Review of books

Review of books

We Need the Second European Rescue of the Nation-State

This is a rejoinder that ends the RevDem book symposium. You can read three book reviews by Peter J. Verovšek, Gábor Halmai and Petr Agha.


Review of books

The Swarm That Didn’t Sting the Bourgeoisie–Arthur Borriello and Anton Jäger Interpret the Populist Left

In The Populist Moment, Arthur Borriello and Anton Jäger analyze a political cycle, “the long 2010s,” when left populists – perhaps most notably Syriza in Greece, Podemos in Spain, Jean-Luc Mélenchon and his various formations in France, Corbynism in the UK, and Sanders’ movement in the US – made notable attempts to rethink and revive the left by adopting a populist identity. The core agendas of this concise, dense, and engaging book are to investigate the specific origins and broader causes of this “populist moment”; to describe and explain the ebb and flow of its major representatives; to assess the major strengths and weaknesses of left populists in more general terms; and to conjecture about where such attempts to revive the left might be headed next. Borriello and Jäger manage to deliver on this ambitious agenda by offering numerous insights and developing a coherent overall interpretation – even though this comes at the price of somewhat narrow empirical foci and concerns.


Review of books

The Authentic Polish Experience

Kasia Krzyżanowska, RevDem book editor, reviews the novella “The Pole” by J.M. Coetzee.


Review of books

Take Back Control — Over Brexit Narrative

The book Taking Control: Sovereignty and Democracy After Brexit by Philip Cunliffe, George Hoare, Lee Jones, and Peter Ramsay seeks to put Brexit into the perspective of the ongoing crisis of political representation in Britain and offers the reforms to overcome it.


Review of books

Reimagining Europe: Confronting the Challenges of Integration and Disunion

Petr Agha reviews Stefan Auer’s European Disunion. Democracy, Sovereignty and the Politics of Emergency. This is the third piece in a book symposium. The first piece by Peter J. Verovšek you can read here, the second one by Gábor Halmai here. A rejoinder by Stefan Auer will be published in the course of the coming weeks. Petr Agha’s research and teaching focuses on some foundational issues and challenges in contemporary law and politics. Petr holds a PhD in Law and Criminology from the University of Antwerp. He also obtained degrees in law, philosophy and political sciences from the Queens University Belfast, Glasgow University and Masaryk University Brno. He is the editor of Human Rights between Law and Politics (Hart Publishing), Law, Politics and the Gender Binary (Routledge) and Velvet Capitalism (Routledge).  Introduction The existing theories of European integration often fall short in providing a comprehensive explanation for the fragmentation of the European project. [...]


Review of books

Maximilian Hess on the Economic War between Russia and the West

How Has Russia’s Attempt to Destroy the International Economic Order Backfired? In this conversation with RevDem editor Ferenc Laczó, Maximilian Hess – author of the new book Economic War: Ukraine and the Global Conflict between Russia and the West – shows how an economic war between Russia and the West has broken out in the 2010s; discusses why Russia’s large-scale invasion and brutal attempt to wreck Ukraine in 2022 has caused such disruption on the global scale; reflects on key features of the relationship between Russia and China today; and considers the future place of Russia in the international economic order. Maximilian Hess is the founder of the political risk consultancy Enmetena Advisory, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, and associate fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies and at the Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs. His research focuses on the relationship between trade, debt, international relations, and foreign policy as [...]


Review of books

A Book Many Wanted to Write

Kasia Szymanska, PhD, an assistant professor at the Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies at the University of Manchester, reviews Rebecca F. Kuang’s "Babel, Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators' Revolution" (2022).


Review of books

Conscious European, Critic of Hubris: Timothy Garton Ash’s Personal History of Contemporary Europe

Ferenc Laczó reviews "Homelands", Timothy Garton Ash’s personal account and interpretation of contemporary Europe, a history book illustrated by memoir. A “post-68er” who is equally accomplished as a historian and as a journalist, and a highly reputed member of the British and European liberal establishments, Garton Ash proceeds chronologically on the book’s pages to cover “the overlapping timeframes of post-war and post-Wall.”


Review of books

Review: “Gender and Illiberalism in Post-Communist Europe”, Matthijs Bogaards and Andrea Pető (eds.), Politics and Governance, Cogitatio 2022

Ivan Tranfi reviews the recent special issue on gender and illiberalism edited by Matthijs Bogaards and Andrea Pető, experts in de-democratization and gender studies from Central European University.


Review of books

Digital Fragmentation. Habermas on the New Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere

Markus Patberg reviews Jürgen Habermas’s new book Ein neuer Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit und die deliberative Politik [A New Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere and Deliberative Politics].


Review of books

Dictionary of Received Ideas (About Fascism)

Engaging with the difficult task of deconstructing firmly rooted myths, Corner’s main goal is to answer two questions: (1) How far does the affirmation of “many good things” done by Fascism corresponds to the historical reality?; and (2) Why do so many people today share a “permissive memory” of Fascism?


Review of books

In Conversation with Bruce Robbins — Criticism and Politics

In this conversation with RevDem editor Kasia Krzyżanowska, Bruce Robbins discusses his newest book Criticism and Politics. A Polemical Introduction.


Review of books

New Year Special

In a special edition of the RevDem podcast, our editors Laszlo Bruszt, Oliver Garner, Kasia Krzyżanowska, Ferenc Laczo, Michał Matlak, and Renata Uitz discuss their favorite RevDem content, best books and articles they have read, most important political events of 2022 and more. At the end of the episode, they are joined by the authors of the most popular piece of 2022 published by RevDem: an op-ed by Elżbieta Krzyżanowska and Pavel Skigin “The discourse of privilege: Western Europe and the Russian War against Ukraine.”


Review of books

Best Political Economy Books of 2022

Gabor Scheiring, a head of the Political Economy and Inequalities section at the Review of Democracy, presents five key books in political economy of 2022.


Review of books

5 Key 2022 Books: Rule of Law

Dr Oliver Garner, RevDem editor of the Rule of Law section at the Review of Democracy, presents five key books on the rule of law in 2022.


Review of books

5 Key 2022 Books: Democracy in Literature

Kasia Krzyżanowska, RevDem editor of the Review of Books section at the Review of Democracy, presents five key books in democracy in literature in 2022.


Review of books

5 Key 2022 Books: Ideas

Ferenc Laczó, editor of the History of Ideas section at the Review of Democracy, presents five key Ideas books in 2022.


Review of books

The EU Prize for Literature — In Conversation with Anne Bergman-Tahon

What is the EUPL? What is the story behind and what are its aims? Is there a European-wide readership? How to promote European literature? These and more questions are answered by Anne Bergman-Tahon in this conversation with editor Kasia Krzyżanowska.


Review of books

The Stories We Tell Ourselves — In Conversation with Peter Brooks

In this conversation with RevDem editor Kasia Krzyżanowska, Peter Brooks — author of the new book Seduced by Story. The Use and Abuse of Narrative — discusses the "storyfication" of reality; explains why we need stories; ponders the impact fiction has on our lives; and depicts the dangers oversimplified narratives pose to our democratic societies.


Review of books

Magic Mountain on Goodreads — On Experiencing Mann’s novel

In this conversation with RevDem editor Kasia Krzyżanowska, Karolina Watroba discusses her first book “Mann’s Magic Mountain: World Literature and Closer Reading,” published with Oxford University Press.


Review of books

A Crafted Gem: Giuseppe Martinico reviews ‘Anti-Constitutional Populism’

A review by Giuseppe Martinico of a book Anti-Constitutional Populism edited by M, Krygier, A. Czarnota, W. Sadurski (Cambridge University Press 2022)


Review of books

Joseph Weiler: The Books That Formed My Intellectual Outlook

Joseph Weiler describes for us the most important books that shaped his thinking about the world, law and scholarly work.


Review of books

“War is for the Weak”: Stella Ghervas on the European Divorce between Peace and Empire

RevDem Editor Ferenc Laczó reviews Stella Ghervas’ major new monograph Conquering "Peace. From the Enlightenment to the European Union," a stylishly written, often stimulating, if slightly unusual scholarly monograph. Inspired, among others, by Robert de Traz’s 1936 book De l'alliance des rois à la ligue des peuples, Sainte-Alliance et SDN (From the Alliance of Kings to the League of Nations: The Holy Alliance and the League of Nations), Ghervas has penned what she calls “a theatrical dialogue in five acts that portrays Europe’s resistance to empires while trying to keep free of armed conflicts” (p.3).


Review of books

Beyond the “mafia-state”: a comprehensive and innovative approach to post-communist regimes

Gábor Illés, Research Fellow at the Department for Democracy and Political Theory of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences Centre of Excellence, reviews "The Anatomy of Post-Communist Regimes: A conceptual framework" (CEU Press, 2021) by Bálint Magyar and Bálint Madlovics.


Review of books

Adventitious Patron of Freedom

"Tóibín's book shows the absurdity of the widespread expectation that it is the writer who is supposed to be the nation's sage, who will point out the right political direction for the state, and who will find the right words to comment on important social events," writes in her review our editor, Kasia Krzyżanowska.


Review of books

Imperialism in Russian Literature

In this conversation with our editor Kasia Krzyżanowska, professor Ewa Thompson discusses the imperialistic features of the Russian Federations; elaborates on how Russian writers advanced the imperial message of Russia, and shows  the persistence of the imperialistic motifs in the Russian literature. 


Review of books

Reflections of a European Man

In conversation with RevDem editor Kasia Krzyżanowska, Stefan Auer discusses his new book European Disunion. Democracy, Sovereignty, and the Politics of Emergency (Hurst&Company 2022). In a conversation, he points out to the EU hubris, discusses crises that hit the EU recently, puts into a broader context Russian invasion of Ukraine, and shares his scepticism on the future of Europe.


Review of books

Chamstwo. A Story of the Polish Serfdom: in conversation with Kacper Pobłocki

In a conversation with our editor Kasia Krzyżanowska, Kacper Pobłocki discusses his recent book Chamstwo and reflects on how Polish society was historically based on violence; elaborates on the historical sources of the name “Cham”; compares Polish predicament with other European states and discusses current state of the academia.


Review of books

Book review: Giuseppe Martinico, Filtering Populist Claims to Fight Populism: The Italian Case in Comparative Perspective (CUP 2021)

Julian Scholtes, a lecturer in EU and Public Law at Newcastle University, reviews "Filtering Populist Claims to Fight Populism: The Italian Case in Comparative Perspective" by Giuseppe Martinico, "a wonderfully written in-depth analysis of the constitutional dimensions of populism in Italy."


Review of books

In conversation with Robert Zaretsky: Irresistible Simone Weil 

Simone Weil’s figure poses a challenge to each reader of hers. In this conversation, our editor Kasia Krzyżanowska speaks to prof. Robert Zarestky (professor at the University of Houston), about the heroine of his recently published biography: Simone Weil.


Review of books

Signe Larsen: The Federal Telos of the European Union

In this conversation with our editor, Kasia Krzyżanowska, Dr. Signe Larsen talks about the (largely unacknowledged) nature of the EU as a federation, varieties of constitutionalism within EU Member States, and the impact of colonial legacies on the EU.


Review of books

5 Books on Putinism

Our editors Kasia Krzyzanowska and Michal Matlak have selected 5 books that encourage a better understanding of the aggressor: Vladimir Putin and the system he has created.


Review of books

A Stigma of a Latecomer. In Conversation With Dr. Molly Krasnodębska

newest book “Politics of Stigmatization. Poland as a Latecomer in the European Union” (Palgrave Macmillan 2021). The interview touches on the political equality of Member States within the EU, the stigma of a latecomer applied to Poland (and other Eastern European countries), and the discursive hierarchy inside the EU.


Review of books

5 Books on Ukraine

nce the Russian invasion started on 24th February, two thousands of civilians have already died because of Russian missiles shot indiscriminately at Ukrainian cities and towns. However, the armed conflict begun much earlier, when Russia annexed Crimea and started its occupation of the Eastern part of Ukraine in 2014. Our editor Kasia Krzyżanowska has selected 5 books to encourage a better understanding of the Ukrainian state and Ukrainian modern history and culture. This list is by no means comprehensive and serves as an invitation to explore Ukraine’s recent history further


Review of books

The Rise of the EU Marked the End of the Universal Welfare State. Varela on People’s Histories

In this interview, Agnė Rimkutė discusses with Raquel Varela the importance of seeing the working classes as actors in the historical process and the implications of people’s history for our understanding of democracy.


Review of books

The Problems of Genocide: Dirk Moses on the Language of Transgression and the Genocide Convention in Context

Dirk Moses in conversation with Ferenc Laczo on his last book "The Problems of Genocide. Permanent Security and the Language of Transgression".


Review of books

Annie Ernaux and History

“More often than not, we get the sense that events are unfolding in the background, often detached from individuals, and that yet they will somehow influence individual lives” says Dr Elise Hugueny-Léger, Senior Lecturer in French at the University of St Andrews, in this interview with Kasia Krzyżanowska.


Review of books

From Socialist to Capitalist Walls

Gábor Scheiring reviews „Taking stock of shock. Social consequences of the 1989 revolutions” by Kristen Ghodsee and Mitchell Orenstein


Review of books

Democracy Rules. A Book Discussion with Jan-Werner Müller and His Critics

Gráinne de Búrca, Jan Kubik, Jeffrey Isaac, and Karolina Wigura comment on the new book by Jan Werner Müller. Afterwards the author responds to the commentators.


Review of books

Deadlock of Western liberalism. Petr Agha Reviews a Book by Krastev and Holmes

The Light that Failed: A Reckoning fails to deliver a fresh interpretation which would venture beyond the traditional liberal mantra. It is a representation of the contemporary deadlock of Western liberalism.


Review of books

Epigone scholarship

Our editor, Katarzyna Krzyżanowska, reviews a book by Aviezer Tucker “Democracy Against Liberalism” published by Polity Press, 2020


Review of books

Talisse: To Be a Democratic Citizen

Katarzyna Krzyżanowska talks with Robert Talisse, W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at the Vanderbilt University in Nashville, on epistemology of democracy.


Review of books

A Not Wasted Life. Conversation with Zygmunt Bauman’s biographer Artur Domosławski

Artur Domoslawski, the author of a monumental Zygmunt Bauman’s biography in conversation with our managing editor, Michał Matlak


Review of books

Is Neoliberalism Finally Dead?

Few concepts have been declared dead and buried more often than neoliberalism. However, it continues to survive. Neoliberal Resilience, Aldo Madariaga’s award-winning book, shows how. Review by Gabor Scheiring.


Review of books

An American in a Strangely Familiar World. Ben Rhodes explores the world the U.S. has made

Ferenc Laczo reviews "After the Fall. Being American in the World We've Made" by Ben Rhodes.


Review of books

Reading Barnier’s diary: Brexit and the nature of European integration

Our editor Michal Matlak reviews the secret diary of Michel Barnier, former EU chief Brexit negotiator and potential French presidential candidate.


Review of books

Illiberal finance: think globally, act locally

Gabor Scheiring reviews the book by Fabio Mattioli "Dark Finance. Illiquidity and Authoritarianism at the Margins of Europe"


Review of books

Citizens as Masters of the EU Treaties [Interview and Podcast]

Who are really the masters of the EU treaties and where does constituent power in the European Union lie — Markus Patberg, interviewed by Kasia Krzyżanowska, offers his answers to these questions.


Review of books

Stasavage: Democracy requires continuous effort (PODCAST AND LONG READ)

David Stasavage (New York University) in conversation with RevDem editor Ferenc Laczo (Maastricht University) about his recent book “The Decline and Rise of Democracy”, which presents the global history of democracies since ancient times.


Review of books

Sustainable Democracy after 25 years. Conversation with Adam Przeworski

Our editor-in-chief Laszlo Bruszt asks Adam Przeworski about the contemporary relevance of "Sustainable democracy", a seminal book published 25 years ago.


Review of books

A Certain Anachronistic Appeal. On Conversations with Francis Fukuyama

On the 3rd of May, the Georgetown University Press will publish "After the End of History. Conversation with Francis Fukuyama". Our editor Ferenc Laczo from Maastricht University reviews the volume.


Review of books

The Trump Canon of Democratic Struggle

Lozada’s book offers an answer to the problem of how we discursively resisted Trump’s presidency. Review by Katarzyna Krzyżanowska


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