Book Reviews

  • William J. Baumol, Robert E. Litan and Carl J. Schramm
    New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007

    Capitalism is not a simple monolithic system and comes in more than one form: entrepreneurial, big firms, state-directed and oligarchic. Some forms are better than others at delivering innovation, opportunity, economic growth and wealth, argue authors William J. Baumol, Robert E. Litan and Carl J. Schramm in their book “Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism, and the Economics of Growth and Prosperity.” In a review, Susan Froetschel points out how nations must take care to avoid the forms that encourage greed, inequality and complacency rather than the passion for innovation and solving problems that confront the globe.

  • Chris Alden
    London: Zed Books, with the International African Institute, Royal African Society, Social Science Research Council, 2007

    China as an emerging power has focused foreign-policy attention on Africa - in search of natural resources and markets for its manufactured goods. Yet the continent is complex and China is not limited to one role, explains Morgan Robinson in her review of “China in Africa,” written by Chris Alden, a senior lecturer in the Department of International Relations at the London School of Economics. Robinson concludes that the relationships between governments and people have evolved in multiple ways, and points out how grassroots interactions, rather than symbolic gestures, will determine China’s destiny in Africa.

  • Michael Mandelbaum
    New York: Public Affairs, 2007

    Democracy spread rapidly throughout the world during the 20th century. But that does not mean the system is free of risks. Michael Mandelbaum, a leading US foreign policy thinker, explores the history of democracy and the necessary conditions for its establishment in his book, “Democracy’s Good Name: The Rise and Risks of the World’s Most Popular Form of Government.” In the book, Mandelbaum focuses on leadership and institutions. In her review, Susan Froetschel keys in on another remarkable aspect of democracy - the fact that large groups of people live with decisions that do not go their way.

  • Stephen Kinzer
    New York: Times Books, 2006

    Regime change has been an integral part of US foreign policy for more than 100 years. Stephen Kinzer tells the story of 14 interventions and coups, from deposing the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893 to the Iraq invasion in 2003. Susan Froetschel examines the author’s narrative style, emphasizing how the expensive and disruptive operations may achieve US economic or political goals for the short term, but can pose devastating consequences generations later.

  • Michael Mandelbaum
    New York: Public Affairs, 2005

    Michael Mandelbaum analyzes the US role as the world’s sole superpower, providing global security as a government service. The US may not continue that role for long though. The biggest threat comes not from rival countries but rather the US public, no longer willing to pay the costs. In this review, Susan Froetschel highlights the author’s approach to understanding the US role in the world order.

  • Stan Liebowitz
    New York: Amacom, 2003

    Rethinking the Network Economy examines exactly where, how, and why so many e-commerce firms went wrong, and how, utilizing traditional economic concepts, businesses can build the foundation for success in the future.

  • Medard Gabel & Henry Bruner
    New York: The New Press, 2003

    One of the major agents of globalization - the multinational corporation - has been alternately portrayed as global villain and global economic booster. In “Global Inc.”, a new “atlas of the multinational corporation” by Medard Gabel and Henry Bruner, companies with an extensive global reach are subjected to a more objective critical eye. In this review article, Nayan Chanda highlights the authors’ somewhat surprising data and assesses the book’s significance for globalization studies.

  • Joseph E. Stiglitz
    New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003

    “This book recounts Stiglitz’s experiences, opening a window on previously unseen aspects of global economic policy. It is designed to provoke a healthy debate and… shows us in poignant terms why developing nations feel the economic deck is stacked against them.”

    Click here for a critique from the IMF

  • Amy Chua
    New York: Doubleday, 2003

    In her recent book, World on Fire, Yale University professor Amy Chua argues that it is the resentment of long-standing minority domination that has so much of the world’s citizens ready to take up arms. Pat Sewell examines the author’s contentions and assesses her sweeping proposals for solving the most challenging problem facing global society since the Second World War.

  • Niall Ferguson
    New York: Basic Books, 2003

    In the lead up to the invasion of Iraq - and especially with the difficulties the US has encountered since - there is a renewed interest in the historical experience of past imperial efforts. Not surprisingly, the publication of British historian Niall Ferguson’s provocative history of the British Empire has aroused special interest. In this review of the book, noted historian and World Systems theorist Immanuel Wallerstein focuses on Ferguson’s defense of the British Empire.