Topic: Book Reviews

Why understanding the history of Donor Governments changes the way we think about aid

Back in the day, when I was doing advocacy on trade and globalization, I was struck by the extent to which the underlying assumptions of International NGOs resembled those of their governments – the liberal Anglo-Saxons targeted European subsidies, or northern tariffs, both of which they argued damaged southern producers. The French and Germans often […]

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Want a secret sauce to increase the readership for your next book by a factor of at least 10? Here it is.

Finding myself having a repeat conversation with a number of different colleagues is usually a sign that a blogpost is warranted. In recent months I have had a series of chats with people either planning or already well into writing a book. The conversation usually goes something like this: Me: have you thought about Open […]

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Book Review: From Anger to Action Inside the Global Movements for Social Justice, Peace, and a Sustainable Planet, by Harriet Lamb and Ben Jackson

I’ve come to recognize a certain format for ‘inspirational books for activists’: big sweeping statement about What Needs to Happen, then what I call ‘thousand points of light’ – breathless accounts of some activist-led efforts to achieve those goals. On to the call to arms, invoking political will. Job Done. I must be getting (even […]

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Book Review: The Plague Cycle: The Unending War Between Humanity and Infectious Disease, by Charles Kenny

Charles Kenny is a wonderfully fluent and accessible writer. He’s also quick, judging by his latest book, The Plague Cycle: The Unending War Between Humanity and Infectious Disease. Here’s how it opens: ‘The two leading killers worldwide at the start of the twenty-first century are heart attacks and strokes. That is evidence of humanity’s greatest […]

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Water Defenders v Big Gold – a real life David and Goliath story with a happy ending

Guest blog by Robin Broad and John Cavanagh, co-authors of The Water Defenders: How Ordinary People Saved a Country from Corporate Greed, which is published next week The debate over development, so vibrant in the 1960s and 1970s, is being reinvigorated around the world with the rise of self-proclaimed “water defenders.”  And, while largely off […]

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Philanthropy: a History. Kevin Watkins reviews a big new book

Guest post from Kevin Watkins Have you ever wondered what links Bono and Bill Gates to Moses, Socrates, Basil the Great, a 4th Century AD bishop in Asia Minor, and the ‘gilded age’ industrialist Andrew Carnegie? Me neither. But Paul Vallely’s magisterial book Philanthropyprovides the answer. Tracing the ties that bind contemporary philanthropists to the […]

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Power Switch: How We can Reverse Extreme Inequality. Book Review

Imagine you’ve written a mini-book (82 pages) setting out your thoughts on a progressive agenda, scheduled to come out in the first days of a Biden Administration. What could possibly go wrong? I can only imagine what my friend and political sparring partner Paul O’Brien was going through in the early hours of 4th November, […]

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Branko Milanovic is discussing his new book with me tomorrow (Friday). Here’s what we’ll be talking about

This repost from last year is a blatant promotional puff for tomorrow’s conversation with Branko Milanovic on his latest book, Capitalism Alone. You can watch it on YouTube here (Friday 13th, 4-6pm GMT). We’ll be on as part of the LSE’s ‘Cutting Edge Issues in Development Thinking and Practice’ lecture series, which has moved to […]

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Book Review: How to Rig an Election, by Nic Cheeseman and Brian Klaas

Thought I’d repost this book review from 2018 today. No particular reason…. A lot of the power of a successful book is in its ‘big idea’ – the overall frame that endures long after the detailed arguments have faded in the memory. On that basis, ‘How to Rig an Election’ looks set to do very […]

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Book Review: ‘Thinking and Working Politically in Development’

‘Thinking and Working Politically in Development’, by John Sidel and Jaime Faustino, is a new book on one of my favourite ‘Thinking and Working Politically’ programmes – Coalitions for Change (CfC) in the Philippines. It’s not the most user-friendly (no exec sum, no index), but at least it’s open access – download here. I’ve written […]

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