Discovering America

Reviewed by Jonathan Bradley

Slavery, Barack Obama said in his 18 March 2008 speech “A More Perfect Union,” known in the common parlance as the “race speech,” was America’s “original sin.” The future president was echoing thinkers who had come before him; Thomas Jefferson conceived of the institution as a wolf the United States… more»


Falling dominoes

Reviewed by Peter Coleman

Two great events dominated South-East Asia in the late 1940s, when the drama of this book begins. One was in 1945 when Sukarno proclaimed the independence of Indonesia and Ho Chi Minh the independence of Vietnam. The other was in 1948 when the Calcutta Conference of Asian communists called for… more»

The most bureaucratic of bureaucrats

Reviewed by John R. Bolton

Former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates’s memoir follows the classic form, telling the story of his years at the Pentagon during the Bush and Obama administrations. He focuses on what he did and experienced personally as secretary, neither writing a broad policy treatise nor recounting the entire history of… more»

A scary frontier

Reviewed by Derek Parker

When it comes to military planning, there is always the temptation to re-fight the last war instead of thinking about the next one. David Kilcullen, a former Australian soldier who has been in most of the world’s red zones and now works as a consultant to Western military agencies, has… more»

A rigorous academic account of the 2012 campaign

Reviewed by Jonathan Bradley

At the tail end of the 2012 election campaign, MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough let off some steam over stat-junkie wiseacres like the New York Times’s Nate Silver, who had aggregated a slew of electoral polls and declared President Barack Obama to have a 73.6 per cent shot at… more»

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