Fragile Rise; Grand Strategy and the Fate of Imperial Germany, 1871 to 1914 by Xu Qiyu, Graham Allison, and Joshua Hill. MIT Press, 2016 An unusual perspective on the German grand strategy in the decades prior to WW I. Germany’s diplomatic blunders turned its growing economic and political power into a liability. Are there lessons to be learned?
Caught in the Revolution; Petrograd, Russia, 1917 A World on the Edge by Helen Rappaport. St. Martin’s Press, 2017. Eyewitness accounts by foreigners who saw the drama unfold.
Ring of Steel; Germany and Austria-Hungary in World War I by Alexander Watson. Basic Books, 2017 paper. Succeeded on the Eastern front, the War in France unraveled and trench warfare ended all hope of a short, decisive war.
Lenin on the Train by Catherine Merridale. Metropolitan, 2017. Lenin’s journey by rail in 1917 from Switzerland to Petrograd, where his oratory skills helped the Bolsheviks to power.
The Russian Revolution; A New History by Sean McMeekin. Basic Books, 2017. As many as twenty million Russians died during the revolution and warfare that followed. The agricultural economy, all was in ruins. But somehow the Bolsheviks pulled the country away from the edge of anarchy.
The Trial of Adolf Hitler; The Beer Hall Putsch and the Rise of Nazi Germany by David King. W.W. Norton, 2017. Munich in 1923, Hitler and his co-conspirator, General Erick Ludendorff were put on trial for treason. The trial ended with Ludendorff’s reputation tarnished, but Hitler, on the other hand, finally emerged from relative obscurity.
Europe’s India; Words, People, Empires, 1500 to 1800 by Sanjay Subrahmanyam. Harvard University Press, 2017. The maritime passage of Portuguese explorers provided Europeans with a dramatically different view of India from those glimpsed along the Silk Road, but also opened Europe up to Indian goods.
China and India; Asia’s Emergent Great Powers by Chris Ogden. Polity, 2017 paper. The impact of India and China in our notions of great-power status: similarities and differences.
The Vanishing Stepwells of India by Victoria Lautman & Diyay Gupta. Merrell, 2017. Color photographs and maps of these wonderful constructed step wells, a colorful journey down to the water table.
Ascending India and Its State Capacity; Extraction, Violence, and Legitimacy by Sumit Ganguly & William Thompson. Yale University Press, 2017. India has become a formidable regional power, but has considerable obstacles to ascending onto the international scene. Should it try to do so?