I’m going to make a list of books here — some out recently — and some others that I think are just great reads for people to consider picking up over the holidays. I’m going to make this an ongoing list as I get so many requests from people for books to read.
So this will start a core list, and I’ll add over time.
I’m going to first suggest America and the World: Conversations on the Future of American Foreign Policy with Zbigniew Brzezinski, Brent Scowcroft and David Ignatius. This book was high up in Michiko Kakutani’s Top Ten for 2008 and the American Strategy Program of the New America Foundation helped produce this book for the New America Foundation/Basic Books imprint series.
Another Kakutani pick was my colleague Steve Coll’s The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century. Think you know how to really research an issue? See what detail Coll can get into. . .
I’m then going to suggest a number of books of friends and others with close relations either to me personally, or to The Washington Note, or to the New America Foundation. Many of these books, though not all, were mentioned on the New York Times Notable Books of 2008 list.
Here are books that people should read, some new and some old (in no particular order):
1. America and the World: Conversations on the Future of American Foreign Policy with Zbigniew Brzezinski, Brent Scowcroft, and David Ignatius
2. Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency by Barton Gellman
3. House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood by Helene Cooper
4. The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in an American Century by Steve Coll
5. Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World by Samantha Power
6. Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America by Rick Perlstein
7. Fixing Global Finance by Martin Wolf
8. The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals by Jane Mayer
9. The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means by George Soros
10. They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons by Jacob Heilbrunn
11. Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East by Robin Wright
12. The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria
13. The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic by Chalmers Johnson
14. The Consequences of the Bush/Cheney Government Ignoring the Powell Doctrine by Colin Powell [I wish!] (actually, General Powell has no such book out under this name. I just wish he would write one along these lines — and I know that shortly after January 20th, Colin Powell is going to be working on his own book)
15. The Second World: How Emerging Powers are Redefining Global Competition in the Twenty-First Century by Parag Khanna
16. The American Way of Strategy: U.S. Foreign Policy and the American Way of Life by Michael Lind
17. The Age of Fallibility: Consequences of the War on Terror by George Soros
18. The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism by Andrew Bacevich
19. Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower by Zbigniew Brzezinski
20. Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome’s Greatest Politician by Anthony Everitt
21. Ethical Realism: A Vision for America’s Role in the World by Anatol Lieven and John Hulsman
22. Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States by Trita Parsi
23. Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the U.S., and the Twisted Path to Confrontation by Barbara Slavin
24. The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran by Hooman Majd
25. Obama’s Challenge: America’s Economic Crisis and the Power of a Transformative Presidency by Robert Kuttner
26. Torture Team: Rumsfeld’s Memo and the Betrayal of American Values by Philippe Sands
27. Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang
28. Normalizing Japan: Politics, Identity, and the Evolution of Security Practice by Andrew Oros
29. America: Our Next Chapter — Tough Questions, Straight Answers by Chuck Hagel and Peter Kaminsky
30. Securing Japan: Tokyo’s Grand Strategy and the Future of East Asia by Richard Samuels
31. The Much Too Promised Land: America’s Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace by Aaron David Miller
I’ll keep adding to and refreshing this list.
— Steve Clemons