Book reviews

Book Review | An Epistemic Theory of Democracy by Robert E. Goodin and Kai Spiekermann

Book Review | An Epistemic Theory of Democracy by Robert E. Goodin and Kai Spiekermann

In An Epistemic Theory of Democracy, Robert E. Goodin and Kai Spiekermann offer a systematic argument articulating the epistemic value of democracy, aiming to show that democracies have an important advantage over other forms of government due to their truth-tracking potential. This instrumental argument in favour of democratic institutions is an important contribution to debates surrounding the value of democracy at a time of political turbulence and abundant scepticism about the operation of politics, writes Camilo Ardila.

Book Review | The Digital Party: Political Organisation and Online Democracy by Paolo Gerbaudo

Book Review | The Digital Party: Political Organisation and Online Democracy by Paolo Gerbaudo

Voter turnout is decreasing in mature democracies at an alarming rate since the advent of digital communications, a trend that is significantly affecting the legitimacy of political parties. Does this mean that parties are fated to disappear? In The Digital Party: Political Organisation and Online Democracy, Paolo Gerbaudo argues that political parties are far from becoming obsolete. Discussing the emergence and implications of a new type of party in the digital era characterised by its strong dependence on interactive online platforms, this book is necessary reading, writes David Jofré.

Book Review | Are Filter Bubbles Real? by Axel Bruns

Book Review | Are Filter Bubbles Real? by Axel Bruns

As references to echo chambers and filter bubbles become ubiquitous in contemporary discourse, Axel Bruns offers a riposte in Are Filter Bubbles Real?, which questions the existence of these phenomena. While not convinced by all of the author’s arguments, Ignas Kalpokas welcomes the book as a must-read for those looking to critically reflect on some of the assumptions surrounding social media today.

Book Review | Refuge Beyond Reach: How Rich Democracies Repel Asylum Seekers by David Scott FitzGerald

Book Review | Refuge Beyond Reach: How Rich Democracies Repel Asylum Seekers by David Scott FitzGerald

In Refuge Beyond Reach: How Rich Democracies Repel Asylum Seekers, David Scott FitzGerald argues that the rich democracies of the Global North have developed ways to evade the spirit of international humanitarian laws when it comes to migration, whilst simultaneously de jure adhering to them. With a rich empirical basis and a clear, accessible style, this compelling and topical book will appeal to a wide range of audiences, writes Denny Pencheva.

Book Review | Cameron: The Politics of Modernisation and Manipulation by Timothy Heppell

Book Review | Cameron: The Politics of Modernisation and Manipulation by Timothy Heppell

In Cameron: The Politics of Modernisation and Manipulation, Timothy Heppell offers a new analysis of David Cameron’s leadership of the Conservative party (2005–16) and of the UK, organised around the key themes of modernisation and manipulation. In his admirably objective study, drawing on compendious reading of relevant sources, Heppell demonstrates that while Cameron’s attempts to ‘de-toxify’ his party are important to his legacy, it is equally profitable to regard him as a manipulator of the broader political landscape, writes Mark Garnett.

Book Review | In the Shadow of Justice: Postwar Liberalism and the Remaking of Political Philosophy by Katrina Forrester

Book Review | In the Shadow of Justice: Postwar Liberalism and the Remaking of Political Philosophy by Katrina Forrester

In In the Shadow of Justice: Postwar Liberalism and the Remaking of Political Philosophy, Katrina Forrester explores how John Rawls’s justice theory became the dominant way of thinking about institutions and individuals in the second half of the twentieth century. This important work sheds light on the conceptual roots of modern political thought while at the same time disclosing its limits, writes Rahel Süß.

Book Review | Capitalism, Alone: The Future of the System That Rules the World by Branko Milanovic

Book Review | Capitalism, Alone: The Future of the System That Rules the World by Branko Milanovic

If capitalism has triumphed to become the sole socio-economic system globally, what are the prospects for achieving a fairer world? In his new book Capitalism, Alone: The Future of the System That Rules the World, Branko Milanovic examines the historical shifts that have led to capitalism’s dominance and looks at the varieties of capitalism at work today to propose choices to ensure that capitalism delivers a more equitable future. Roberto Iacono praises this remarkable book as possibly the author’s most comprehensive opus so far.

Book Review | The Education of an Idealist by Samantha Power

Book Review | The Education of an Idealist by Samantha Power

In The Education of an Idealist, Samantha Power offers a political memoir that traces her life story from her beginnings as an Irish immigrant to the US through to her work as a war correspondent in the Balkans and her ascent to the White House, where she served as President Barack Obama’s human rights adviser and became the youngest ever US Ambassador to the United Nations. This gripping, candid and witty book tells the story of Power’s efforts to bring about a different kind of US foreign policy and reveals the tensions that arose between acting on the dictates of governance and responding to human suffering, writes Chris Harmer.

Book Review | Emergency Chronicles: Indira Gandhi and Democracy’s Turning Point by Gyan Prakash

Book Review | Emergency Chronicles: Indira Gandhi and Democracy’s Turning Point by Gyan Prakash

In Emergency Chronicles: Indira Gandhi and Democracy’s Turning Point, Gyan Prakash challenges historiography that presents the Emergency of 1975–77 as an anomalous period in India’s recent history, instead showing how it grew out of existing political traditions, the legacies of which can still be felt in the present. This valuable analysis not only shows how Indian socioeconomic structures have moulded its politics, but also suggests a way to understand the wider challenges facing contemporary politics in many parts of the world, writes Ben Margulies.

Book Review | The Far Right Today by Cas Mudde

Book Review | The Far Right Today by Cas Mudde

In The Far Right Today, Cas Mudde provides readers with a comprehensive overview of contemporary far right politics: a pressing task considering that groups or parties once located on the fringe of mainstream politics have experienced a surge in popularity over recent years across Europe and beyond. The most worrying aspect of this surge, argues the author, is the mainstreaming and normalisation of the far right. This is an excellent, accessible and timely book that effectively challenges conventional thinking on the topic, writes Katherine Williams.