Reviews
Via Flickr user Thierry Ehrmann (CC BY 2.0)
China Beyond Coronavirus
How Not to Democratize China

A new book by Ci Jiwei argues that the Communist Party must lead China’s transition to democracy from the top down. But such a process would be a contradiction in terms—and would result in no democracy at all.

(STR/AFP/Getty Images)
China Beyond Coronavirus
How to Think About China

Analyses of China’s rise and future were important before the global pandemic—now, even more so. Three current volumes offer a mixed bag of insights and missed opportunities.

“General George Washington Resigns his Commission” by John Trumbull. Courtesy US Capitol
George Washington
A Man for All Seasons

George Washington was neither a saint nor a scoundrel. He was, above all, an institutionalist—and it is this Washington we need today.

A Life Examined
The Political Education of a (White) Civil Rights Activist

In a new biography, David Lowe shows how Morris Abram, a leading light of the early civil rights movement, fell out of favor—and what his complex legacy might teach us today.

End Times
The Limits of Decadence

In The Decadent Society, Ross Douthat argues that today’s West is characterized more by enervation than outright depravity. But in order to emphasize the sustainability of decadence, Douthat has to keep insisting things really aren’t that bad . . . yet.

Wikimedia Commons
Church and State in Russia
An Unorthodox Partnership

Saint Seraphim, patron saint of Russian nukes? Dmitry Adamsky’s Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy tells the story of how the Kremlin and Russian Orthodox Church came to embrace one another, and how the relationship continues to shape Russia’s identity and worldview.

Grand Strategy
In Search of Sparta

The third and latest volume of Paul Rahe’s history of classical Sparta attempts to shed new light on a period and a city-state of which we still know little.

(Wikimedia Commons)
Burdens of History
The Long Ethiopian Century

From empire to fascist occupation to communism, Ethiopia experienced all the turbulent upheavals of the 20th century. As its leader embarks on a risky reform effort, two recent literary works bring this vital history out of the shadows.

(Wikimedia Commons)
Passive Defiance
Could Iran Democratize?

Yes, and sooner than you might think, argues Misagh Parsa in a thoughtful book on the state of dissent inside Iran.

(Wikimedia Commons)
Dangerous Border
How the Migration Industry Fuels the Extortion Industry

If the Mexican border tells us anything beyond partisan dispute, it is that welcoming more migrants will require more policing.

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