ISA 2020 Happy Hour Reads: Books About Global Politics

Today is the last day of our ISA 2020 virtual exhibit, but we’re not done yet. We are ending with a book sampled from each of our series in international relations. Explore jihadism in Tunisia, nuclear policy in North Korea, and more in our last post for ISA 2020! 

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Nuclear North Korea: A Debate on Engagement Strategies, Revised and Updated Edition 

From the Contemporary Asia in the World series

We’re starting this list off with the revised and updated edition of Nuclear North Korea: A Debate on Engagement Strategies by Victor D. Cha and David C. Kang, which has been praised as “a penetrating analysis of what is probably the world’s most dangerous trouble spot” by the Asian Review of Books. This classroom staple remains an essential guide to the difficult choices we face in the midst of intercontinental ballistic missile tests and President Donald Trump angrily referring to Kim Jong-un as “Rocket Man.” Read the new foreword and preface for more on why a new edition was necessary. 

Your Sons Are at Your Service: Tunisia’s Missionaries of Jihad

From the Columbia Studies in Terrorism and Irregular Warfare series

Your Sons Are at Your Service: Tunisia’s Missionaries of Jihad, by Aaron Y. Zelin, traces why Tunisia became one of the largest sources of foreign fighters for the Islamic State despite the fact that it had very little history of terrorist violence within its own borders prior to the 2011 revolution. Zelin provides an overview of the rise of jihadism in the introduction to this work.

Religious Statecraft: The Politics of Islam in Iran

From the Columbia Studies in Middle East Politics series

We shift to Middle East politics with Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar’s Religious Statecraft: The Politics of Islam in Iran. Tabaar examines the politics of Islam, rather than political Islam, to achieve a new understanding of Iranian politics and its ideological contradictions. Read more about this concept and why there is no such thing as “political Islam” in the introduction. 

Energy Kingdoms: Oil and Political Survival in the Persian Gulf

From the Center on Global Energy Policy Series

Now let’s delve into the complicated relationship between the oil markets and environment in Jim Krane’s Energy Kingdoms: Oil and Political Survival in the Persian Gulf. The Gulf monarchies reached ostentatious levels of wealth after the discovery of oil, but at the cost of constantly increasing temperatures. In this introduction, Krane reflects on the wasteful use of energy, from elaborate ski slopes open during the summer and to the use of gas-guzzling SUVs, in these Gulf states.

By More Than Providence: Grand Strategy and American Power in the Asia Pacific Since 1783

From A Nancy Bernkopf Tucker and Warren I. Cohen Book on American–East Asian Relations series

Our final book is By More Than Providence: Grand Strategy and American Power in the Asia Pacific Since 1783 by Michael J. Green. It is a comprehensive history of Sino-American relations since the American Revolution. Read about the United States’ strategy toward China throughout the years in this excerpt. 


Enter our ISA 2020 drawing for a chance to win a free book. Although we encourage you to buy from your local bookstores, we are offering a 30 percent conference discount when you order from our website. Use coupon code ISA20 at checkout to save on our ISA books on display.

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