The 2018 Geopolitical Reading List

International Relations: Theory and Beyond

General Concepts

  1. Theories of International Politics and Zombies by Daniel Drezner
  2. Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis by Graham Allison
  3. The Geography of War in the Post-Cold War World by Patrick O’Sullivan
  4. The Tragedy of Great Power Politics by John J. Mearsheimer
  5. International Politics: Enduring Concepts and Contemporary Issues by Robert J. Art and Robert Jarvis
  6. World Order by Henry Kissenger
  7. Man, the State, and War: A Theoretical Analysis by Kenneth Waltz
  8. Perception and Misperception in International Politics by Robert Jervis
  9. Geopolitics, Geography and Strategy by Colin S. Gray and Geoffrey Sloan
  10. Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics by Tim Marshall
  11. Introduction to Geopolitics by Colin Flint
  12. Geopolitics: A Guide to the Issues by Bert Chapman
  13. The Geography of Warfare by Pat O’Sullivan
  14. The Grand Chessboard by Zbigniew Brzezinski
  15. The Future of Power by Joseph S. Nye Jr.
  16. World Systems Analysis: An Introduction by Immanuel Wallerstein
  17. The Breaking of Nations: Order and Chaos in the Twenty-First Century by Robert Cooper
  18. The Revenge of Geography by Robert Kaplan
  19. Why Geography Matters by Harm de Blij
  20. The Penguin State of the World Atlas by Dan Smith
  21. American Foreign Policy Since WWII by Steven W. Hook

Security and the Use of Force

  1. On War by Carl von Clausewitz
  2. Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age by Peter Paret
  3. Just and Unjust Wars by Michael Walzer
  4. Arms and Influence by Thomas C. Schelling
  5. The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World by Rupert Smith
  6. Cyberpower and National Security by Franklin Kramer, Stuart Starr, and Larry Waltz
  7. A Fierce Domain: Conflict in Cyberspace, 1986 to 2012 by Jason Healey
  8. Economic Instruments of Security Policy: Influencing Choices of Leadersby Gary Shiffman and James Jochum
  9. The Origins of the First World War by James Joll and Gordon Martell

International Political Economy

  1. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
  2. Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson
  3. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond
  4. Against the Tide: An Intellectual History of Free Trade by Douglas Irwin
  5. Global Capitalism: Its Fall and Rise in the Twentieth Century by Jeffry Frieden
  6. Globalizing Capital: A History of the International Monetary System by Barry Eichengreen

Substate Violence

  1. Inside Terrorism by Bruce Hoffman
  2. Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice by David Galula
  3. Deadly Connections: States that Sponsor Terrorism by Daniel Byman
  4. Origins of Terrorism: Psychologies, Ideologies, Theologies, States of Mindby Walter Reich
  5. Inside Rebellion: The Politics of Insurgent Violence by Jeremy Weinstein


  1. Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy by Mark M. Lowenthal
  2. The Craft of Intelligence: America’s Legendary Spy Master on the Fundamentals of Intelligence Gathering for a Free World by Allen Dulles
  3. The Art of Intelligence: Lessons from a Life in the CIA’s Clandestine Serviceby Henry A. Crumpton
  4. Transforming Intelligence by Jennifer Sims and Burton Gerber

Middle East & North Africa

General History

  1. A History of the Arab Peoples by Albert Hourani
  2. The Arabs: A History by Eugene Rogan
  3. The Mantle of the Prophet by Roy Mottahedeh
  4. The Arab Uprising: The Unfinished Revolutions of the New Middle East by Mark Lynch
  5. The Rise of Turkey: The Twenty-First Century’s First Muslim Power by Soner Çağaptay
  6. Yemen: Dancing on the Heads of Snakes by Victoria Clark

Political Structures and System

  1. The Many Faces of Political Islam: Religion and Politics in the Muslim World by Mohammad Ayoob
  2. Politics in the Middle East by James A. Bill, Robert Springborg
  3. The International Relations of the Persian Gulf by Gregory Gause
  4. Civil–Military Relations in the Islamic World by Paul E. Lenze

Military History

  1. Arabs at War: Military Effectiveness, 1948–1991 by Kenneth Pollack
  2. Immortal: A Military History of Iran and Its Armed Forces by Steven Ward
  3. Israel’s Wars: A History since 1947 by Ahron Bregman

Terrorism, Insurgencies, & Substate Violence

  1. Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and the Global Jihadist Movement: What Everyone Needs to Know by Daniel Byman
  2. The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright
  3. ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror by Michael Wiess and Hassan Hassan
  4. Revolution Until Victory?: The Politics and History of the PLO by Barry Rubin
  5. A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954–1962 by Alistar Horne
  6. The Syrian Jihad: Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and the Evolution of an Insurgency by Charles Lister
  7. Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel, 1917–1947 by Bruce Hoffman
  8. Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon’s Party of God by Matthew Levitt

​U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East

  1. Obama’s Wars by Bob Woodward
  2. The Persian Puzzle: The Conflict Between Iran and America by Kenneth Pollack
  3. The Endgame: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Iraq, from George W. Bush to Barack Obama by Michael R. Gordon
  4. Surge: My Journey with General David Petraeus and the Remaking of the Iraq War by Peter R. Mansoor
  5. The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth by Mark Mazzetti
  6. The Great War of Our Time: The CIA’s Fight Against Terrorism — From al Qa’ida to ISIS by Michael Morrell

Southeast Asia, East Asia, & the Pacific

General History

  1. Cold Peace: China-India Rivalry in the Twenty-First Century by Jeff M. Smith
  2. On China by Henry Kissinger
  3. The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics by Andrew Small
  4. Asia’s Cauldron by Robert Kaplan
  5. Asian Rivalries: Conflict, Escalation, and Limitations on Two-level Gamesby Sumit Ganguly
  6. The Borderlands of Southeast Asia by James Clad, et al.

​Regional Security Issues

  1. Security and Southeast Asia: Domestic, Regional, and Global Issues by Alan Collins
  2. The South China Sea: The Struggle for Power in Asia by Bill Hayton
  3. Brothers at War: The Unending Conflict in Korea by Sheila Miyoshi Jager
  4. The Great Wall at Sea: China’s Navy in the Twenty-First Century by Bernard D. Cole

​Rise of China

  1. In the Jaws of the Dragon: America’s Fate in the Coming Era of Chinese Dominance by Eamonn Fingleton
  2. China Goes Global: The Partial Power by David Shambaugh
  3. The Great Wall and the Empty Fortress: China’s Search for Security by Andrew Nathan and Robert S. Ross

South Asia & Central Asia

General History

  1. Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History by Thomas Barfield
  2. In the Tracks of Tamerlane: Central Asia’s Path to the 21st Century by Dan Burghart and Theresa Sabonis-Helf
  3. The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan by Yasmin Khan
  4. The Idea of Pakistan by Stephen P. Cohen
  5. Shooting for a Century: The India-Pakistan Conundrum by Stephen P. Cohen
  6. India, Pakistan, and the Bomb: Debating Nuclear Stability in South Asia by Sumit Ganguly and S. Paul Kapur
  7. Deep Currents and Rising Tides: The Indian Ocean and International Security by John Garofano and Andrea J. Dew

​Military History

  1. Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 by Steve Coll
  2. Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War by Christine Fair
  3. Dangerous Deterrent: Nuclear Weapons Proliferation and Conflict in South Asia by S. Paul Kapur
  4. Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military by Husain Haqqani

​Terrorism, Insurgencies, & Substate Violence

  1. Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia by Ahmed Rashid

Latin America & the Caribbean

​Political Structures and Systems

  1. Politics in Mexico: Democratic Consolidation or Decline? by Roderic Ai Camp
  2. Politics of Latin America: The Power Game by Harry Vanden and Gary Prevost
  3. Talons of the Eagle: Latin America, the United States, and the World by Peter Smith

​General History

  1. Latin America and the Rising South: Changing World, Changing Prioritiesby Augusto de la Torre, et. al.
  2. Empire’s Crossroads: A History of the Caribbean from Columbus to the Present Day by Carrie Gibson
  3. Dragon in the Tropics: Hugo Chavez and the Political Economy of Revolution in Venezuela by Javier Corrales and Michael Penfold
  4. Redeemers: Ideas and Power in Latin America by Enrique Krauze
  5. Latin American Foreign Policies: Between Ideology and Pragmatism by Peter Lambert and Gian Gardini

​Terrorism, Insurgencies, & Substate Violence

  1. El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency by Ioan Grillo

Western & Central Europe

  1. An Introduction to European Foreign Policy by Fraser Cameron
  2. European Security and Defence Policy: The First Ten Years (1999–2009)by Giovanni Grevi, Damien Helly and Daniel Keohane
  3. Security in the New Europe by Andrew Cottey
  4. EU Security Policy: What It Is, How It Works, Why It Matters by Michael Merlingen
  5. Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 by Tony Judt
  6. The Institutionalization of Europe by Alec Stone Sweet, et al.
  7. What Is Wrong With the EU and How to Fix It by Simon Hix

Eastern Europe & the Caucasus

General History

  1. The Ghost of Freedom: A History of the Caucasus by Charles King
  2. The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine by Serhii Plokhy
  3. Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944–1956 by Anne Applebaum
  4. Dagestan: Russian Hegemony and Islamic Resistance in the North Caucasus by Robert Bruce Ware and Enver Kisriev
  5. Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War by Thomas de Waal
  6. The Balkans: Nationalism, War and the Great Powers 1804–1999 by Misha Glenny

​Military History

  1. Russia’s Wars in Chechnya 1994–2009 by Mark Galeotti
  2. The Insurgency in Chechnya and the North Caucasus: From Gazavat to Jihad by Robert W. Schaefer
  3. Fangs of the Lone Wolf: Chechen Tactics in the Russian-Chechen War 1994–2009 by Dodge Billingsley

​Russian Foreign Policy in the Region

  1. Post-Imperium: A Eurasian Story by Dmitri V. Trenin
  2. Russian Foreign Policy: Interests, Vectors, and Sectors by Nikolas K. Gvosdev and Christopher Marsh
  3. Russian Foreign Policy: The Return of Great Power Politics by Jeffery Mankoff
  4. Russia’s Foreign Policy: Change and Continuity in National Identity by Andrei P. Tsygankov
  5. Russia, the West, and Military Intervention by Roy Allison

Sub-Saharan Africa

​General History

  1. The Fate of Africa: A History of the Continent Since Independence by Martin Meredith
  2. Season of Rains: Africa in the World by Stephen Ellis
  3. Africa: Unity, Sovereignty, and Sorrow by Pierre Englebert

​Interstate Violence and Civil Wars

  1. Africa’s World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe by Gerard Prunier
  2. The Real Politics of the Horn of Africa: Money, War and the Business of Power by Alex de Waal
  3. Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa by Jason Stearns
  4. War and Conflict in Africa by Paul D. Williams
  5. The Mask of Anarchy Updated Edition: The Destruction of Liberia and the Religious Dimension of an African Civil War by Stephen Ellis
  6. The World’s Most Dangerous Place: Inside the Outlaw State of Somalia by James Fergusson
  7. Boko Haram: Inside Nigeria’s Unholy War by Mike J. Smith

​Chinese Foreign Policy in Sub-Saharan Africa

  1. China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants Are Building a New Empire in Africa by Howard W. French
  2. China into Africa: Trade, Aid, and Influence by Robert I. Rotberg
  3. Untapped: The Scramble for Africa’s Oil by John Ghazvinian


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