Our Top Book Reviews of 2014


Our Top Book Reviews of 2014


We’ve compiled a list in no particular order of our favorite book reviews from the past year. This is in no way to discount the many other reviews that we’ve published as either original pieces or cross posts from other sources.

Pale Horse, Pale Rider: Death and Horses in Ukraine

By Peter Lee

‘Khrushchev Remembers,’ an autobiographical overview of the USSR supremo’s life, although a ripping good read that also offers a timely insider’s view of the consolidation of Stalinist rule in Ukraine is, rather surprisingly, out of print.

Review: ‘Debtfare States and the Poverty Industry’

By Patrick Hall

Patrick Hall’s review of ‘Debtfare States and the Poverty Industry.’ It is magnificent at encapsulating the issues surrounding the politics of debt and society’s reliance on consumer credit.

Review of Reese Erlich’s ‘Inside Syria: The Backstory of Their Civil War and What the World Can Expect’

By Conn M. Hallinan

Reese Erlich’s informative and insightful book, ‘Inside Syria: The Backstory of Their Civil War and What the World Can Expect,’ brings to mind the Greek myth of a vast maze under the palace at Knossos, with one exception: King Minos’ labyrinth on Crete concealed a single Minotaur, Syria is teeming with the beasts.

‘China 1945′

By Richard Bernstein

Richard Bernstein here tells the incredible story of that year’s sea change, brilliantly analyzing its many components, from ferocious infighting among U.S. diplomats, military leaders, and opinion makers to the complex relations between Mao and his patron, Stalin.

Review of ‘Empire’s Ally: Canada and the War in Afghanistan’ by Klassen and Albo

By Conn M. Hallinan

While the focus of ‘Empire’s Ally: Canada and the War in Afghanistan is Canada,’ the book is really a sort of historical materialist blueprint for analyzing how and why capitalist countries involve themselves in foreign wars.

Review of Mike Koehler’s ‘The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in the New Era’

By John Giraudo

If you care about the rule of law, ‘The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in the New Era’ by Mike Koehler, is one of the most important books you can read—to learn how it is being eroded. Professor Koehler’s book may not make it to the top of any summer reading list, but it is a must read for people who care about law reform.

Review of Carlotta Gall’s ‘The Wrong Enemy’

By Fahim Masoud

Fahim Masoud’s review of Carlotta Gall’s ‘The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014.’ The book very well could have been titled ‘Pakistan: The True Enemy.’

‘The Monuments Men’ Reviews: Book and Film

By Elizabeth Austin

Elizabeth Austin reviews Robert M. Edsel’s ‘The Monuments Men.’ The book has been adapted into a film by George Clooney.

Review of ‘The Secret Sentry: The Untold History of the National Security Agency’

By Tan Teck Boon

Released in 2009, ‘The Secret Sentry’ by Matthew M. Aid, still stands the test of time as the one piece of literature that sheds light on the National Security Agency.

Alternative Commemoration of Mao, Review of ‘Mao’s Great Famine’

By Joseph Blood

Joseph Blood’s review of ‘Mao’s Great Famine’ by China scholar Frank Dikötter, Chair Professor of Humanities at the University of Hong Kong.

A Book for Black History Month: ‘Devil in the Grove’

By John Coggin

John Coggin on next year’s release of Gilbert King’s ‘Devil in the Grove.’ It will join a strong list of films focused on anti-black discrimination.

Hatfields, McCoys, and the Legend of the American Frontier Warrior

By John Coggin

The myth of the American frontier warrior has always been glorified in books, films and the media but several books simply did it better than others.

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