War: How Conflict Shaped Us

The instinct to fight may be innate in human nature, but war—organized violence—comes with organized society. War has shaped humanity’s history, its social and political institutions, its values and ideas. Our very language, our public spaces, our private memories, and some of our greatest cultural treasures reflect the glory and the misery of war. War…

Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism

Applebaum explains, with electrifying clarity, why elites in democracies around the world are turning toward nationalism and authoritarianism. From the United States and Britain to continental Europe and beyond, liberal democracy is under siege, while authoritarianism is on the rise. In Twilight of Democracy, Anne Applebaum, an award-winning historian of Soviet atrocities who was one…

Killer High: A History of War in Six Drugs

There is growing alarm over how drugs empower terrorists, insurgents, militias, and gangs. But by looking back not just years and decades but centuries, Peter Andreas reveals that the drugs-conflict nexus is actually an old story, and that powerful states have been its biggest beneficiaries. In his path-breaking Killer High, Andreas shows how six psychoactive…

Roller-Coaster: Europe 1950 – 2017

In this second volume of his masterly history of 20th century Europe, the distinguished historian Ian Kershaw looks at the continent from 1950 to the present. As Europe struggles to recover from the ravages of the Second World War, it is also divided by the deepening Cold War between the United States and the Soviet…

The Unsettling of Europe: How Migration Reshaped a Continent

Since World War Two, migration of people within countries, from one country to another, and from outside Europe to the continent has been the rule rather than the exception. Peter Gatrell has produced a sweeping and engrossing history of these migrations: why they occurred, how host countries saw and see them, and why governments often…

Power to the People: How Open Technological Innovation is Arming Tomorrow’s Terrorists

That digital technologies are disruptive has become commonplace. Audrey Kurth Cronin meticulously shows how digital technologies like the Internet, smartphones, and artificial intelligence—as did earlier innovations like dynamite and the Kalashnikov rifle—have expanded the reach and force of malicious non-state actors. The book’s greatest virtue may be its calm voice. Cronin shows that the destructive…

The Narrow Corridor: States, Societies, and the Fate of Liberty

With a magisterial sweep through history, Acemoglu and Robinson tell the story of the struggle to establish a narrow corridor between despotism and anarchy, where liberty can thrive. For liberty to emerge and flourish, both state and society must be strong. They emphasize that preserving liberty is an ongoing struggle that never finishes. Today, it…