Home What We're Reading

What We're Reading

What We’re Reading: The Cold War and Postwar

Weekly reviews of what’s on our bookshelves.

What We’re Reading: The Works of Herman Wouk

Weekly reviews of what’s on our bookshelves.

What We’re Reading: May 1, 2018

China’s Expanding African Relations, River God

What We’re Reading: Nov. 2, 2016

Below you will find a list of books that members of the Geopolitical Futures team are currently reading. It highlights insightful and relevant books from around the globe and the reasons we chose them. The Fleet at Flood Tide: America at Total War in the Pacific, 1944-1945 By James D. Hornfischer George Friedman: World War II turned the United States into the dominant naval power. To do this it had to overcome two navies. One was the Royal Navy, which the United States simply supplanted as the pre-eminent power in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. The other was the Imperial Japanese Navy, which had to be crushed. This book is about the latter, telling the story of the United States and its systematic destruction of the Imperial Navy. This is important for two reasons. First, it gave the U.S. Navy control of the Pacific, which may now be challenged by the Chinese. Second, it described how the Americans fight successful wars. The goal in the Pacific was to seize key islands that could sustain large air fleets and were properly angled into the prevailing wind. To do that, the Americans had to land and destroy the Japanese navy, still a formidable […]

What We’re Reading: Canada Obscura and Korean Tech

The Secret Life of Canada Produced by CBC Over the past couple of months, I’ve been searching for new podcasts to listen to, after running out of Netflix series to watch and books to read that I didn’t already have on my bookshelf at home. “The Secret Life of Canada,” produced by CBC, Canada’s public broadcaster, isn’t exactly new – it has been around since 2018 and was actually presented by Passport 2017 and produced independently before being picked up by CBC. But it has a novel concept, as well as an entertaining format thanks largely to the two cohosts, Leah-Simone Bowen and Falen Johnson. The show purports to cover aspects of Canadian history that “probably didn’t make it into your high school textbook.” Each episode explores often overlooked people, places and topics related to Canada’s more than 150 years as a country. The first episode covers the secret life of Banff, Canada’s oldest national park, established in 1885 and located in the province of Alberta. The podcast details how the Canadian government managed to clear the land of the indigenous people who had been living there before the government realized the land’s value as a tourist destination. Like other […]

What We’re Reading: May 29, 2018

Imperial powers and imperial presidents

What We’re Reading: Feb. 6, 2018

Below you will find a list of books that members of the Geopolitical Futures team are currently reading. It highlights insightful and relevant books from around the globe and the reasons we chose them. On China By Henry Kissinger Will the United States and China fight World War III? That is the question that Henry Kissinger, former U.S. secretary of state and national security adviser, poses in his 2011 book on the Middle Kingdom. Kissinger’s book is nothing if not eclectic. It is equal parts history, memoir and policy memo, with some philosophy sprinkled in for good measure. The writing is lively and clear, if overtly deliberate: The entire book is essentially a crescendo for the epilogue, in which he concludes that no, the United States and China are not destined to go to war. The first chapters of the book rehash some key moments in Chinese history. Kissinger is not interested in the broad scope of Chinese history; readers interested in historical depth would do better to seek out Jonathan Spence’s work. Rather, these introductory chapters seek to lay out some key tropes to which Kissinger will frequently return. He begins by establishing a basis for understanding Chinese exceptionalism […]

What We’re Reading: Feb. 20, 2018

Below you will find a list of books that members of the Geopolitical Futures team are currently reading. It highlights insightful and relevant books from around the globe and the reasons we chose them. Nueva Historia General de Mexico: 1821 (Independence) – 1911 (Porfiriato) By El Colegio de Mexico This book provides some of the most complete coverage of Mexico’s history from pre-Mayan civilizations to the beginning of the 21st century. Each chapter can be read as a stand-alone essay or the reader can progress chronologically through the long narrative that is Mexico’s history. In addition to the quality of the editing, it is apparent how well El Colegio de Mexico, a higher education institute, leveraged its staff to have leading experts write about each time period, defined by events and processes rather than purely temporal standards. Each time period is divided into three sections: political, economic and cultural. This allows for a well-rounded understanding of the period, and if the reader wants to learn more, there are suggested reading lists at the end of each section. The voices are consistent throughout the book and the focus stays on broader trends and geopolitical ties unfolding during each time period, rather […]

What We’re Reading: Jan. 24, 2017

Below you will find a list of books that members of the Geopolitical Futures team are currently reading. It highlights insightful and relevant books from around the globe and the reasons we chose them. The Crisis of the Old Order: 1919-1933, The Age of Roosevelt, Volume I By Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. Jacob L. Shapiro: This is my first foray into Schlesinger Jr., one of the most prolific and well-respected American political historians. He won two Pulitzers for books on presidents Andrew Jackson and John F. Kennedy. I chose to start with “The Crisis of the Old Order” because American liberalism is at a crisis point, and geopolitically – as GPF founder George Friedman has pointed out – the world looks somewhat like it did before World War II. Schlesinger Jr. is one of those writers, like Robert Caro, who portrays history both to describe the facts and to tell a story. The narrative is as important as the particulars, and the two weave back and forth to create something greater than the sum of the parts. Schlesinger Jr., a fluid and compelling writer, loves to find a good quote that adds color to the narrative, but at times it leaves […]

What We’re Reading: Statesmen Tested by War

Weekly reviews of what’s on our bookshelves.

What We’re Reading: Nov. 8, 2016

Below you will find a list of books that members of the Geopolitical Futures team are currently reading. It highlights insightful and relevant books from around the globe and the reasons we chose them. The Battle of Brisbane: Australians and Yanks at War By Peter A. Thompson and Robert Macklin George Friedman: Whenever I travel, I like to read a novel or history of the region, and my interest usually drifts to World War II. I downloaded this one because I was near Brisbane and was baffled about what battle was fought there. It turns out that it was a battle between Australian and U.S. troops at the beginning of World War II. The bulk of the Australian army was in North Africa when Pearl Harbor was attacked. A small and poorly trained force remained behind. The U.S. wasn’t ready for a war either, but it rushed minimally trained forces to defend Australia. Most troops were deployed everywhere except where the fight was taking place in New Guinea. One of the centers of U.S. deployment was Brisbane, where the Australians planned to make their stand if the Japanese invaded. The battleground turned out to be Brisbane, but it was not with […]