Currently viewing the tag: "Book picks"
Just before classes ended, I sent a note to the faculty asking for summer reading suggestions for incoming students. (I like to think that this list will be useful for our newest Fletcher students, as well as anyone still reading the blog who will attend a different grad school.) I’ve collected suggestions before, and ran short lists last summer, and in 2007. This year I modified my request slightly: Instead of asking the professors to suggest books that incoming students could read to prepare, I asked them instead for the books they might pass along to a family member who wanted to learn about their area of expertise. I hoped it would result in some “lighter” reading, and I think it did.
Of course, suggesting that you do preparatory reading contradicts the students’ advice, posted recently. I’ll just need to leave it to you to decide whether you should follow the advice to relax and recharge, or read one of the books listed below.
One final note: I only asked the profs for their picks. I didn’t ask them to elaborate on their choices. I regret that now, though I think the simplicity of the assignment led to the high number of responses. I’ll include any comments they happened to send.
So, with no further discussion, here (alphabetically by the professors’ last names) are the first of the book picks.
First, Richard Blackhurst, who teaches the mid-career folk in the GMAP program, suggests Paul Krugman’s Pop Internationalism. He notes: “The students will, of course, recognize Paul Krugman’s name. However, this collection of economic essays pre-dates his much more political New York Times weekly columns, and is both very entertaining, accessible, and directly relevant to many — if not all — of the economics and political science courses they will take at Tufts.”
Antonia Chayes gives a little shout-out to her daughter, when she says, “I would add first and foremost, Sarah Chayes, The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban.” Prof. Chayes also suggests Tom Ricks’s new book on Iraq, The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008, as well as A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, Ishmael Beah’s memoir on child soldiers in Sierra Leone.
And last (for today), Brian Ganson suggests Kings of Peace, Pawns of War: The Untold Story of Peace-Making by Harriet Martin (with a foreward by Kofi Annan), and Making Social Science Matter: Why Social Inquiry Fails and How It Can Succeed Again by Bent Flyvbjerg (translated by Steven Sampson).
That should keep you all busy for the week. More to come soon!
Fletcher’s Summer School ended a few weeks back so nearly everyone who walks through the building is a member of the staff. Besides the occasional professor, the exceptions are several small groups of students in special programs — one for women from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, one for Critical National Infrastructure Authority officials from UAE, and the third for Armenian Lawyers from Yerevan. I see the students in the library, but there’s not the same level of activity in the Hall of Flags as I’d expect on a normal fall, spring, or winter day. (Check out this newspaper report on the program for Saudi women, and this Fletcher account of last summer’s programs.)
I’ve been keeping an eye out for professors who haven’t yet provided book recommendations. At a reception last week for the special summer students, I thought I had my golden opportunity — but then I saw that all the attending professors had previously provided suggestions. Must remember, next summer, to ask them before they scatter in June! Meanwhile, though, I have a few books to add to your list. (Once again, I’ll mention that these are not required reading. Just suggestions in case you’re looking for a Fletcher-ish book to take to the beach.)
The first pick comes from Prof. Block, who offers several suggestions in his field of development economics: Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet, by Jeffrey D. Sachs; and One Economics, Many Recipes: Globalization, Institutions, and Economic Growth by Dani Rodrik. He also mentioned The Bottom Billion, by Paul Collier, which Prof. Uvin had previously picked. Now we know that economists would agree with Prof. Uvin’s assessment.
While I was searching high and low for professors to provide book choices, Prof. Aucoin had the poor fortune to cross my path. After I aggressively demanded his recommendation, he suggested Jane Stromseth’s Can Might Make Rights: Building the Rule of Law After Military Interventions.
And, I actually have a few books to suggest from the business faculty. If you are entering the MIB program this fall, you already received these suggestions. For everyone else with an international business interest, besides other more specialized books, the professors recommend Billions of Entrepreneurs: How China and India Are Reshaping Their Futures–and Yours, by Tarun Khanna, and The Panic of 1907: Lessons Learned from the Market’s Perfect Storm by Robert F. Bruner and Sean D. Carr, which sounds like it could be valuable reading for anyone watching the economy right now.
It’s time for a summer reading list from Fletcher professors. Whereas last year’s recommendations stayed close to the professors’ areas of expertise, this year the books span the distance from class reading lists to general interest.
Eileen Babbitt, our negotiation and conflict management guru suggests a book for each of her classes. For D220 (Processes of International Negotiation), she suggests the classic, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, by Roger Fisher and William Ury. For D221 (International Mediation), she picks Herding Cats: Multiparty Mediation in a Complex World, edited by Chester A. Crocker, Fen Osler Hampson, and Pamela Aall, published by U.S. Institute of Peace Press. And, for D223 (Conflict Resolution Theory) she suggests Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies, by John-Paul Lederach.
In truth, Eileen sent me those suggestions last summer, when I thought I’d post a second list of professors’ picks. Fortunately, she has confirmed that they’re still her picks for this year.
Daniel Drezner, Fletcher’s professor of international politics who has just completed his second year here, selected Robert Gilpin’s Global Political Economy: Understanding the International Economic Order and Jeffry Frieden’s Global Capitalism: Its Fall and Rise in the Twentieth Century.
Academic Dean and Professor of International Humanitarian Studies Peter Uvin provides numerous suggestions that take you from the area of his research to subjects beyond. He starts with The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can be Done About It, by Paul Collier. Never one to miss a chance to kid his colleagues, Prof. Uvin says, “For a book written by an economist, this is not half-bad.”
Moving further afield, he tells me (via email), “I love reading science. I think everyone should understand — or at least feel wonder about — how our world functions. Great books include The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality, by Brian Greene; A Briefer History of Time, by Steven Hawkins and Leonard Mlodinow, which has really nice pictures; Chaos: Making a New Science, by James Gleick, which is a lot of fun to read, and is directly relevant to social thinking as well; and Visions: How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st Century by Michio Kaku. The last book is particularly interesting as he describes the likely technological breakthroughs for the next 50 years in each field — and how they may affect your life. And then you should read something about our global environment, but I am sure Bill Moomaw will tell you better what that ought to be.” (Note from your blogger — I’ll try to get Prof. Moomaw to weigh in soon.)
Finally, looking after the whole student, Prof. Uvin’s emailed list concludes with Presence: An Exploration of Profound Change in People, Organizations, and Society by Peter Senge and colleagues, and says it “is really useful to help you manage your life in every way.”
It’s still early in the summer, and I hope to post another list soon.
Our around-the-office conversation last week about book choices led to a different idea. I asked some members of our faculty (randomly selected on the basis of who is currently in town) what they would recommend to new students who said they would like to do some preparatory reading, but only had time for one book. Some of the professors linked the book to their courses. Others provided a more general recommendation. These might not be the books you would want to take to the beach this summer, but here are some of the professors’ ideas for useful preparation.
Ian Johnstone, one of our international lawyers recommended Foundations of International Law and Politics (edited by Oona Anne Hathaway and Harold Hongju Koh) for his International Organizations course (ILO L220), and Understanding Peacekeeping, written by Alex J. Bellamy, Paul Williams, and Stuart Griffin for his Peace Operations course (ILO L224).
Another member of the law faculty, Joel Trachtman makes a general recommendation: Research Handbook in International Economic Law (by Andrew T. Guzman & Alan O. Sykes), which he notes has a number of excellent papers introducing various topics in international economic law.
Switching to a different Fletcher division, historian Leila Fawaz suggests: Between Memory And Desire: The Middle East In A Troubled Age (by R. Stephen Humphreys). She adds that Guests of the Sheik: An Ethnography of an Iraqi Village (by Elizabeth W. Fernea) is “a wonderful very old book” that is useful for beginners in the field.
Covering a different part of the world, Alan Wachman notes that future students interested in “understanding the narrative of modern China” could begin with In Search of Modern China (by Jonathan D. Spence), while those wishing to focus on Chinese international relations and strategy could look at Cultural Realism: Strategic Culture and Grand Strategy in Chinese History (by Alastair Iain Johnston). His last suggestion for those interested in China, particularly modern China’s history of territorial disputes in Asia, is Imperial Rivals: China, Russia, and their Disputed Frontier (by S.C.M. Paine). But his suggestion for general knowledge is that “every student of international politics ought to read Thucydides’s history of the Peloponnesian Wars.”
As for warfare in a more modern setting, Richard Shultz recommends Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World (by Rupert Smith), which he calls an “interesting walk through the 90s, up to the present” dealing with the changing nature of war.
Last, Alan Henrikson suggests a book that he has, in fact, told his students to start this summer, though they won’t take his course until the spring semester: Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 (by Tony Judt). He tells me it’s long (“Tolstoian” is how he refers to it) but that it’s a “perfect book for serious students in international relations and history to read for background” and not only for those interested in Europe.
More suggestions may be coming later in the summer. Rest assured — there’s no required pre-Fletcher reading. But this list may give you a sense of the type of material out there to help you prepare for your graduate studies. Happy reading!
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