Book reviews

Book review | Legislation at Westminster: Parliamentary Actors and Influence in the Making of British Law

Book review | Legislation at Westminster: Parliamentary Actors and Influence in the Making of British Law

In Legislation at Westminster: Parliamentary Actors and Influence in the Making of British Law, Meg Russell and Daniel Gover offer a comprehensive and empirically rigorous assessment of the role that parliament plays in the UK policy-making process. This is a meticulously researched book, writes Ed Page, that is a must-read for both students and scholars wanting to better understand how laws […]

Book review | The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style and Representation

Book review | The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style and Representation

In The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style and Representation, Benjamin Moffitt approaches populism as a political style that is mediated through symbols, disseminated through the mass media and performed through verbal and non-verbal modes of communication. While suggesting Moffitt’s work is more an extension of the discourse school than a radical break from it, Ben Margulies welcomes this […]

Book review | Diploma Democracy: The Rise of Political Meritocracy

Book review | Diploma Democracy: The Rise of Political Meritocracy

In Diploma Democracy: The Rise of Political Meritocracy, Mark Bovens and Anchrit Wille examine how Western democracies are shaped by educational inequalities that lead to gaps in political participation and governments being dominated by academic elites. While some of the authors’ solutions for these ‘diploma democracies’ are less convincing, this is a very useful account of the influence of education on […]

Book review | The Greens in British Politics: Protest, Anti-Austerity and the Divided Left

Book review | The Greens in British Politics: Protest, Anti-Austerity and the Divided Left

In The Greens in British Politics: Protest, Anti-Austerity and the Divided Left, James Dennison draws on statistical data as well as interviews with UK Greens to offer an account of the recent evolution of the Green Party of England and Wales and the Scottish Green Party. While the book suffers from some repetition of content and its findings are […]

Book review | Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States

Book review | Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States

In Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States, James C Scott contributes to his longstanding intellectual project of re-evaluating the role of the state in political thought by looking at the development of the early agrarian states to challenge narratives of progress founded on state formation. While acknowledging that a number of objections can be […]

Book review | The Violence of Austerity

Book review | The Violence of Austerity

In The Violence of Austerity, editors Vickie Cooper and David Whyte bring together contributors to explore the negative impact of austerity upon citizens in the UK, covering such topics as health, education, homelessness, disability and the environment. This is a powerful description of the consequences of austerity policies for the UK’s most vulnerable people, writes Paul Caruana-Galizia, and should be read widely.  Similar […]

Book  review | The Ordinary Virtues: Moral Order in a Divided World, by Michael Ignatieff

Book review | The Ordinary Virtues: Moral Order in a Divided World, by Michael Ignatieff

In The Ordinary Virtues: Moral Order in a Divided World, Michael Ignatieff aims to take ethics out of the seminar room by examining the role of ‘ordinary virtues’ such as trust, forgiveness and reconciliation in local contexts and settings. While the book travels the globe to underscore both the fragility and strength of community-based networks of solidarity as part of Ignatieff’s […]

Book review | Asylum after Empire: Colonial Legacies in the Politics of Asylum Seeking, by Lucy Mayblin

Book review | Asylum after Empire: Colonial Legacies in the Politics of Asylum Seeking, by Lucy Mayblin

In Asylum After Empire: Colonial Legacies in the Politics of Asylum Seeking, Lucy Mayblin considers the contemporary hostility of the British state towards asylum seekers in the context of colonial histories. While raising some questions about the limitations imposed by the book’s analytic framework, this is nonetheless a compelling study that will be an invaluable addition to activist-scholarship […]

Book review | Guilty Men – the Brexit Edition, by Tim Oliver

Book review | Guilty Men – the Brexit Edition, by Tim Oliver

Brexit is as big and dangerous a mistake as that of appeasement in the 1930s. So argues Cato the Younger in his book Guilty Men: Brexit Edition, reviewed here by Tim Oliver. Taking up the pen of his great grandfather, whose 1940 book of the same name destroyed the reputations of those responsible for appeasement, Cato the Younger is no […]

Book review | Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics

Book review | Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics

In Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics, Nicole Hemmer argues that broadcasters like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are but the second generation of conservative media activists. Americans, says Hemmer, are used to thinking of such figures as being integral to contemporary conservatism; her book tells the story of the […]

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