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Beijing’s Global Media Offensive: China’s Uneven Campaign to Influence Asia and the World By Joshua Kurlantzick

American Presidents in Diplomacy and War: Statecraft, Foreign Policy, and Leadership By Thomas R. Parker

The Other Side of Silence: A Memoir of Exile, Iran, and the Global Women’s Movement By Mahnaz Afkhami

France on Trial: The Case of Marshal Petain By Julian Jackson

Overreach: How China Derailed its Peaceful Rise By Susan L. Shirk

The Politics of Immigration Beyond Liberal States: Morocco and Tunisia in Comparative Perspective By Katarina Natter


Beijing’s Global Media Offensive: China’s Uneven Campaign to Influence Asia and the World

By Joshua Kurlantzick

Oxford University Press, December 2022

560 pages hardback/or e-book

. . . Beijing’s Global Media Offensive — a major analysis of how China is attempting to build a media and information superpower around the world, and how this media power integrates with other forms of Chinese influence— focuses on how all of this is playing out in both China’s immediate neighborhood–Southeast Asia, Taiwan, Australia, and New Zealand–and also in the United States and many other parts of the world. He traces the ways in which China is trying to build an information and influence superpower, but also critically examines the new conventional wisdom that Beijing has enjoyed great success with these efforts. While China has worked hard to build a global media and information superpower, it often has failed to reap gains from its efforts, and has undermined itself with overly assertive, alienating diplomacy. . . China’s media, information and political influence campaigns will continue to expand and adapt, helping Beijing exports its political model and protect the ruling Party, and potentially damaging press freedoms, human rights, and democracy abroad. . . .


“Kurlantzick leads the way for an important reconsideration of how political motivations, rather than economic concerns, are now the main driver behind China’s international engagement.” —Joshua Eisenman, Associate Professor of Politics in the Keough School of Global Affairs, University of Notre Dame

“Joshua Kurlantzick has produced a lucid and penetrating investigation into the history, theory, and practice of China’s global influence efforts. He shows that behind a veil of ‘non-interference’ in other nations’ internal affairs, Beijing engages in a growing range of open and covert efforts to make friends, influence people, and shape foreign nations in ways supportive of its increasing global ambitions. . .Essential reading for a dawning era of superpower competition.”— Sebastian Strangio, Southeast Asia editor at The Diplomat and author of In the Dragon’s Shadow: Southeast Asia in the Chinese Century

A highly illuminating narrative and a remarkable articulation of how China builds sharp power around the world and wields influence especially in developing countries. The book is a must-read for anyone trying to understand China’s global information campaign. “— Yun Sun, director of the China Program, Stimson Center


Joshua Kurlantzick is senior fellow for Southeast Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He was previously a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he studied Southeast Asian politics and economics and China’s relations with Southeast Asia, including Chinese investment, aid, and diplomacy. . . He is currently focused on China’s relations with Southeast Asia, and China’s approach to soft and sharp power, including state-backed media and information efforts and other components of soft and sharp power. . . .

American Presidents in Diplomacy and War: Statecraft, Foreign Policy, and Leadership

By Thomas R. Parker

University of Notre Dame Press, November 2023

212 pages

By analyzing how America’s greatest presidents displayed their mastery of statecraft, American Presidents in Diplomacy and War offers important lessons about the most effective uses of national power abroad.

American Presidents in Diplomacy and War chronicles the major foreign policy crises faced by twelve American presidents in order to uncover the reoccurring patterns of successful and less successful uses of diplomatic, economic, and military power. In this brief and highly readable book, Thomas R. Parker reveals how America’s most successful leaders manage events instead of allowing events to control them.


“An enlightening and insightful assessment of the foreign policy statecraft of several American presidents.” ―New York Journal of Books

“This book by a well-known American defense expert and former Pentagon official emphasizes the importance of understanding the possibilities and limits of American power and military force for conducting the nation’s foreign policy in a wise and balanced way. It is very well written and argued and deals with some of the most important and pressing issues in U.S. foreign policy from George Washington to the present.” ―Klaus Larres, author of Uncertain Allies

“Parker has an excellent feel for the policy-making process, which is combined with a deep understanding of history. Whether or not one fully agrees with the book’s clear and vigorously stated point of view, I believe many readers will find it provocative, engaging, and well worth their time.” ―David Paull Nickles, author of Under the Wire: How the Telegraph Changed Diplomacy


Thomas R. Parker is a professorial lecturer at George Washington University and author of The Road to Camp David. He worked for thirty years in diplomatic and military affairs for the White House, U.S. Defense Department, State Department, and the intelligence community.

The Other Side of Silence: A Memoir of Exile, Iran, and the Global Women’s Movement

By Mahnaz Afkhami

University of North Carolina Press, October 2022

320 pages

When Mahnaz Afkhami picked up the phone in a New York hotel room early one morning in November 1978, she learned she could never go home again: she had been declared an apostate and enemy of the Iranian Revolution and was now on its death list. Afkhami, Iran’s first minister for women’s affairs, began to rebuild her life in the United States, becoming an architect of the women’s movement in the Global South. Along the way, she encountered familial, cultural, political, and organizational hurdles that threatened to derail her quest to empower women and change the very structure of human relations.

. . . Mahnaz Afkhami shares her unexpected and meteoric rise from unassuming English professor to a champion of women’s rights in Iran; the clash between Western feminists and those from the Global South; and the challenges of international women’s rights work during the so-called war on terror. Her journey through exile shows what it takes to launch and sustain a worldwide grassroots movement: funding, an ever-expanding network, conferences, education, and decades of hard work requiring individuals and organizations to persevere despite ongoing wars, humanitarian disasters, and climate change. Told with humor, honesty, and compassion, Afkhami’s remarkable story illuminates the possibility of bringing opportunity and choice to women across the world.


Afkhami’s complexities and passion make even the driest policy discussions captivating. The result is a thought-provoking addition to the international women’s rights shelf.”—Publishers Weekly

For more than 50 years, Afkhami has been a voice against injustice, violence, and oppression. She became the first and only minister of women’s affairs in Iran and later helped develop the Foundation for Iranian Studies, which has played a significant role in scholarship about Iran. She has been a leading figure in the international women’s movement and offers a valuable perspective on women’s lives in the Global South and on the internal politics of various women’s organizations, such as the Women’s Learning Partnership, for which she serves as founder and president . . . . Recommended.”—CHOICE

The publication of Mahnaz Afkhami’s memoir has turned out to be quite timely . . . . Afkhami is an engaging writer [whose memoir] illuminates an incredible depth of experience and offers an edifying example of the many complexities, constraints, and possibilities of local, regional, and transnational feminist organizing . . . . In looking back while remaining engaged and committed, Afkhami’s book is a valuable contribution to and account of both Iranian and transnational feminisms.” —Catherine Z. Sameh, The Middle East Journal

Drawing on her diaries over the last fifty years, Mahnaz Afkhami, a prominent and pioneering leader in the history of global feminism, reflects deeply and passionately on the struggle for women’s rights in Iran, America, and across the globe. This brilliantly vivid narrative will keep you turning the pages.”—Leila Ahmed, Harvard University


Born in Kerman, Iran, Mahnaz Afkhami is the founder and president of Women’s Learning Partnership, executive director of the Foundation for Iranian Studies, and former minister for women’s affairs in Iran. She lives and works in Bethesda, Maryland.


France on Trial: The Case of Marshal Petain

By Julian Jackson

Belknap Press/Harvard University Press, August 2023

445 pages

In the terrible month of October 1940, few things were more shocking than the sight of Marshal Philippe Pétain―supremely decorated hero of the First World War, now head of the French government―shaking hands with Hitler. Pausing to look at the cameras, Pétain announced that France would henceforth collaborate with Germany. “This is my policy,” he intoned. “My ministers are responsible to me. It is I alone who will be judged by History.”

Five years later, in July 1945, after a wave of violent reprisals following the liberation of Paris, Pétain was put on trial for his conduct during the war. He stood accused of treason, charged with heading a conspiracy to destroy France’s democratic government and collaborating with Nazi Germany. The defense claimed he had sacrificed his personal honor to save France and insisted he had shielded the French people from the full scope of Nazi repression. Former resisters called for the death penalty, but many identified with this conservative military hero who had promised peace with dignity.

The award-winning author of a landmark biography of Charles de Gaulle, Julian Jackson uses Pétain’s three-week trial as a lens through which to examine one of history’s great moral dilemmas. Was the policy of collaboration “four years to erase from our history,” as the prosecution claimed? Or was it, as conservative politicians insist to this day, a sacrifice that placed pragmatism above moral purity? As head of the Vichy regime, Pétain became the lightning rod for collective guilt and retribution. But he has also been an icon of the nationalist right ever since. In France on Trial, Jackson blends courtroom drama, political intrigue, and brilliant narrative history to highlight the hard choices and moral compromises leaders make in times of war.


“Painstakingly researched. Jackson vividly reconstructs the drama.” — The Economist

“Riveting. . . A Vibrant analysis of a trial and verdict that remain contentious almost eight decades later.” — Ronald C. Rosbottom, Wall Street Journal

“A story not just about Petain but about war and resistance, the moral compromises of leadership, and the meaning of France itself’ — Margaret MacMillan, author of Paris 1919.

A Telegraph, Spectator, Prospect, and Times Best Book of the Year

“Enthralling.”―Geoffrey Wheatcroft, New York Review of Books


Julian T. Jackson is a British historian and a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Historical Society. He is a professor of History at Queen Mary, University of London, and is a leading authorities on twentieth-century France.



Overreach: How China Derailed its Peaceful Rise

By Susan L. Shirk

Oxford University Press, October 2022

410 pages

Winner, The Lionel Gelber Prize

Silver Medal, Arthur Ross Book Award

For three decades after Mao’s death in 1976, China’s leaders adopted a restrained approach to foreign policy. They determined that any threat to their power, and that of the Chinese Communist Party, came not from abroad but from within―a conclusion cemented by the 1989 Tiananmen crisis. To facilitate the country’s inexorable economic ascendence, and to prevent a backlash, they reassured the outside world of China’s peaceful intentions.

. . . In this illuminating, disturbing, and utterly persuasive new book, something changed. China went from fragile superpower to global heavyweight, threatening Taiwan as well as its neighbors in the South China Sea, tightening its grip on Hong Kong, and openly challenging the United States for preeminence not just economically and technologically but militarily. China began to overreach. . . .

. . . the shift toward confrontation began in the mid-2000s under the mild-mannered Hu Jintao, first among equals in a collective leadership. As China’s economy boomed, especially after the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, Hu and the other leaders lost restraint, abetting aggression toward the outside world and unchecked domestic social control. When Xi Jinping took power in 2012, he capitalized on widespread official corruption and open splits in the leadership to make the case for more concentrated power at the top. . . Those who implement Xi’s directives compete to outdo one another, provoking an even greater global backlash and stoking jingoism within China on a scale not seen since the Cultural Revolution.

. . . Shirk’s extensive interviews and meticulous analysis reveal the dynamics driving overreach. To counter it, she argues, the worst mistake the rest of the world, and the United States in particular, can make is to overreact. Understanding the domestic roots of China’s actions will enable us to avoid the mistakes that could lead to war.


“A fascinating, behind-the-scenes investigation of China’s internal politics that makes the unconventional but ultimately persuasive argument that the personalities, politics, and processes that have powered China’s rise for decades are simultaneously subverting it. With Overreach, Shirk proves yet again why she is one of the most interesting thinkers and important voices on China of our time.” — Elizabeth Economy, author of The World According to China

“Susan Shirk has both long experience and a deep understanding of China. Overreach offers an illuminating and sobering appraisal of where things stand today. It masterfully explains why China has taken its current worrisome course and offers invaluable advice as to how the United States should respond. An authoritative look at China in this critical movement in history.” — Stephen J. Hadley, former National Security Advisor for President George W. Bush

“Susan Shirk’s masterful dissection of China’s political leadership reveals a Party-state in near-constant struggle against perceived threats, creating a vicious policy cycle for the country and its partners. As Shirk’s brilliant analysis shows, this dynamic upends global stability and China’s vaunted peaceful rise.” — Charlene Barshefsky, former United States Trade Representative”


Susan L. Shirk is a Research Professor and Chair of the 21st Century China Center at the School of Global Policy and Strategy, UC San Diego. Shirk is the author of China: Fragile Superpower, and The Political Logic of Economic Reform in China. From 1997-2000, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs, with responsibility for China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mongolia.


The Politics of Immigration Beyond Liberal States: Morocco and Tunisia in Comparative Perspective

By Katarina Natter

Cambridge University Press, December 2022

The Politics of Immigration Beyond Liberal States compares authoritarian Morocco and democratizing Tunisia to examine whether autocracies make fundamentally different immigration policies than democracies.Immigration presents a fundamental challenge to the nation-state and is a key political priority for governments worldwide. However, knowledge of the politics of immigration remains largely limited to liberal states of the Global North.

Through her analysis, Natter advances theory-building on immigration beyond the liberal state and demonstrates how immigration politics. . . can provide valuable insights into the inner workings of political regimes. . . . International migration has become one of the most prominent fault lines in global North-South politics and, at the same time, increasingly, the clearest area of practical convergence between liberal democracies and autocracies.”


“This important book offers original insights into immigration politics in liberal and illiberal regimes. With in-depth analysis of immigration politics in Morocco and Tunisia, it joins a venerable tradition of scholarship that successfully uses immigration as a lens for understanding the functioning of modern states.” — Christina Boswell, University of Edinburgh

“In this highly original work, Natter examines the relationship between regime type, democratization, and shifts in migration and refugee policies. Her findings challenge conventional wisdom about migration governance in autocratic regimes while breaking down what she sees as the artificial dichotomy of the Global North and South.” — James F. Hollifield, Southern Methodist University

“Katharina Natter makes a crucial contribution to the nascent literature on immigration politics across the Global South. Natter’s empirically-rich and analytically-astute comparison of Tunisian and Moroccan policymaking offers valuable insights into how migration, regime politics, and the modern state remain intricately tied together.” — Gerasimos Tsourapas, University of Glasgow


Katharina Natter is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Leiden University and Senior Researcher at the International Migration Institute, and serves on the board of Asylos, an NGO providing research for lawyers representing asylum seekers. She has published in International Migration Review, Population and Development Review, Third World Quarterly, Comparative Migration Studies and the Journal of North African Studies. 

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