Topic: Book Reviews

Book Review: ‘I’ve got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle’ Charles M Payne

I’ve given my kids a lot of improving books over the years, and now they’re exacting revenge. Parental devotion means I read anything they give me, which at least gets me out of the aid and development ghetto. My Christmas present this year from son Calum was Charles Payne’s wonderful book on the US civil […]

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Coalitions and Compliance: The Political Economy of Pharmaceutical Patents in Latin America. Book Review.

Back in the early noughties, I was an NGO trade wonk, prowling the corridors of the WTO and having a fun time at a series of highly theatrical biannual ‘ministerials’ (Seattle 1999 (collapse), Doha 2001 (trade talks launched), Cancún 2003 (another collapse)). Over the course of those campaigns, we grew increasingly vociferous about the need […]

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The Perils of Male Bias: Alice Evans replies to yesterday’s ‘Sausagefest’

Yesterday’s post on Stefan Dercon‘s lecture got a lot of hits, but also some slaps for its perceived male bias. In response, Alice Evans (@_alice_evans, who memorably described Stefan’s list of top development thinkers as a ‘sausagefest’) put together this corrective account of women’s scholarship on development. Across the world, we tend to venerate men as […]

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10 top thinkers on Development, summarized in 700 words by Stefan Dercon

One of the treats of my role at LSE is luring in some great development thinkers to lecture on Friday afternoons, and then sitting in to enjoy the show. Stefan Dercon came in just before the Christmas break and was typically brilliant, witty and waspish. Particularly enjoyable from an outgoing DFID chief economist (as well […]

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A wonderful book by Jean Dreze, India’s Orwell

Notes from my talk at last week’s launch of Jean Drèze’s new book, Sense and Solidarity. Has anyone written Jean Drèze’s biography? If not, why not? A fascinating figure, surrounded by myths and legends (did he really sleep rough in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, the square next to LSE, when he was a lecturer there?). He’s […]

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The Great Leveller: A conversation with Walter Scheidel on Inequality and Apocalypse

When I visited Stanford recently at the invitation of Francis Fukuyama, I also dropped in on Walter Scheidel, an Austrian historian who has taken time off from his main interest (the Romans) to write a powerful, and pretty depressing, book on inequality. Like Fukuyama, Scheidel is a big brain who favours the grand narrative – […]

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Is Recognition the missing piece of politics? A conversation with Francis Fukuyama

Getting Francis Fukuyama to endorse How Change Happens was one of the high points of publication – he’s been a hero of mine ever since I read (and reviewed) his magisterial history of the state (right). Last week I finally got to meet him, when I took up an invitation to speak to students and faculty […]

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Is there a new Washington Consensus? An analysis of five World Development Reports.

Alice Evans earns my undying admiration (and ubergeek status) by casually revealing that she has read the last 5 WDRs on the day of their publication. Here she summarizes what they show about the Bank’s evolving view of the world. A new Washington Consensus is emerging… It recognises complexity, context, learning by doing, politics, and […]

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Two top authors compared: Hossain on Bangladesh and Ang on China

OK, so this week I’ve reviewed the two important new books on the rise of China and Bangladesh. Now for the tricky bit – the comparison. The books are very different in their approach. Where Yuen Yuen Ang focuses on the ‘how’ in China, Naomi Hossain is more interested in the ‘why’ in Bangladesh. Hossain […]

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Book Review: The Aid Lab: Understanding Bangladesh’s Unexpected Success, by Naomi Hossain

Over the summer I read a few absolutely brilliant books – hence the spate of book reviews. This week I will cover two new studies on development’s biggest recent success stories – China, but first Bangladesh. How did Bangladesh go from being a ‘basket case’ (though ‘not necessarily our basket case’ – Henry Kissinger, 1971) […]

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Book Review: The Road to Somewhere, by David Goodhart

There was a moment a few years ago when I was walking through Brixton with my son, Calum. I was tediously droning on about how much I loved the cultural and ethnic kaleidoscope, compared to the plain vanilla places where I grew up. Calum suddenly turned on me – ‘you’re just a tourist; you visit […]

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Book Review: How to Resist: Turn Protest to Power, by Matthew Bolton

Full disclosure: Matt Bolton works for Citizens UK, an organization of which I am a big fan, and who my son works for, but if you’re OK with that level of bias, read on. Citizens UK is a fascinating community organization, with a reputation far beyond its relatively small size (currently about 30 full time […]

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