New books

from members of the Department of International Relations

You can also see a full list of publications from the Department at LSE Research Online.




What Really Went Wrong: The West and the failure of democracy in the Middle East

(Yale University Press, 2024)
by Fawaz A Gerges

What Really Went Wrong offers a fresh and incisive assessment of American foreign policy’s impact on the history and politics of the modern Middle East. Looking at flashpoints in Iranian, Egyptian, Syrian, and Lebanese history, Fawaz A. Gerges shows how postwar U.S. leaders made a devil’s pact with potentates, autocrats, and strongmen around the world. Washington sought to tame assertive nationalists and to protect repressive Middle Eastern regimes in return for compliance with American hegemonic designs and uninterrupted flows of cheap oil.

The book takes a counterfactual approach, asking readers to consider how the political trajectories of these countries and, by extension, the entire region may have differed had U.S. foreign policy privileged the nationalist aspirations of patriotic and independent Middle Eastern leaders and people. Gerges argues that rather than focusing on rolling back communism, extracting oil, and pursuing interventionist and imperial policies in Iran, Egypt, and beyond, postwar U.S. leaders should have allowed the Middle East greater autonomy in charting its own political and economic development. In so doing, the contemporary Middle East may have had better prospects for stability, prosperity, peace, and democracy.

Read an edited excerpt from the introduction in the LSE Review of Books blog

Read the book review from LSE Middle East Centre by Jenifer Vaughan

Read the book review from the Literary Review by Rory McCarthy




Cosmopolitan Elites: Indian Diplomats and the Social Hierarchies of Global Order

(Oxford University Press, 2023)
by Kira Huju

This book offers a new way of thinking about liberal order and the cosmopolitan elites who maintain it. It explores how caste underpins social relations among Indian diplomats, and influences how India engages in multilateral diplomacy. Featuring interviews with Indian diplomats on previously unpublished topics such as caste and Hindu nationalism within the Indian Foreign Service.



East Asians in the League of Nations: Actors, Empires and Regions in Early Global Politics

(Palgrave Macmillan, 2023)
edited by Christopher R Hughes and Hatsue Shinohara

This is the first book to give full agency to East Asians in the emergence of the international system and the only book on the League of Nations that relies on extensive East Asian language sources. Scholars from East Asia and beyond challenge the Eurocentric narrative of global politics.



China and Latin America: Development, Agency and Geopolitics

(Bloomsbury, 2023)
by Chris Alden, and Alvaro Mendez

In this detailed and up-to-the-minute investigation, Chris Alden, author of the critically acclaimed China in Africa, and Alvaro Mendez, leading expert in the international relations of Latin America, look at the interests, strategies and practices of China's incoming power. What can be learned by comparing Latin America with other developing regions in which China has had significant economic ties and a growing diplomatic stake? Does Beijing's approach to Latin America really differ, as is often claimed by Chinese leaders, from its approach to Africa? And more broadly, how should we read the curious and uneven decline of both the US and Europe as actors in the region?



Geopolitics and Democracy: The Western Liberal Order from Foundation to Fracture

(Oxford University Press, 2023)
by Peter Trubowitz and Brian Burgoon

A large and widening gap has opened between Western democracies’ international ambitions and their domestic political capacity to support these objectives. Drawing on an array of cross-national data on Western governments, parties, and voters, Geopolitics and Democracy traces this ends-means divide back to decisions that Western governments made after the Cold War.

The analysis reveals the large extent to which domestic support for international engagement during the long East-West geopolitical contest had rested on social protections within the Western democracies. At a time when problems of great power rivalry, spheres of influence, and reactionary nationalism have returned, Geopolitics and Democracy reminds us that the liberal order rose in an age of social democracy as well as Cold War. In the absence of a renewed commitment to those social purposes, Western democracies will struggle to find a collective grand strategy that their domestic publics will support.

Listed as one of Foreign Affairs best books of 2023





Support the Troops: Military Obligation, Gender, and the Making of Political Community

(Oxford University Press, 2022)
By Katharine M Millar

This is the first work to systematically examine "support the troops" as a distinct social phenomenon in the US and UK. It examines the gender politics of "support the troops" discourse with an emphasis on military masculinity and is a novel, feminist reading of liberalism to show how solidarity and loyalty are important to making war possible and creating political community. It places "support the troops" discourse in the historical context of US and UK civil-military relations.

Review in the LSE Review of books




Ascending Order: Rising Powers and the Politics of Status in International Institutions

(Cambridge University Press, 2022)
By Rohan Mukherjee

Why do rising powers sometimes challenge an international order that enables their growth, and at other times support an order that constrains them? This book offers the first comprehensive study of conflict and cooperation as new powers join the global arena. International institutions shape the choices of rising states as they pursue equal status with established powers. Open membership rules and fair decision-making procedures facilitate equality and cooperation, while exclusion and unfairness frequently produce conflict. Using original and robust archival evidence, the book examines these dynamics in three cases: the United States and the maritime laws of war in the mid-nineteenth century; Japan and naval arms control in the interwar period; and India and nuclear non-proliferation in the Cold War. This study shows that the future of contemporary international order depends on the ability of international institutions to address the status ambitions of rising powers such as China and India.

Read the book review in Small States & Territories, Vol 5, No 2, November 2022

Read the book review in The Review of International Organizations

Winner of the 2023 Hedley Bull Prize from the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) and the 2023 Hague Journal of Diplomacy Book Award.

Winner of the 2024 T V Paul Best Book in Global International Relations from the Global IR section of the International Studies Association (ISA).



Great Powers, Climate Change, and Global Environmental Responsibilities

(Oxford University Press, 2022)
Edited by Robert Falkner and Barry Buzan

This book is the first of its kind to examine the role of great powers in the international politics of climate change. It develops a novel analytical framework for studying environmental power in international relations, what counts as a great power in the environmental field, and what their special environmental responsibilities are. In doing so, the book connects International Relations debates on power inequality, great powers and great power management, with global environmental politics scholarship.




The Estate Origins of Democracy in RussiaFrom Imperial Bourgeoisie to Post-Communist Middle Class

(Cambridge University Press, 2021)
By Tomila Lankina

A devastating challenge to the idea of communism as a 'great leveller', this extraordinarily original, rigorous, and ambitious book debunks Marxism-inspired accounts of the Bolshevik Revolution’s equalitarian consequences.

It is the first study systematically to link the genesis of the 'bourgeoisie-cum-middle class' - Imperial, Soviet, and post-communist - to Tzarist estate institutions which distinguished between nobility, clergy, the urban merchants and meshchane, and peasants.

Find out more and watch the short film about this book

Read the discussion on this book in Republic magazine.

This book is the winner of the 2023 Davis Center Book Prize in Political and Social Studies for outstanding monograph on Russia, Eurasia, or Eastern Europe in anthropology, political science, sociology, or geography.

This book is the winner of the 2023 J. David Greenstone Prize for the best book in the Politics and History section of the American Political Science Association.

Tomila's book also received “Honorable Mention” for the Sartori Book Award of the American Political Science Association Organized Section for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research. The Giovanni Sartori Book Award honours Giovanni Sartori's work on qualitative methods and concept formation.



The Humanity of Universal Crime. Inclusion, Inequality, and Intervention in International Political Thought 

(Oxford University Press, 2021)
By Sinja Graf

Winner of ISA's International Ethics Book Award in 2022 and the 2022 Political Theory Best Book Award from the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR).

The international crime of "crimes against humanity" has become integral to contemporary political and legal discourse. However, the conceptual core of the term—an act against all of mankind—has a longer and deeper history in international political thought. In an original excavation of this history, this book examines theoretical mobilizations of the idea of universal crime in colonial and post-colonial contexts.



ISIS: A History
by Fawaz A. Gerges
(Princeton University Press, 2021)

First published in 2016 - now expanded and revised to bring events up to 2021.

The Islamic State has stunned the world with its savagery, destructiveness, and military and recruiting successes. What explains the rise of ISIS and what does it portend for the future of the Middle East? In this book, one of the world's leading authorities on political Islam and jihadism sheds new light on these questions as he provides a unique history of the rise and growth of ISIS. Moving beyond journalistic accounts, Fawaz Gerges provides a clear and compelling account of the deeper conditions that fuel ISIS.

An authoritative introduction to arguably the most important conflict in the world today, this is an essential book for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the social turmoil and political violence ravaging the Arab-Islamic world.

"A specific, timely, well-rendered exegesis of the unfolding global threat."--Kirkus (starred review)

Read review
Watch short film




England's Cross of Gold: Keynes, Churchill, and the Governance of Economic Beliefs

(Cornell University Press, 2021)
By James Ashley Morrison

In this book, James Ashley Morrison challenges the conventional view that the UK's ruinous return to gold in 1925 was inevitable. Instead, he offers a new perspective on the struggles among elites in London to define and redefine the gold standard—from the first discussions during the Great War; through the titanic ideological clash between Winston Churchill and John Maynard Keynes; to the final, ill-fated implementation of the "new gold standard."

England's Cross of Gold, grounded in masterful archival research, reveals that these events turned crucially on the beliefs of a handful of pivotal policymakers. It recasts the legends of Churchill, Keynes, and their collision, and it shows that the gold standard itself was a metaphysical abstraction rooted more in mythology than material reality.



Environmentalism and Global International Society

(Cambridge University Press, 2021)
by Robert Falkner

This book reveals how environmental values and ideas have transformed the normative structure of international relations. Falkner argues that environmental stewardship has become a universally accepted fundamental norm, or primary institution, of global international society. He traces the history of environmentalism's rise from a loose set of ideas originating in the nineteenth century to a globally applicable norm in the twentieth century, which has come to redefine international legitimacy and states' global responsibilities. This book shifts the attention from the presentist focus in the study of global environmental politics to the longue duree of global norm change in the greening of international relations.

Shortlisted for the BISA Susan Strange Best Book Prize 2022



The Cambridge Companion to the Rule of Law

(Cambridge University Press, 2021)
edited by Jens Meierhenrich and Martin Loughlin

This book introduces students, scholars, and practitioners to the theory and history of the rule of law, one of the most frequently invoked - and least understood - ideas of legal and political thought and policy practice. It offers a comprehensive re-assessment by leading scholars of one of the world's most cherished traditions.



Republicanism, Communism, Islam: Cosmopolitan Origins of Revolution in Southeast Asia

(Cornell University Press, 2021)
by John T Sidel

In this book, John T. Sidel provides an alternate vantage point for understanding the variegated forms and trajectories of revolution across the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam, a perspective that is de-nationalised, internationalised, and transnationalised. Sidel positions this new vantage point against the conventional framing of revolutions in modern Southeast Asian history in terms of a nationalist template, on the one hand, and distinctive local cultures and forms of consciousness, on the other. 

Watch the book launch on YouTube (90 mins)

Read a review in LSE Review of Books blog

Read a review in The New Yorker



Thinking and Working Politically in Development: Coalitions for Change in the Philippines

(The Asia Foundation, 2020)
by John T Sidel and Jaime Faustino

In this publication, authors John T. Sidel and Jaime Faustino look into the Coalitions for Change (CfC), a program of The Asia Foundation and the Australian Embassy Partnership in the Philippines. In looking at CfC’s diverse initiatives–in tax reform, education reform, land governance reform, electoral reform, infrastructure reform, disaster risk reduction and management, and conflict resolution–the book surfaces lessons on problem-driven, adaptive, and iterative policy-making that resonates across the developing world.

Free to download

Find out more and watch author John Sidel talk about this book

Read a review



Group Politics in UN Multilateralism

(Brill, 2020)
Edited by Katie Laatikainen and Karen E Smith

This book provides a new perspective on diplomacy and negotiations at the United Nations. Very few states ‘act individually’ at the UN; instead they often work within groups such as the Africa Group, the European Union or the Arab League. States use groups to put forward principled positions in an attempt to influence a wider audience and thus legitimize desired outcomes.

This book also shows that groups are not static: new groups emerge in multilateral negotiations on issues such as climate, security and human rights. At any given moment, UN multilateralism is shaped by long-standing group dynamics as well as shifting, ad-hoc groupings. These intergroup dynamics are key to understanding diplomatic practice at the UN.

This books has been awarded the Academic Council on the UN System Biennial Book Award for 2020.



Sensible Politics: Visualizing International Relations

(Oxford University Press, 2020)
by William A Callahan

In this book William Callahanuses his expertise in theory and filmmaking to explore not only what visuals mean, but also how visuals can viscerally move and connect us in "affective communities of sense." The book's rich analysis of visual images (photographs, film, art) and visual artifacts (maps, veils, walls, gardens, cyberspace) shows how critical scholarship needs to push beyond issues of identity and security to appreciate the creative politics of social-ordering and world-ordering. 

Winner of the Best Book Award 2022 of the ISA's International Political Sociology section

Nominated for the BISA Susan Strange Best Book Prize 2021





Anatomies of Revolution

(Cambridge University Press, 2019)
by George Lawson

This book offers a novel account of how revolutions begin, unfold and end. By combining insights from international relations, sociology, and global history, it outlines the benefits of a 'global historical sociology' of revolutionary change, one in which international processes take centre stage. Featuring a wide range of cases from across modern world history, this is a comprehensive account of one of the world's most important processes.

This book has been awarded the 2020 Hedley Bull Prize in International Relations. The jury called it a "nuanced and lively account of the history and theory of revolutions, introducing important and surprising comparisons across time and historical space."



Resisting Militarism: Direct Action and the Politics of Subversion
(Edinburgh University Press, 2019)
by Chris Rossdale

In the past 15 years, anti-militarist activists in the UK have auctioned off a tank outside an arms fair, superglued themselves to Lockheed Martin’s central London offices and stopped a battleship with a canoe. They have also challenged militarism on an everyday level in many other ways. This book tells the story of their resistance. It explores why anti-militarists take part in such actions, considers the politics of different tactics and examines the tensions and debates within the movement.



The Wealth Effect: how the great expectations of the middle class have changed the politics of banking crises
(Cambridge University Press, 2019)
by Jeffrey Chwieroth and Andrew Walter

The politics of major banking crises has been transformed since the nineteenth century. Analyzing extensive historical and contemporary evidence, Chwieroth and Walter demonstrate that the rising wealth of the middle class has generated 'great expectations' among voters that the government is responsible for the protection of this wealth.

*Winner of the International Studies Association 2021 IPE Section Best Book Award*



Understanding International Relations (5th edition)
(Red Globe Press, 2019)
by Chris Brown

The fifth edition of this bestselling textbook offers a comprehensive and engaging introduction to International Relations and has been fully updated to cover the dramatic changes in recent world politics. Written in the author’s unique and engaging style, the text explores everything from foreign policy and security to global governance and the global economy, to show how the theories and concepts Brown outlines are the only way to make sense of contemporary issues and events.

Read his blog post



The Rise of the Civilizational State
(Polity, 2019)
by Christopher Coker

Christopher Coker looks in-depth at two countries that now claim the title of civilizational state: Xi Jinping’s China and Vladimir Putin's Russia. He also discusses the Islamic caliphate, a virtual and aspirational civilizational state that is unlikely to fade despite the recent setbacks suffered by Isis. The civilizational state, he contends, is an idea whose time has come. 

Listen to or download the podcast from the book launch.

FT review



The Politics of International Political Theory: Reflections on the works of Chris Brown

(Palgrave, 2019)
edited by Mathias Albert, Anthony J Lang Jr

The book assesses the impact of the work of the LSE International Relations Department's Professor Chris Brown in the field of International Political Theory. Contributions to the volume engage with general issues of IPT, underlying questions such as the use and role of practical reasoning and problems regarding the legitimacy of war and violence. They explore questions that pertain to human rights, morality, and ethics, and generally projects for devising a ‘better’ world.[!--End--]





New directions in Africa-China Studies 

(Routledge, 2019)
by Chris Alden & Daniel Large (Eds)

Interest in China and Africa is growing exponentially. Taking a step back from the ‘events-driven’ reactions characterizing much coverage, this timely book reflects more deeply on questions concerning how this subject has been, is being and can be studied.



Social Closure and International Society: Status Groups from the Family of Civilised Nations to the G20
(Routledge, 2018)
by Tristen Naylor

Laying the foundations of a theory of ‘international social closure’ this book examines how actors compete for a seat at the table in the management of international society and how that competition stratifies the international domain.



Strong NGOs and Weak States: Pursuing Gender Justice in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa
(Cambridge University Press, 2018)
by Milli Lake

Over the past decade, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) and South Africa have attracted global attention for high rates of sexual and gender-based violence. 

Lake shows that state fragility in DR Congo has created openings for human rights nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to influence legal processes in ways that have proved impossible in countries like South Africa, where the state is stronger. Yet exploiting opportunities presented by state fragility to pursue narrow human rights goals invites a host of new challenges.

This book documents the promises and pitfalls of human rights and rule of law advocacy undertaken by NGOs in strong and weak states alike.

This book was awarded the inaugural Lee Ann Fujii Award by the International Studies Association in 2020. This award commemorates Lee Ann’s memory as a tireless advocate for diversity, mentorship and research ethics in the discipline.



Western Dominance in International Relations? The Internationaliation of IR in Brazil and India
(Routledge, 2018)
by Audrey Alejandro

This volume offers a counter-intuitive and original contribution to the understanding of the global circulation of knowledge. In contrast with the literature, it argues that the internationalisation of social sciences in the designated 'Global South' is not conditioned by the existence of a presumably 'Western dominance'. Indeed, though discriminative practices such as Eurocentrism and gate-keeping practices exist, their existence does not lead to a unipolar structuration of IR internationalisation around ‘the West’.

Based on these empirical results, this book reflexively questions the role of critique in the (re)production of the social and political order. Paradoxically, the anti-Eurocentric critical discourses reproduce the very Eurocentrism they criticise. This book offers methodological support to address this paradox by demonstrating how one can use discourse analysis and reflexivity to produce innovative results and decenter oneself from the vision of the world one has been socialised into.



Making the Arab World: Nasser, Qutb, and the Clash That Shaped the Middle East
(Princeton University Press 2018)
by Fawaz A Gerges

How the conflict between political Islamists and secular-leaning nationalists has shaped the history of the modern Middle East.

In Making the Arab World, Fawaz Gerges, one of the world’s leading authorities on the Middle East, tells how the clash between pan-Arab nationalism and pan-Islamism has shaped the history of the region from the 1920s to the present.

Read a review in Marginalia Los Angeles Review of Books

Read a review in Middle East Journal

Read a review in Middle East Policy Council Journal

Read a review in Foreign Affairs

Read a review in The Times

Read a review in Arab News

Read a review in Arab Weekly

Read an excerpt in The Daily Beast

Read an interview in Jadaliyya

Read a review in Reading Religion

Best history books of 2018 from Open Letters Review



The Remnants of the Rechtsstaat: an ethnography of Nazi Law
(Oxford University Press 2018)
by Jens Meierhenrich

A study of the legal origins of dictatorship, this volume theorises the idea of an "authoritarian rule of law" and provides a corrective to conventional wisdom about the law of the "Third Reich".  It also offers an intellectual history of Ernst Fraenkel's republished classic The Dual State (1941), restoring to its rightful prominence an important work of intellectual resistance to Nazi dictatorship, and places the case of Nazi Germany in a comparative perspective and sheds light on 21st-century transitions to authoritarian rule.



EU Security Strategies: Extending the EU System of Security Governance
(Routledge 2018)
by Spyros Economides, James Sperling (eds)

This volume offers a coherence analysis of the European Union's security strategies within a comparative framework.  It will be of great interest to students of EU policy, foreign policy, security studies and IR.



China and Africa: building peace and security on the continent
(Palgrave 2017)
by Chris Alden, Abiodun Alao, Zhang Chun and Laura Barber (eds)

This book investigates the expanding involvement of China in security cooperation in Africa. Drawing on leading and emerging scholars in the field, the volume uses a combination of analytical insights and case studies to unpack the complexity of security challenges confronting China and the continent. It interrogates how security considerations impact upon the growing economic and social links China has developed with African states.



Mozambique and Brazil: forging new partnerships or developing dependency?
(Fahana 2017)
by Chris Alden, Sergio Chichava, and Ana Cristina Alves (eds)

This book critically investigates the expanding involvement of a leading emerging power, Brazil, in one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, Mozambique. It focuses on the dynamics of Brazilian development assistance, its flagship engagement in Mozambique’s agricultural and resource sector and the burgeoning social ties that bind them together. There is an emerging belief that the two countries are on the path to forging a new development partnership. However, there is growing evidence that the conduct of Brazilian firms and the policies promoted by Brazilian development assistance projects are generating negative fallout within local communities and among local environmental activists.



Global Historical Sociology
(Cambridge University Press 2017)
by Julian Go and George Lawson (eds)

This collection lays out the international, transnational, and global dimensions of social change. It reveals the shortcomings of existing scholarship and argues for a deepening of the 'third wave' of historical sociology through a concerted treatment of transnational and global dynamics as they unfold in and through time. The volume combines theoretical interventions with in-depth case studies. By bringing this sensibility to bear on a wide range of issue-areas, the volume lays out the promise of a truly global historical sociology.



‘The International Origins of Social and Political Theory’
Special Issue, Political Power and Social Theory 32
by Tarak Barkawi and George Lawson (eds)

This special volume looks at the necessary entanglement of theory and history, the cortical relationship between theory and practice, and the transboundary (i.e., international) relations that help to constitute systems of both thought and practice. We integrate the contributions to the special issue within these overarching themes and identify their main contributions. We make three core arguments: first, all theory is situated knowledge, derived in and through historical context; second, theory-practice is a single field in which theory arises out of and acts upon historical experience; and third, both social and political theory have international origins, arising from transboundary encounters.



Soldiers of Empire: Indian and British Armies in World War II

(Cambridge University Press 2017)
by Tarak Barkawi

How are soldiers made? Why do they fight? Re-imagining the study of armed forces and society, Barkawi examines the imperial and multinational armies that fought in Asia in the Second World War, especially the British Indian army in the Burma campaign.

Drawing on history, sociology and anthropology, the book critiques the 'Western way of war' from a postcolonial perspective.

Barkawi reconceives soldiers as cosmopolitan, their battles irreducible to the national histories that monopolise them. 

Watch interview

This book was awarded the 2018 Paul Birdsall Prize for a major book on European military and strategic history since 1870 from the American Historical Association.

More information here.



Public Opinion, Legitimacy and Tony Blair’s War in Iraq
(Routledge, 2017)
by James Strong

In the wake of the publication of the Chilcot report, this book reinterprets the relationship between British public opinion and the Blair government’s decision-making in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It highlights how the government won the parliamentary vote and got its war, but never won the argument that it was the right thing to do. Understanding how, why and with what consequences Britain wound up in this position means understanding better both this specific case and the wider issue of how democratic publics influence foreign policy processes.



Political Trials in Theory and History
(Cambridge University Press 2017)
edited by Jens Meierhenrich and Devin O Pendas

From the trial of Socrates to the post-9/11 military commissions, trials have always been useful instruments of politics. Yet there is still much that we do not understand about them. Why do governments use trials to pursue political objectives, and when? What differentiates political trials from ordinary ones? Contrary to conventional wisdom, not all political trials are show trials or contrive to set up scapegoats. This volume offers a novel account of political trials that is empirically rigorous and theoretically sophisticated, linking state-of-the-art research on telling cases to a broad argument about political trials as a socio-legal phenomenon.




The Oxford Handbook of Carl Schmitt
(Oxford University Press, 2016)
edited by Jens Meierhenrich and Oliver Simons

Uniquely located at the intersection of law, the social sciences, and the humanities, this book adopts a truly interdisciplinary approach to the difficult oeuvre of Carl Schmitt.  It highlights the trinity of Carl Schmitt's thought, i.e., the mutually constitutive relationship among his political thought, legal thought, and cultural thought, and it assembles virtually all leading scholars of Carl Schmitt from disciplines as diverse as art, law, literature, philosophy, political science, and history.



The Handbook of Global Climate and Environment Policy
(Wiley-Blackwell, 2016)
edited by Robert Falkner

This book presents an authoritative and comprehensive overview of international policy on climate and the environment. It brings together a global team of experts from the fields of environmental politics, international relations, economics, and law, who explore current debates and the latest thinking in the search for global environmental solutions. The volume reviews the key environmental challenges, concepts, and approaches; examines the role of global actors, institutions, and processes; and considers the links between the global economy and global environmental politics.



Taming the Imperial Imagination
Colonial Knowledge, International Relations, and the Anglo-Afghan Encounter, 1808–1878
by Martin J. Bayly
(Cambridge University Press, 2016) 

This book marks a novel intervention into the debate on empire and international relations, and offers a new perspective on nineteenth-century Anglo-Afghan relations. Martin J. Bayly shows how, throughout the 19th century, the British Empire in India sought to understand and control its peripheries through the use of colonial knowledge.

Addressing the fundamental question of what Afghanistan itself meant to the British at the time, he draws on extensive archival research to show how knowledge of Afghanistan was built, refined and warped by an evolving colonial state.

This knowledge informed policy choices and cast Afghanistan in a separate legal and normative universe. Beginning with the disorganised exploits of 19th-century explorers and ending with the cold strategic logic of the militarised 'scientific frontier', this book tracks the 19th-century origins of contemporary policy 'expertise' and the forms of knowledge that inform interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere today.

This book was awarded the Francesco Guicciardini Prize for best book in historical international relations 2018, awarded by the historical IR section of the International Studies Association.



ISIS: A History
by Fawaz A. Gerges
(Princeton University Press, 2016)

The Islamic State has stunned the world with its savagery, destructiveness, and military and recruiting successes. What explains the rise of ISIS and what does it portend for the future of the Middle East? In this book, one of the world's leading authorities on political Islam and jihadism sheds new light on these questions as he provides a unique history of the rise and growth of ISIS. Moving beyond journalistic accounts, Fawaz Gerges provides a clear and compelling account of the deeper conditions that fuel ISIS.

An authoritative introduction to arguably the most important conflict in the world today, this is an essential book for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the social turmoil and political violence ravaging the Arab-Islamic world.

"A specific, timely, well-rendered exegesis of the unfolding global threat."--Kirkus (starred review)

Read review
Watch short film

ISIS: A History has been shortlisted for the prestigious Arthur Ross Book Award 2017 from the Council on Foreign Relations.

This annual award recognises books that make an outstanding contribution to the understanding of foreign policy or international relations.

Read more