September 6, 2018 | By Iain Whitaker

Global Affairs Books For The Fall

Every June Book Expo America brings the nation’s publishing houses together with book wholesalers, retailers, and marketers in New York. The event provides an opportunity to collect an unwieldy amount of free as-yet-unpublished books (pro tip: they’re not really free if you end up paying for an extra checked bag). Equally important, it offers an advanced look at the topics that this most trend-conscious of industries believes will interest the American public six months hence. In the wider genre of global affairs, several titles stand out from the previews of fall and winter releases.

Coming just a few months after an election dominated by fake news and claims of foreign meddling, Book Expo in 2017 was unsurprisingly replete with ruminations on the bleak state of democracy. This theme continued into 2018, but with more specific inquiries into the drivers of our fractured politics.

 

This fall also marks the tenth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the onset of the great recession, an event that the publishing industry arguably did a better job of capitalizing on than many others. Most of the major players in those dizzying events of 2008 long ago published their best-selling recollections, and so the ten-year anniversary books are focused more on the legacy of the crash, and whether any lessons have been learned.

And if you want to dive deeper into this topic, two of the key protagonists - former FDIC chair Sheila Bair and former US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson - will join Bloomberg's David Westin on September 27 to consider what lessons were learned during the fateful fall of 2008.

In the realm of US foreign policy the titles previewed at Book Expo offer constrasting reactions to a year of America First. Authors appear to be split into two camps on the question of whether the liberal international order that the United States created after World War II has failed, is worth trying to save, or what global strategy might replace it.

  • The University of Chicago’s John Mearsheimer argues that America’s assertive post-Cold War foreign policy has been costly and often counter-productive in The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities (Yale University Press, September 25). Council President's Club members can hear the author make the case for a more restrained US foreign policy at a live taping of WBEZ's Worldview on October 16.
  • In The Jungle Grows Back: The Case for American Power (Knopf, September 18) Brooking’s Robert Kagan, who will present his thesis at the Council on October 9, contends that America’s retreat from leadership will invite dangerous, rival powers to challenge its interests and influence, returning the world to a “jungle” state of chaos.
  • Council president Ivo Daalder and CFR’s James Lindsay’s The Empty Throne: America’s Abdication of Global Leadership (Public Affairs, October 16) takes a long view of the unraveling of the international order created by the United States after World War II. They argue America has lost its appetite to lead and President Trump has capitalized on this complacency, with worrying implications for international peace and prosperity. Hear from them in conversation with WBEZ's Steve Edwards on the Council's stage on October 25
  • And Mearsheimer's erstwhile collaborator, Stephen Walt of Harvard’s Kennedy School, offers a robust, Realist critique of liberal hegemony in The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of US Power (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, October 16). He'll share his views with a Council audience on November 19.

 

Beyond the urgent policy questions of how, where, and when America should engage with the world, Book Expo also presented several books exploring developments that have tended to be outshouted by the talking heads on cable news. 


 

While the general mood of global affairs titles at Book Expo 2018 was gloomy, this fall will also see the release of major titles from two of the nation’s most compelling historians, which each describe America’s successful (and somewhat reassuring) passage through moments of historic peril.

 

Happy reading! And if you like to buy locally, our partners at The Book Cellar will be happy to help you out with any of these titles.

About

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. We convene leading global voices and conduct independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is an independent, nonpartisan organization. All statements of fact and expressions of opinion in blog posts are the sole responsibility of the individual author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Council.

Archive


One More Question with Argentine Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra

Argentine Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra discussed progress toward gender equality around the world with a Council audience last month. We sat down one-on-one with her to inquire what question she hoped the audience would ask. Find out what she said.


| By Ivo H. Daalder

This Week’s Reads – After Trump

It’s becoming increasingly clear that Donald Trump will not be the next president of the United States. This week’s reads provide some insight into what happens when a nation turns inward and offer a picture of what America may be avoiding by rejecting the politics of Trump.


| By Richard C. Longworth

Putinism: The New Russian Ideology

A nation's self-identity is what drives its foreign policy motivations. Russia has shifted among different identities over the past two, post-communist decades. The latest, however, embodied by leader Vladimir Putin, is more authoritarian and anti-American than before.


| By Ivo H. Daalder

This Week’s Reads – The Roots of Western Woes

This has not been a good year for Western democracy. How did we get here? This week’s reads from Council President Ivo Daalder seek to offer some preliminary answers—shedding light on the difficult question of what is driving today’s illiberal trends around the world. 



Election 2016: What Global Issue Might Affect Your Vote This Fall?

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is engaging the public and thought leaders in dialogue critical to the 2016 elections. In part one of our “Election 2016: America in the World” video series, find out what global issues are top of mind for the public with one month left to go.


Salam Al-Marayati on the Biggest Global Issue Facing the Next President

Salam Al-Marayati, president and cofounder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, spoke at the Council on September 23. There, we sat down one-on-one with him to inquire what he thought was the biggest foreign policy or global issue facing the next president. Find out what he said.


One More Question with Paul Collier

The University of Oxford's Paul Collier discussed the complex issue of global migration and the refugee crisis with a Council audience earlier this week. We sat down one-on-one with him to inquire what question he hoped the audience would ask. Find out what he said.


| By Noah J. Toly

Brexit, Global Cities, and the Future of World Order

In an article published in the journal Globalizations, senior fellow on global cities Noah Toly characterizes the Brexit vote as linked to larger dynamics of income inequality, political disenfranchisement, and social exclusion, which threaten to destabilize a liberal world order premised on integration and openness.


| By Ivo H. Daalder

This Week’s Reads – Thoughts on the First Debate

The highly-anticipated debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump took place on Monday. This week’s reads provides some different perspectives on some of the topics that were discussed—and some that should have been discussed—during the debate. 


One More Question with London Mayor Sadiq Khan

London Mayor Sadiq Khan joined a Council audience on September 15 to discuss the breakdown of social integration. After the event, we asked him: "If you could challenge the traditional thinking on one global issue, what would it be?" See his response.