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|IRC Book Club|
About the Book Club
Like War: The Weaponization of Social Media
Description: Through the weaponization of social media, the internet is changing war and politics, just as war and politics are changing the internet. Terrorists livestream their attacks, “Twitter wars” produce real‑world casualties, and viral misinformation alters not just the result of battles, but the very fate of nations. The result is that war, tech, and politics have blurred into a new kind of battlespace that plays out on our smartphones.
January 22, 2019
Description: We are a nation of immigrants, with a long and complicated relationship with immigration. As early as 1645, the Massachusetts Bay Colony began to prohibit the entry of “paupers.” Today, however, the notion that immigration is universally beneficial has become ubiquitous. To many modern economists, immigrants are a trove of much-needed workers who can fill predetermined slots along the proverbial assembly line.
But this view of immigration’s impact is overly simplified, explains George J. Borjas, a Cuban-American, Harvard labor economist. Read this book to learn about Borjas’ unique perspective and research into this perplex topic.
October 2, 2018
Description: A thought-provoking exploration of the transformation in America’s place in the world by Pulitzer prize-winning author Ronan Farrow. In an astonishing journey from the corridors of power in Washington, DC, to some of the most remote and dangerous places on earth―Afghanistan, Somalia, and North Korea among them―Farrow illuminates one of the most consequential and poorly understood changes in American history. Drawing on newly unearthed documents, and richly informed by rare interviews with warlords, whistle-blowers, and policymakers―including every living former secretary of state from Henry Kissinger to Hillary Clinton to Rex Tillerson―War on Peace makes a powerful case for an endangered profession. Diplomacy, Farrow argues, has declined but it may just offer America a way out of a world at war.
August 15, 2018
Description: Ten years after its first publication, Michael Reid’s best-selling survey of the state of contemporary Latin America has been wholly updated to reflect the new realities of the “Forgotten Continent.” The former Americas editor for the Economist, Reid suggests that much of Central and South America, though less poor, less unequal, and better educated than before, faces harder economic times now that the commodities boom of the 2000s is over. His revised, in-depth account of the region reveals dynamic societies more concerned about corruption and climate change, the uncertainties of a Donald Trump-led United States, and a political cycle that, in many cases, is turning from left-wing populism to center-right governments. This essential new edition provides important insights into the sweeping changes that have occurred in Latin America in recent years and indicates priorities for the future.
June 21, 2018
Description: "Speak softly and carry a big stick" Theodore Roosevelt famously said in 1901, when the United States was emerging as a great power. It was the right sentiment, perhaps, in an age of imperial rivalry but today many Americans doubt the utility of their global military presence, thinking it outdated, unnecessary or even dangerous. In The Big Stick, Eliot A. Cohen – a scholar and practitioner of international relations – disagrees. He argues that hard power remains essential for American foreign policy. While acknowledging that the US must be careful about why, when, and how it uses force, he insists that its international role is as critical as ever, and armed force is vital to that role.
January 16, 2018
Description: A generation ago, "cyberspace" was just a term from science fiction, used to describe the nascent network of computers linking a few university labs. Today, our entire modern way of life, from communication to commerce to conflict, fundamentally depends on the Internet. And the cybersecurity issues that result challenge literally everyone: politicians wrestling with everything from cybercrime to online freedom; generals protecting the nation from new forms of attack, while planning new cyberwars; business executives defending firms from once unimaginable threats, and looking to make money off of them; lawyers and ethicists building new frameworks for right and wrong. Most of all, cybersecurity issues affect us as individuals. We face new questions in everything from our rights and responsibilities as citizens of both the online and real world to simply how to protect ourselves and our families from a new type of danger. And yet, there is perhaps no issue that has grown so important, so quickly, and that touches so many, that remains so poorly understood.
September 12, 2017
Description: In his widely acclaimed book Time to Start Thinking, Financial Times chief US columnist and commentator Edward Luce charted the course of America's relative decline, proving to be a prescient voice on our current social and political turmoil. In The Retreat of Western Liberalism, Luce makes a larger statement about the weakening of western hegemony and the crisis of liberal democracy―of which Donald Trump and his European counterparts are not the cause, but a terrifying symptom. Luce argues that we are on a menacing trajectory brought about by ignorance of what it took to build the West, arrogance towards society's economic losers, and complacency about our system's durability―attitudes that have been emerging since the fall of the Berlin Wall. We cannot move forward without a clear diagnosis of what has gone wrong. Unless the West can rekindle an economy that produces gains for the majority of its people, its political liberties may be doomed. The West's faith in history teaches us to take democracy for granted. Reality tells us something troublingly different. Combining on-the-ground reporting with intelligent synthesis of the literature and economic analysis, Luce offers a detailed projection of the consequences of the Trump administration, the rise of European populism, and a forward-thinking analysis of what those who believe in enlightenment values must do to defend them from the multiple onslaughts they face in the coming years.
July 26, 2017