Book Reviews

  • Liza Tsaliki, Christos A. Frangonikolopoulos and Asteris Huliaras, Editors
    Intellect/University of Chicago, 2011
    ISBN: 978-1-84150-349-3

    Many facets of globalization have combined to spur intense celebrity activism at the global level. Transnational Celebrity Activism in Global Politics: Changing the World? scrutinizes the motivations, the public response, and influences over international relations and diplomacy.  The collection of essays, edited by Liza Tsaliki, Christos A. Frangonikolopoulos and Asteris Huliaras, suggests that celebrities and their dutiful fans could be unwitting pawns in global geopolitics, reinforcing power and inequality. In her review, Susan Froetschel points to the dangers of a piecemeal approach that delivers social benefits by lottery and argues that governments, better than a handful of individuals, can ensure policies that deliver justice and long-term relief. 

  • Katherine Fierlbeck
    University of Toronto Press, 2011
    ISBN: 978-1-4426-4003-0

    For developed nations with aging populations or developing nations investing in new programs, cross-country comparisons of health-care systems and their financing mechanisms are useful for containing health-care costs. Political scientist Katherine Fierlbeck offers a model for such comparisons with her book Health Care in Canada: A Citizen’s Guide to Policy and Politics. The costs and benefits of Canada’s largely public system versus those of the largely for-profit US system are compared. The two systems were similar during World War II, but diverged on separate financing paths afterward. Canada’s public system has flaws and limits, yet has achieved the superior results, and Fierlbeck offers cautions on cross-border influences from the US and its corporate model of health care.

  • Lester R. Brown
    W.W. Norton and Company, 2011
    ISBN: 978-0-393-33949-9

    Food-price stability depends on good harvests year after year, and extreme weather events increasingly test agriculture’s ability to meet demands of a growing population. In “World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse,” Earth Policy Institute President Lester R. Brown analyzes the interconnections of water, energy, food security, climate and failing states. Half the book addresses the challenges awaiting governments for the 21st century, and the other half provides a plan, with Brown optimistic that the world can reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent before 2020. The plan’s centerpiece: reducing income taxes and raising taxes on carbon. Reviewer Susan Froetschel recommends the book as an investment guide for the 21st century.

  • Nader Hashemi and Danny Postel, Editors
    Melville House Publishing, 2010
    ISBN: 978-1-935554-38-7

    “The People Reloaded” analyzes Iran’s Green Movement, its demand for reforms and the government’s insecure and brutal responses. Edited by Nader Hashemi and Danny Postel, the collection includes more than 50 essays, interviews and letters from the movement’s first year that highlight determination for specific reforms. In the book’s introduction, Postel concludes that “this book seeks to capture an important moment in Iran’s history.” The book meets that goal, confirms YaleGlobal reviewer Susan Froetschel, and could inspire others who seek democratic freedoms throughout the Greater Middle East. 

  • Benjamin K. Sovacool
    Praeger, 2009
    ISBN:978-0-313-35540-0

    Politicians, utility managers and corporations throughout the United States often insist that policies favoring renewable energies or conservation would disrupt job creation and economic growth. But with worldwide economic crisis and volatile price swings in energy costs, the public has become more skeptical. The impediments to new energy forms are social and political, based on greed, argues Benjamin Sovacool, research fellow for energy governance at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, in his book, “The Dirty Energy Dilemma.” In her review, Susan Froetschel lauds Sovacool’s analysis that points to a need for new public interest in energy science, delivery and politics - as essential as personal finance for the 21st century.

  • Edited by Richard Giulianotti and Roland Robertson
    Blackwell Publishing, 2009
    ISBN: 978-1-4051-6269-2

    The pace of globalization is intense for some sports like cricket and soccer, while other sports such as hockey or basketball are more parochial. Why some sports attract more attention than others is analyzed in a collection of essays, “Globalization and Sport,” edited by sociology professors Richard Giulianotti and Roland Robertson. The book reveals that the study of globalization of sport, like any other activity, is a rich and multidisciplinary affair, open to the analysis of historians, anthropologists, economists and many other specialists. In her review, Susan Froetschel expresses appreciation for how an understanding of sport’s mysterious ability to combine connection with competition could offer lessons in other areas of global governance.

  • Susan Moeller
    Blackwell Publishing, 2009
    ISBN:

    “Packaging Terrorism” investigates how American media have identified and covered international terrorism and violence since September 11, 2001.  It compares US coverage with that of British and Arab media and discusses the priorities, assumptions, political debates, deadline pressures and bottom-line considerations that will continue to influence coverage in the future. The author also suggests how terrorism could be better covered by the media in the future.

  • Stephen R. Brown
    St. Martin’s Press, 2009
    ISBN: 0312616112

    Stephen R. Brown’s explores the history of six European merchants, dispatched by their governments to expand global trade in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. In separate expeditions to Asia, the Americas and Africa – the merchants essentially established their own private fiefdoms taking control over natural resources that belonged to others, dominating local economies and cultures. Governments encouraged the monopolies, yet also distanced themselves from brutal consequences. Francesca Trivellato, reviewer and Yale professor of history, suggests the tales offer lessons for government-corporate entanglements of the modern era.

  • Olivier Roy
    New York: Columbia University Press, 2008
    ISBN:978-0-231-70032-0

    The vision of a Muslim world united under the banner of Islam and storming the West makes no sense, posits Olivier Roy, research director at the French National Center for Scientific Research, in his book “The Politics of Chaos in the Middle East.” And any policy that presumes such a plan is in play makes no sense either. By declaring a global war on terror, the West inadvertently raised the status of terrorists and failed to prioritize the Middle East’s many separate conflicts. Citizens of the West repeatedly fall prey to politicians who inflate enemies as a distraction for other problems or support groups that work against the long-term interests of democracy or stability - and in her review, Susan Froetschel notes that Roy must be more explicit in explaining the reasons behind the chaos of the Middle East for those readers.

  • Amar Bhidé
    Princeton University Press, 2008
    ISBN:978-0-691-13517-5

    An old saying goes, “It doesn’t matter whether we win or lose, but how we play the game,” and the same goes for policymakers and business executives who hope to spur innovation. Innovation that sustains prosperity is more likely in a connected rather than an isolated or restricted world, explains Columbia professor Amar Bhidé in “The Venturesome Economy.” Trying too hard, limiting options, competing by excluding others - all can backfire. Like it or not, businesses and users are in a great adventure in pursuit of easy and best practices, otherwise known as innovation. In her review, Susan Froetschel notes that globalization and innovation go hand in hand.

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