Book Notes

A History of Sub-Saharan Africa

Teaching and writing African history is a Sisyphean task. Africa, well more than four times the size of the continental United States, consists of 53 nation states, hundreds of millions of people, thousands of languages and dialects, and the longest human history of any region on the planet. And yet the specialist on South Africa is expected to be conversant...    read more 

Afghan Women: Identity and Invasion

Elaheh Rostami-Povey’s Afghan Women: Identity and Invasion sets out to portray the situation of women in Afghanistan as told by Afghan women themselves. Building on the testimonies of Afghan women in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, the United Kingdom and the United States, Rostami-Povey sheds light over many problems women in patriarchal and war-torn countrie...    read more 

Africans: The History of a Continent

One continent continues to astound us with the magnitude of its difficulties. How is it, students often ask, that slaughter on the scale of that which occurred in Rwanda—and continues to occur in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo—is allowed to take place? Why do childhood diseases and levels of malnutrition long forgotten in the developed world ...    read more 

Blood and Belief: The PKK and the Kurdish Fight for Independence

Three letters, PKK, raise the eyebrows of many and strike fear into others depending on one’s familiarity with that part of the world encompassing Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. The story of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is built on elements of communism, nationalism, ethnic struggle and most familiar to Americans—terrorism. What most outsiders know o...    read more 

Barriers to Democracy: The Other Side of Social Capital in Palestine and the Arab World

The troubles in post-war Iraq are often characterized as resulting from the failure to develop the political and civil institutions that promote democracies. The U.S military and their coalition partners have done everything they have been asked to do, but the Iraqis still have not formulated attitudes at an associational level that promote social trust and ...    read more 

History Turned Upside Down: The Roots of Palestinian Fascism and the Myth of Israeli Aggression

Is Israel the victim of a concerted vilification campaign waged against it by genocidal and totalitarian movements? This is the question that David Meir-Levi seeks to address in his provocative and polemical work, History Turned Upside Down: The Roots of Palestinian Fascism and the Myth of Israeli Aggression. Meir-Levi contends that the contemporary Arab-...    read more 

Peasant Revolution in Ethiopia: The Tigray People’s Liberation Front, 1975-1991

As the challenges posed by Africa’s various security problems increase, so to does the need for Westerners to better understand the histories and cultures of Africa’s modern states. This is especially true of those countries on the frontlines of the fight against Islamic terrorism. The paperback reprint of John Young’s Peasant Revolution in Ethiopia (o...    read more 

Finding the Target: The Transformation of American Military Policy

To fully grasp the importance of Frederick Kagan’s Finding the Target: the Transformation of American Military Policy, the reader must understand Kagan’s critique of the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which were hailed triumphantly as successes by proponents of the “transformation” of war, and certainly by Bush Administration officials. Kaga...    read more 

The Other War: Israelis, Palestinians, and the Struggle for Media Supremacy

A significant dimension of modern-day life is the omnipresence of mass media. From seemingly minor incidents of local weather conditions to major international conflagrations, media serves as the primary conduit of information to the masses. Though the growth of non-traditional media outlets have burgeoned in the last decade, with countless web sites and ...    read more 

The Al Qaeda Reader

To defeat an enemy, one must understand how he thinks. Critical at any time, this common admonition is most important when dealing with a shadowy, subversive and global threat motivated by an ideology utterly foreign to those it seeks to destroy. Fortunately, al-Qaeda’s leaders, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, have written clearly on their goals, st...    read more