Summer book list graphic - books under a beach umbrella

Elliott School 2018 Summer Reading List

Want to brush up on international politics, history and the like this summer? Ditch the classroom and grab a couple of these books suggested by Elliott School faculty. We promise there won’t be any pop quizzes!

Between the World and Me coverMona Atia recommendsRevolution without Revolutionaries cover

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

“Excellent book about growing up Black in America and relevant to current racial discussions.”


Revolution Without Revolutionaries: Making Sense of the Arab Spring by Asef Bayât

Excellent book for understanding the complexity of the recent events in the Middle East with rigor and nuance.”

A Good African Story coverJennifer Brinkerhoff recommends

A Good African Story: How a Small Company Built a Global Coffee Brand by Andrew Rugsdira

“We read this on our way to Uganda last month. We were scheduled to meet the author and visit his business. It’s actually a sad story: due to local politics (he ran against a member of the ruling party for leadership of the chamber of commerce), he was slapped with an impossible tax bill and had to sell his business to a competitor.

Still the book is a great read about the challenges of economic development and meeting local people’s needs through cultivating value added production in Africa. It’s a FAR more thoughtful critique of the development industry than Moyo’s book Dead Aid.”


Why Nations Fail cover

Maggie Chen recommends

Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson

“A great read for people interested in the role of institutions in growth and development!”


Radical Inclusion coverChris Kojm recommendsThe Reluctant Fundamentalist cover

Radical Inclusion: What the Post 9/11 World Should Have Taught Us About Leadership by Martin Dempsey and Ori Brafman

The former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs writes: “Fear of losing control in our fast-paced, complex, highly scrutinized environment is pushing us toward exclusion–exactly the wrong direction. Leaders should instead develop an instinct for inclusion.’


The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamad

A meditation on fear, exclusion and the immigrant experience.  After 9/11,  a Princeton graduate from Lahore who works on Wall Street is swept into a world of distrust, identity politics, and fundamentalism. 

Homo Deus cover


Harris Mylonas recommends

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari


Where they stand coverHenry Nau recommendsThe right stuff cover

Where They Stand: The American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians by Robert Merry

“It is an assessment of presidents and the history they have created from an awareness of how partisanship inevitably influences our views.” 


The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

“To celebrate the recent passing of Tom Wolfe.”


Preventative Engagement coverJoanna Spear recommendsCase Histories cover

Preventative Engagement: How America Can Avoid War, Stay Strong and Keep the Peace by Paul Stares

“This is a clear-eyed look at the challenges that America faces and advocates an active strategy to deal with them before they become power-sapping crises.”


Case Histories by Kate Atkinson

“The first of a series featuring British anti-hero private investigator Jackson Brodie. In this book old and new cases of the missing (a child, several cats) come together in a complex, satisfying puzzle.”

When Things Dont Fall Apart coverRobert Weiner recommends

When Things Don’t Fall Apart: Global Financial Governance and Developmental Finance in an Age of Productive Incoherence by Ilene Grabel

“Economics and financial issues are at the core of many current challenges in international affairs, yet receive less attention in both scholarly and popular writing.  This book helps demystify aspects of global financial crises, including the East Asian crisis of the late 1990s, the Great Recession of the 2000s, and the role of the International Monetary Fund.” 


The Hacked World Order cover

Paul Williams recommends

The Hacked World Order by Adam Segal

“Segal provides an excellent overview and analysis of developments in cyberspace and their implications for international politics and US national security policies.” 




Myanmar's Enemy Within coverChristina Fink recommends

Myanmar’s Enemy Within: Buddhist Violence and the Making of a Muslim ‘Other’ by Francis Wade

A nuanced explanation of how the narrative of Muslims as “other” took hold in Myanmar, with vivid descriptions of the impact on people’s lives and relationships.

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