idea that neoliberal economic policies and unpopular free-market decisions (such as deregulation, privatization, and cuts in social spending) are implemented only at the time of crises or a ‘shock’. These shocks appear in the form of coups, terrorist attacks, economic meltdowns, wars, or natural disasters (i.e. tsunamis, hurricanes, and floods). A shock deliberately creates large, clean canvases for the economic technocrats to make policies and legislations which will inevitably transfer wealth and power (i.e. disaster privatization generating new markets) from the people (majority) to large corporations, global corporate elite, and corrupt governments (minority).
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Readistan by Shahrukh Nadeem

Written by Lt. Col. Amjad Hussain Amjad 5:14 pm

Shahrukh Nadeem’s Readistan covers 50 of the best books such as the Art of War, the Prince, and the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, among others. This review will briefly discuss the 10 books that the reviewer appreciated the most in Readistan.
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Russia: Myths and Realities

Written by Hafsa Ammar 3:25 pm

“Russia: Myths and Realities” was written and published by Rodric Braithwaite in 2022. Braithwaite has formerly served as Britain’s ambassador to Russia, giving his book the authenticity it needed. The author has attempted to shine a light on the cold hard facts of Russian history while unraveling the myths—whether those created by the Russians themselves for glorification or by the West as an attempt to villainize them.
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Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy

Written by Ali Hamza 12:58 pm

“Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy” is an ambitious and comprehensive history of the United States’ ascension to global pre-eminence in the twentieth century. Through a deep dive into both the geopolitical and ideological components of American foreign policy, Stephen Wertheim provides a riveting narrative of how the United States emerged as the most influential superpower in the world.
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Superabundance by Marian Tupy & Gale Pooley

Written by Sameer Sohail 1:12 pm

It is largely maintained that population growth makes for scarcer resources. Marian Tupy and Gale Pooley’s book, Superabundance: The Story of Population Growth, Innovation, and Human Flourishing on an Infinitely Bountiful Planet, convinces you otherwise. Superabundance is an absolutely detailed book with data spanning two centuries. Its fundamental premise? Resources become much more abundant as the population grows.
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An Introduction to Strategy

Written by Muhammad Shahzad Akram 8:01 pm

“An Introduction to Strategy” was originally published in French in 1965 by General André Beaufre. In his condensed book (138 pages), he defines military strategy before proceeding to discuss its patterns and evolution.
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The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy

Written by Qurat-ul-Ain Shabbir 2:43 pm

“The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy” by Lawrence Freedman, a renowned academic and historian, was first published in 1981. The fourth edition of the book presents different political and regional developments that paved the way for policymakers to come up with different nuclear strategies at different times.
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Pakistan’s Foreign Policy, 1947-2016: A Concise History

Written by Muhammad Shahzad Akram 8:05 pm

In “Pakistan’s Foreign Policy, 1947-2016: A Concise History,” a former diplomat and foreign minister of Pakistan, Abdul Sattar, charts the foreign policy of Pakistan from its inception. It is another book strongly recommended to CSS candidates because of the social and political aspects being used to understand Pakistan’s foreign policies.
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Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics

Written by Muhammad Danish Raza 8:24 pm

Known as one of the founding fathers of behavioral economics, Richard H. Thaler’s book, “Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics,” is a compendious study of the intersection of psychology and economics. It clearly demonstrates how human errors and thought processes drive market behavior.
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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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