Favorite Books of 2014

Following the smashing success1 of last year’s post on my favorite books from 2013, I thought I’d aim for a repeat and perhaps inspire some gift ideas for the holidays. Here are 11 standouts that I remember from this year.

Politics and Culture in International History

The concept of order that has underpinned the modern era is in crisis. The search for world order has long been defined almost exclusively by the concepts of Western societies … But vast regions of the world have never shared and only acquiesced in the Western concept of order … [The United States must think] […]

The Enduring Relevance of Thucydides

For some reason that I will never understand, Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War is not required reading for graduate students of international relations.1 I don’t know how I was handed a college degree without having read it, for that matter.

David Bromwich and the Vanishing Art of Independent Thinking

The intelligence is defeated as soon as the expression of one’s thoughts is preceded, explicitly or implicitly, by the little word “we.”1 Recently, in The London Review of Books, David Bromwich penned an excoriating piece on Barack Obama and the political class that had me chuckling in my chair (see “The World’s Most Important Spectator”). The writing […]

Rome

  …in 1860 the lights and shadows were still mediaeval, and mediaeval Rome was alive; the shadows breathed and glowed, full of soft forms felt by lost senses.  No sand-blast of science had yet skinned off the epidermis of history, thought, and feeling.  The pictures were uncleaned, the churches unrestored, the ruins unexcavated.  Mediaeval Rome […]

Favorite Books of 2013

In light of the holiday season and year end, I thought I’d share the best books I read this year.  While most of these weren’t published in 2013—a number of them dutifully collected dust on bookshelves in no less than three apartments until they were summoned—the following eight books stand out as my favorites over […]