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The Frontline: Essays on Ukraine’s Past and Present
By Serhii Plokhy

Harvard Research Institute, Harvard University, January 2022
462 pages

Serhii Plokhy expands upon his analysis in earlier works of key events in Ukrainian history, including Ukraine’s complex relations with Russia and the West, the burden of tragedies such as the Holodomor and World War II, the impact of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and Ukraine’s contribution to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Juxtaposing Ukraine’s history to the contemporary politics of memory, this volume provides a multidimensional image of a country that continues to make headlines around the world. Eloquent in style and comprehensive in approach, the essays collected here reveal the roots of the ongoing political, cultural, and military conflict in Ukraine, the largest country in Europe.


Serhii Plokhy is Mykhailo S. Hrushevs´kyi Professor of Ukrainian History in the Department of History and Director of the Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University. The author of numerous books, including The Last Empire, which received the Lionel Gelber Prize for the best book on international relations, and Chernobyl, which was awarded the Baillie Gifford Prize for non-fiction.

Ukraine’s Nuclear Disarmament: A History
By Yuri Kostenko, Translated by Svitlana Krasynska

Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University, January 2021
350 pages

In December 1994 Ukraine gave up the third-largest nuclear arsenal in the world and signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty, having received assurances that its sovereignty would be respected and secured by Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Based on original and heretofore unavailable documents, Yuri Kostenko’s account of the negotiations between Ukraine, Russia, and the US reveals for the first time the internal debates of the Ukrainian government, as well as the pressure exerted upon it by its international partners. Kostenko presents an insider’s view on the issue of nuclear disarmament and raises the question of whether the complete and immediate dismantlement of the country’s enormous nuclear arsenal was strategically the right decision, especially in view of the 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia, one of the guarantors of Ukraine’s sovereignty under denuclearization.


“Yuri Kostenko has written a superb book explaining why Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons in the mid-1990s, leaving itself without a deterrent against Russia. He shows in fascinating detail that pressure from Moscow and Washington left Ukraine with little choice but to surrender its nuclear arsenal. Kostenko directly ties that fateful decision to the war that broke out between Russia and Ukraine in 2014, in which Ukraine was largely defenseless and the United States, which had promised to defend Ukraine’s sovereignty, sat on the sidelines. The implicit message of Ukraine’s Nuclear Disarmament is clear: there is no substitute for a nuclear deterrent when you live in a dangerous neighborhood.”―John J. Mearsheimer, R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago, and author of Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities

“Yuri Kostenko’s rich, cogent, and well-sourced insider account of Ukraine giving up the world’s third largest nuclear arsenal in the 1990s shows how power asymmetries and state-building affect international political outcomes in nontrivial and counterintuitive ways―with the security dilemma engendering hasty unilateral disarmament; costly commitments demanded from weaker rather than stronger states; and democratic peace falling short of its promises even with the endorsement of the world’s most powerful democracies. A must-read for students of international politics, the book explains how authoritarian adversaries can leverage America’s security concerns of the day to subvert fledgling democracies and why support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and integration with the West is in America’s vital long-term national interest.”―Mikhail Alexseev, Professor in the Department of Political Science, San Diego State University, and author of Without Warning: Threat Assessment, Intelligence, and Global Struggle


Yuri Kostenko is a politician and leader of the Ukrainian People’s Party. From 1990 to 2014 he was a member of the parliament of Ukraine and from 1992 to 1998 held cabinet ministerships with portfolios governing environmental protection and nuclear safety. Kostenko was a top-level representative of Ukraine in the negotiations with the Western powers and Russia on the denuclearization of Ukraine in the 1990s.

Not One Inch: America, Russia, and the Making of Post-Cold War Stalemate (Part of The Henry L. Stimson Lectures Series)
By M.E. Sarotte

Yale University Press, November 2021
550 pages

A Foreign Affairs Best Book of 2021.

Based on more than a hundred interviews and on secret records of White House-Kremlin contacts, Not One Inch shows how the United States successfully overcame Russian resistance in the 1990s to expand NATO to more than 900 million people. But it also reveals how Washington’s hardball tactics transformed the era between the Cold War and the present day, undermining what could have become a lasting partnership.

Vladimir Putin swears that Washington betrayed a promise that NATO would move “not one inch” eastward and justifies renewed confrontation as a necessary response to the alliance’s illegitimate “deployment of military infrastructure to our borders.”  But the United States insists that neither President George H. W. Bush nor any other leader made such a promise.

Pulling back the curtain on U.S.-Russian relations in the critical years between the fall of the Berlin Wall and Putin’s rise to power, prize-winning Cold War historian M. E. Sarotte reveals the bitter clashes over NATO behind the façade of friendship and comes to a sobering conclusion: the damage did not have to happen. In this deeply researched and compellingly written book, Sarotte shows what went wrong.


“Mary Sarotte’s insightful story of NATO’s enlargement in the 1990s will be the foundation for debates about lessons among policy-makers as well as a fascinating read for people interested in recent history.”—Robert B. Zoellick, U.S. negotiator for German unification and author of America in the World: A History of U.S. Diplomacy and Foreign Policy

“Prize-winning historian Mary Elise Sarotte . . . charts all the private discussions within the western alliance and with Russia over enlargement and reveals Russia as powerless to slow the ratchet effect of the opening of Nato’s door.”—Patrick Wintour, The Guardian

“A riveting account of Nato enlargement and its contribution to the present confrontation. Sarotte tells the story with great narrative and analytical flair, admirable objectivity, and an attention to detail that many of us who thought we knew the history have forgotten or never knew.”—Rodric Braithwaite, Financial Times


M. E. Sarotte is the Kravis Professor of Historical Studies at Johns Hopkins University, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the author, among other books, of The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall.

The Chancellor: The Remarkable Odyssey of Angela Merkel
By Kati Marton

William Collins, October 2021
329 pages

Angela Merkel has always been an outsider. A pastor’s daughter raised in Soviet-controlled East Germany, she spent her twenties working as a research chemist, entering politics only after the fall of the Berlin Wall. And yet within fifteen years, she had become chancellor of Germany and, before long, the unofficial leader of the West.
In this “masterpiece of discernment and insight” (The New York TimeBook Review), acclaimed biographer Kati Marton sets out to pierce the mystery of Merkel’s unlikely ascent. With unparalleled access to the chancellor’s inner circle and a trove of records only recently come to light, she teases out the unique political genius that had been the secret to Merkel’s success. No modern leader so ably confronted Russian aggression, enacted daring social policies, and calmly unified an entire continent in an era when countries are becoming more divided. Again and again, she cleverly outmaneuvered strongmen like Putin and Trump, and weathered surprisingly complicated relationships with allies like Obama and Macron.

Famously private, the woman who emerges from this “impressively researched” (The Wall Street Journal) account is a role model for anyone interested in gaining and keeping power while staying true to one’s moral convictions. At once a “riveting” (Los Angeles Review of Books) political biography, an intimate human portrait, and a revelatory look at successful leadership in action, The Chancellor brings forth one of the most extraordinary women of our time.


“To understand how we can protect democracy in an era of populist and authoritarian upheaval, we need to understand Angela Merkel. Kati Marton has produced an intimate, insightful portrait of an extraordinarily private leader, who, in her quiet and determined way, made Germany the economic and moral leader of Europe.”—Walter Isaacson, New York Times bestselling author of The Code Breaker

With a rare grasp of the subtleties of global politics, Marton explains how an unassuming science PhD from East Germany emerged to save the Western Alliance. It’s a thrilling tale, skillfully told.”—Jonathan Alter, New York Times bestselling author of His Very Best

“A compelling and memorable portrait. Angela Merkel’s life is a testament to the power of commitment, diligence, and the possibilities of politics. The Chancellor tells that story with insight and grace.”—Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of His Truth is Marching On
“A fascinating picture of a powerful woman whose repeated denigration of power only concealed how wedded she was to power as a means of getting her own way.”— London Times Literary Review


Kati Marton is the New York Times bestselling author of nine books, including True Believer: Stalin’s Last American Spy and Enemies of the People: My Family’s Journey to America, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. An award-winning former NPR correspondent and ABC News bureau chief in Germany, she was born in Hungary and lives in New York City.

The World According to China
By Elizabeth C. Economy

Polity, January 2022
304 pages

In this compelling book, Elizabeth Economy reveals China’s ambitious new strategy to reclaim the country’s past glory and reshape the geostrategic landscape in dramatic new ways. Xi’s vision is one of Chinese centrality on the global stage, in which the mainland has realized its sovereignty claims over Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the South China Sea, deepened its global political, economic, and security reach through its grand-scale Belt and Road Initiative, and used its leadership in the United Nations and other institutions to align international norms and values, particularly around human rights, with those of China. It is a world radically different from that of today. The international community needs to understand and respond to the great risks, as well as the potential opportunities, of a world rebuilt by China.

“. . . . Elizabeth Economy illuminates the Chinese Communist Party’s grand ambition and forces us to confront the reality that if it succeeds, our world will be less free, less prosperous, and less safe.” —H.R. McMaster, author of Dereliction of Duty and Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World

“In this brilliant, urgent analysis, Elizabeth Economy proves once again why she is one of the most important scholars of China in a generation. With a penetrating vision for the motives obscured by the official boilerplate, she makes a convincing case for the degree to which China seeks to transform the international system.” —Evan Osnos, author of Age of Ambition, winner of the National Book Award

“Employing her trademark thoroughness, clarity, and insight, Elizabeth Economy probes deeply into China’s ambitions and actions to reorder the world order. Business leaders must read this book as inducing and coercing multinationals to go along is an indispensable part of China achieving success.” —James McGregor, Chairman of Greater China for APCO Worldwide

“Elizabeth Economy is one of the world’s most astute interpreters of contemporary China. Here she examines domestic and international politics under Xi Jinping to explain why a more assertive and powerful China will raise questions that the west must urgently answer. Essential reading for all those who need to understand today’s China.” -Rana Mitter, University of Oxford


Elizabeth C. Economy, on leave from her position as senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, is Senior Advisor (for China) to the Secretary of Commerce. Previously she was C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.  She is an award-winning author and internationally renowned expert on Chinese domestic and foreign policy and US–China relations. Her books The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese StateBy All Means Necessary: How China’s Resource Quest is Changing the World (with Michael Levi), and The River Runs Black: The Environmental Challenge to China’s Future (2nd edn) are widely acclaimed and her writings have appeared in Foreign AffairsForeign Policy, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. A frequent guest on nationally broadcast radio and television, she has testified before Congress on US–China-related matters.  Politico Magazine has named her one of “The 10 Names That Matter on China Policy.”

Making a Killing: States, Banks, and Terrorism
By Ian Michael Oxnevad

McGill-Queen’s University Press, October 2021
224 pages

The international financial system is not only economic, but political. Making a Killing explores the often-overlooked world of terrorist financing and the involvement of the international banking system. In order to address the threat of terrorist organizations in a post-9/11 world – and how they are funded and financed in particular – the international community has constructed a vast architecture of counterterrorist finance laws, policies, and institutions. Connecting the fields of security studies, political economy, and finance, Ian Oxnevad argues that a bank’s institutional link to a state (as a state-owned bank or a bank with strong state connections) will protect it from any enforcement action for violations of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regulations. In the face of states blocking such enforcement actions, these regulations prove ineffective in preventing the financing of terrorism, as the state’s self-interest supersedes its interest in preventing terrorist financing. Making a Killing seeks to assess how effective new laws and regulations have been, as well as to identify best practices for future attempts to counter the financing of terrorism.


“Making a Killing is an essential read for scholars, policymakers, and private-sector professionals looking to understand the shadowy business of terrorist financing and its relation to the international banking system. This book offers a clear and concise overview of the evolution of counterterrorist finance laws, policies, and institutions since 9/11, and comprehensively evaluates their successes and failures in preventing terrorists and terrorist groups from moving money through the licit financial system.” —Colin P. Clarke, the Soufan Group


Ian Michael Oxnevad is a political economist and international relations scholar teaching at the University of California, Irvine.

The Economic Weapon: The Rise of Sanctions as a Tool of Modern War
By Nicholas Mulder

Yale University Press, January 2022
448 pages

Economic sanctions dominate the landscape of world politics today. First developed in the early twentieth century as a way of exploiting the flows of globalization to defend liberal internationalism, their appeal is that they function as an alternative to war. This view, however, ignores the dark paradox at their core: designed to prevent war, economic sanctions are modeled on devastating techniques of warfare.

Tracing the use of economic sanctions from the blockades of World War I to the policing of colonial empires and the interwar confrontation with fascism, Nicholas Mulder uses extensive archival research in a political, economic, legal, and military history that reveals how a coercive wartime tool was adopted as an instrument of peacekeeping by the League of Nations. This timely study casts an overdue light on why sanctions are widely considered a form of war, and why their unintended consequences are so tremendous.


“Mulder argues in his impeccably well researched and, because of its timeliness, gripping book that “sanctions did not stop political and economic disintegration but accelerated it” in the interwar period…Mulder’s book provides an uncomfortable warning that while sanctions have sometimes worked, they have also been contentious, ineffective and counterproductive.”—Emma Duncan, The Times

“Original and persuasive analysis. . . . For those who see economic sanctions as a relatively mild way of expressing displeasure at a country’s behavior, this book, charting how they first emerged as a potential coercive instrument during the first decades of the twentieth century, will come as something of a revelation.”—Lawrence D. Freedman, Foreign Affairs

“As Nicholas Mulder shows in The Economic Weapon, a much longer history lies behind the invention of modern sanctions.”—Tom Stevenson, London Review of Books


Nicholas Mulder is an assistant professor of modern European history at Cornell University and regular contributor to Foreign Policy and The Nation.

Violent Fraternity: Indian Political Thought in the Global Age
By Shruti Kapila

Princeton University Press, November 2021
328 pages

Violent Fraternity is a major history of the political thought that laid the foundations of modern India. . . .The book shows how the foundational questions of politics were addressed in the shadow of imperialism to create both a sovereign India and the world’s first avowedly Muslim nation, Pakistan. Fraternity was lost only to be found again in violence as the Indian age signaled the emergence of intimate enmity. . . .Violent Fraternity demonstrates why India, with its breathtaking scale and diversity, redefined the nature of political violence for the modern global era.


“In this deeply original book, Shruti Kapila argues that the fraternal antagonism between Hindus and Muslims that culminated in partition was foundational to Indian political life. Through a careful and astute reading of the history and thought of anticolonial nationalism, Kapila argues that the Indian constitution was a direct response to this enduring crisis of violence. Violent Fraternity will change the conversation about democracy and political thought in India and well beyond.”―Thomas Blom Hansen, Stanford University

“Kapila offers an original, brilliant, and captivating analysis of leaders who shaped―ironically―both the Indian struggle for sovereignty and the fratricidal wars that accompanied it as colonial rule unraveled. She uses that history to outline an alternative global-conceptual history of the political for our times. A remarkable book.”―Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago

“Shruti Kapila brilliantly challenges the comfortable consensus that politics should be studied according to Western canons, concepts, and concerns. At a stroke, Violent Fraternity decisively reframes the intellectual history of South Asia and will transform understandings of global political thought in the ‘Indian Age.’”―David Armitage, author of Civil Wars: A History in Ideas


Shruti Kapila is Associate Professor in the Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Corpus Christi College. She is the editor of An Intellectual History for India and the coeditor of Political Thought in Action: The Bhagavad Gita and Modern India.



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