What are the origins of ‘democracy’? Are countries like the US, Canada, Britain, etc., democratic? In “The History of Democracy: A Marxist Interpretation,” Brian S. Roper examines liberal assumptions about the origins and essence of democracy using Marxist historical materialism. Roper begins by examining the system of participatory democracy in Athens and Rome and its later suppression under the Roman Empire. In this, Roper differs … Continue reading Review: “The History of Democracy: A Marxist Interpretation” – Brian S. Roper
Heraldo Munoz is a Chilean politician who was appointed to head a UN Commission of Inquiry to investigate the assassination of former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto in December 2007. This book is kind of like an unofficial memoir of his experience investigating Bhutto’s assassination. It is a unique blend of a historical and political analysis of Pakistan in the style of Ahmed Rashid … Continue reading Review: “Getting Away with Murder: Benazir Bhutto’s Assassination and the Politics of Pakistan” – Heraldo Munoz
Joshua D. Zimmerman’s “Poles, Jews, and the Politics of Nationality: The Bund and the Polish Socialist Party in Late Tsarist Russia, 1892-1914” is an excellent, well researched, highly informative, and widely accessible analysis of Polish-Jewish relations and the national question within the late tsarist empire. Zimmerman begins the book by describing the origins of the Polish Socialist Party (PPS) and the General Jewish Labour Bund … Continue reading Review: “Poles, Jews, and the Politics of Nationality: The Bund and the Polish Socialist Party in Late Tsarist Russia, 1892-1914” – Joshua D. Zimmerman
James Ciment’s “Another America: The Story of Liberia and the Former Slaves Who Ruled It” is, in my opinion, a much better history of Liberia than David Reese’s “Liberia: America’s African Stepchild”. In Ciment’s book the primary objective of his historical investigation is the politics of Liberia, not the people, although for obvious reasons the people figure prominently in the book as well. Unlike in … Continue reading Review: “Another America: The Story of Liberia and the Former Slaves Who Ruled It” – James Ciment
Patwant Singh and Jyoti M. Rai’s “Empire of the Sikhs” tells the story of one of the most remarkable individuals in the history of the Indian subcontinent, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, founder of the Sikh Empire. Blinded in one eye from smallpox, Ranjit Singh first fought in a battle with his father when he was 10-years-old. In 1797, at the age of 17, Singh defeated the … Continue reading Review: “Empire of the Sikhs: The Life and Times of Maharaja Ranjit Singh” – Patwant Singh and Jyoti M. Rai
(This is an OLDIE – an old review from years ago! My views and opinions might have changed since then.) John R. Cartwright, in “Politics in Sierra Leone, 1947-1967,” attempts to provide a thorough analysis of how Sierra Leone’s political system. I write that the author ‘attempts to provide’ because whether he is successful in that depends on one’s conception of ‘democracy’. If, as the … Continue reading (OLDIE!) Review: “Politics in Sierra Leone, 1947-1967” -John R. Cartwright
John M. Douglas’s “The Armenians” is an outstanding history of the Armenian people, from the Armenian people’s ancient Thraco-Phrygian and Urartian origins in the 9th century BC, to the social, economic, and political struggles of the Republic of Armenia in the mid-1990s. What really surprised me reading this book was how involved Armenians have been in world affairs. Rarely are Armenians discussed in any detail … Continue reading Review: “The Armenians” – John M. Douglas
Have you ever looked at a map of Central Asia and the Caucasus? If you answered ‘yes’, then you have more than likely wondered why the borders of many of the now independent states in these regions of the former Soviet Union are so confusing and seemingly irrational. The strategic and fertile Ferghana Valley, for instance, appears to be haphazardly divided between Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and … Continue reading Soviet Nationalities Policy and Territorial Delimitation: “Divide at impera” or something else?