100 books like Democracy Prevention

By Jason Brownlee,

Here are 100 books that Democracy Prevention fans have personally recommended if you like Democracy Prevention. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior Is Almost Always Good Politics

Bann Seng Tan Author Of International Aid and Democracy Promotion: Liberalization at the Margins

From my list on using foreign aid to do good in a realistic way.

Who am I?

Bann Seng Tan is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Ashoka University. His research interests are on the causes and effects of democratization, the politics of foreign aid, the political economy of natural disasters, aid in decentralization, resurgent authoritarianism, and the democratic peace. His policy proclivities revolve around the defence of the liberal world order. Democracy promotion is but one way to push against authoritarianism. 

Bann's book list on using foreign aid to do good in a realistic way

Bann Seng Tan Why did Bann love this book?

Bueno de Mesquita and Smith emphasize the desire of leaders to seek political survival after all else. The authors show how democratic and autocratic leaders respond to the political institutions that they are embedded in, by having systemically distinct policy proclivities. The academic version of the theory is in their book The Logic of Political Survival. The Dictators’ Handbook is the version meant for popular consumption. It is full of examples of leaders making policy choices that benefit their political survival at the expense of their own people who they profess to rule for. I assign the book to illustrate the theory in classes in Comparative Politics. The examples in the book, all of which are non-fiction, are always popular with undergraduate students.

By Bruce Bueno de Mesquita (lead author), Alastair Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dictator's Handbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith's canonical book on political science turned conventional wisdom on its head. They started from a single assertion: leaders do whatever keeps them in power. They don't care about the "national interest"-or even their subjects-unless they must.

Newly updated to reflect the global rise of authoritarianism, this clever and accessible book illustrates how leaders amass and retain power. As Bueno de Mesquita and Smith show, democracy is essentially just a convenient fiction. Governments do not differ in kind, but only in the number of essential supporters or backs that need scratching. The size of…


Book cover of The Taming of Democracy Assistance

Bann Seng Tan Author Of International Aid and Democracy Promotion: Liberalization at the Margins

From my list on using foreign aid to do good in a realistic way.

Who am I?

Bann Seng Tan is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Ashoka University. His research interests are on the causes and effects of democratization, the politics of foreign aid, the political economy of natural disasters, aid in decentralization, resurgent authoritarianism, and the democratic peace. His policy proclivities revolve around the defence of the liberal world order. Democracy promotion is but one way to push against authoritarianism. 

Bann's book list on using foreign aid to do good in a realistic way

Bann Seng Tan Why did Bann love this book?

Democracy aid deals with governance-related political reforms. Using statistics and case studies of the US, Tunisia, and Jordan, Bush understands the failures of democracy aid through the lenses of organizational politics. On the donors’ side, Bush documents how the professionalization of democracy aid forces nongovernmental groups to prioritize projects with quantifiable outputs that bureaucrats want. On the recipients’ side, Bush demonstrates the attempts by authoritarian regimes to control, restrict and co-opt the nongovernmental groups that seek democratic reforms. Buffeted from both directions, such nongovernmental groups respond by avoiding serious projects that challenge the authoritarian regime. Instead, they prioritize symbolic projects that look good to the bureaucrats in the donors but fail to promote genuine democratization. It is organizational politics run amok. 

By Sarah Sunn Bush,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Taming of Democracy Assistance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Few government programs that aid democracy abroad today seek to foster regime change. Technical programs that do not confront dictators are more common than the aid to dissidents and political parties that once dominated the field. What explains this 'taming' of democracy assistance? This book offers the first analysis of that puzzle. In contrast to previous research on democracy aid, it focuses on the survival instincts of the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that design and implement democracy assistance. To survive, Sarah Bush argues that NGOs seek out tamer types of aid, especially as they become more professional. Diverse evidence - including…


Book cover of Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa

Bann Seng Tan Author Of International Aid and Democracy Promotion: Liberalization at the Margins

From my list on using foreign aid to do good in a realistic way.

Who am I?

Bann Seng Tan is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Ashoka University. His research interests are on the causes and effects of democratization, the politics of foreign aid, the political economy of natural disasters, aid in decentralization, resurgent authoritarianism, and the democratic peace. His policy proclivities revolve around the defence of the liberal world order. Democracy promotion is but one way to push against authoritarianism. 

Bann's book list on using foreign aid to do good in a realistic way

Bann Seng Tan Why did Bann love this book?

Development aid is a type of foreign aid that is directed at the economic development of recipient countries. The failures of government-to-government development aid in Africa are Moyo’s focus. She notes that Africa is the only region that is regressing in major socio-economic indicators. She argues such aid distorts African economies, enables corruption, and incubates a culture of aid dependency. African governments can afford not to provide public goods because their revenue is guaranteed by development aid. To remedy such externalities, Moyo wants to end development aid to Africa. Instead of aid, she prefers free trade with the West and foreign investment from China. This book is remarkable for its willingness to challenge the conventions in development aid. Sometimes, we need to call a spade a spade. 

By Dambisa Moyo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dead Aid as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the past fifty years, more than $1 trillion in development-related aid has been transferred from rich countries to Africa. Has this assistance improved the lives of Africans? No. In fact, across the continent, the recipients of this aid are not better off as a result of it, but worse—much worse.

In Dead Aid, Dambisa Moyo describes the state of postwar development policy in Africa today and unflinchingly confronts one of the greatest myths of our time: that billions of dollars in aid sent from wealthy countries to developing African nations has helped to reduce poverty and increase growth. In…


Book cover of Aid Imperium: United States Foreign Policy and Human Rights in Post-Cold War Southeast Asia

Bann Seng Tan Author Of International Aid and Democracy Promotion: Liberalization at the Margins

From my list on using foreign aid to do good in a realistic way.

Who am I?

Bann Seng Tan is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Ashoka University. His research interests are on the causes and effects of democratization, the politics of foreign aid, the political economy of natural disasters, aid in decentralization, resurgent authoritarianism, and the democratic peace. His policy proclivities revolve around the defence of the liberal world order. Democracy promotion is but one way to push against authoritarianism. 

Bann's book list on using foreign aid to do good in a realistic way

Bann Seng Tan Why did Bann love this book?

Regilme studies the negative impact of US foreign aid on Philippines’s and Thailand’s human rights. He argues that the shared policy expectations between the donors and recipient governments and the domestic legitimacy of recipient regime jointly determine the extent of human rights abuse. The recipients with strong domestic legitimacy need only use the foreign aid on legitimate military threats. This was the case for the Philippines and Thailand in the 1990s. When the domestic legitimacy of the recipient regime is weak, that foreign aid is strategically repurposed to include the repression of the political opposition. This explains the human rights abuse in Thaksin and Arroyo administrations. The book helps us understand how authoritarian aid recipients can manipulate foreign aid to seek political survival. 

By Salvador Santino Fulo Regilme,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Aid Imperium as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Does foreign aid promote human rights? As the world's largest aid donor, the United States has provided foreign assistance to more than 200 countries. Deploying global numerical data on US foreign aid and comparative historical analysis of America's post-Cold War foreign policies in Southeast Asia, Aid Imperium provides the most comprehensive explanation that links US strategic assistance to physical integrity rights outcomes in recipient countries, particularly in ways that previous quantitative studies have systematically ignored. The book innovatively highlights the active political agency of Global South states and actors as they negotiate and chart their political trajectories with the United…


Book cover of International Relations in the Ancient Near East, 1600-1100 BC

Alejandro Jiménez Serrano Author Of Descendants of a Lesser God: Regional Power in Old and Middle Kingdom Egypt

From my list on Ancient Egypt from a peripheral perspective.

Who am I?

The Egyptology permits me to make an approach to the human past. Although there were many different cultures from which the current society is heir, the survival of innumerable written documents from ancient Egypt together with the good conservation of the archaeological material, give us the possibility to feel closer to the humans who lived in the Nile Valley thousands of years ago.

Alejandro's book list on Ancient Egypt from a peripheral perspective

Alejandro Jiménez Serrano Why did Alejandro love this book?

I have chosen this work for the Egyptology list because Ancient Egypt must be ideally analyzed into a regional context, which overpasses its borders. In this sense, the present work is a magnificent example of how all the cultures of the Near East were integrated within a network of more or less fluid contacts.

Professor Liverani's work shows the mastery of the great scholar who knows all the sources and analyzes them from a new diplomatic, economic, anthropological, and political perspective.

By Mario Liverani,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked International Relations in the Ancient Near East, 1600-1100 BC as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The ancient civilizations of the Near East - Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, the Hittites and Canaanites - constituted the first formalized international relations system in world history. Holy wars, peace treaties, border regulations, trade relations and the extradition of refugees were problems for contemporary ambassadors and diplomats as they are today. Mario Liverani reconstructs the procedures of international relations in the period c.1600-1100BC using historical semiotics, communication theory and economic and political anthropology.


Book cover of Frontline Syria: From Revolution to Proxy War

Georgette F. Bennett Ph.D. Author Of Thou Shalt Not Stand Idly By: How One Woman Confronted the Greatest Humanitarian Crisis of Our Time

From my list on the shifting dynamics in the Middle East.

Who am I?

Conflict resolution and intergroup relations are my passions. Perhaps because I’m a child of the Holocaust. My parents and I arrived in the U.S. as stateless refugees. The Holocaust primed me to explore why religion inspires so much hate. My career as a criminologist got me interested in the link between religion and violence. My refugee roots led me to an International Rescue Committee report on the Syrian crisis. That report hit me hard and felt very personal because it echoed my own family’s suffering in the Holocaust. I saw an opportunity to build bridges between enemies—Israel and Syria, Jews and Muslims—while also saving lives.  

Georgette's book list on the shifting dynamics in the Middle East

Georgette F. Bennett Ph.D. Why did Georgette love this book?

Frontline Syria serves as an “after-action report” of a highly complex conflict. I’ve known the author, David Phillips, since he was a teenager. He grew up to be a prominent diplomat and human rights activist and we worked together for a time. His book analyzes the U.S. response to the Syrian civil war and the proxy war that it is. Frontline Syria is erudite, deep, thorough, comprehensive, and accurately reflects what I’ve come to know about the Syrian crisis in my own work. The timeline at the front is a useful tool for following the myriad events that follow. Other tools include glossaries of acronyms and personalities. 

By David L. Phillips,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Frontline Syria as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the Syrian regime used sarin and other chemical weapons against dissidents in August 2013, an estimated 1729 people were killed including 400 children. President Barack Obama warned that the use of chemical weapons would constitute a "red line", but he refused to take military action. Trump's approach has been even more disengaged and lacking in clarity.

Frontline Syria highlights America's failure to prevent conflict escalation in Syria. Based on interviews with US officials involved in Syria policy, as well as UN personnel, the book draws conclusions about America's role in world affairs and its potential to prevent deadly conflict.…


Book cover of The British Empire in the Middle East, 1945-1951: Arab Nationalism, the United States and Postwar Imperialism

Jeffrey Herf Author Of Israel's Moment: International Support for and Opposition to Establishing the Jewish State, 1945–1949

From my list on history of establishment of the State of Israel.

Who am I?

I am a historian at the University of Maryland, College Park. In the past forty years, I have published six books and many articles on twentieth-century German history including Reactionary Modernism: Technology Culture and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich; Divided Memory: The Nazi Past in the Two Germanys; Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World; and Undeclared Wars with Israel: East Germany and the West German Far Left, 1967-1989. My personal interest in German history began at home. My father was one of those very fortunate German Jews who found refuge in the United States before Hitler closed the borders and launched the Holocaust. 

Jeffrey's book list on history of establishment of the State of Israel

Jeffrey Herf Why did Jeffrey love this book?

Louis’s excellent, and now classic work, should play a far larger role in discussions of the meanings of imperialism and anti-imperialism than has been the case in recent years. Drawing on a deep grasp of British foreign policy and domestic politics, Louis examines what he calls the “grand strategy of non-intervention and conciliation” that leaned heavily towards the existing Arab regimes. Prime Minister Clement Attlee, and especially Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin, and other leading officials in the British Foreign Office and Colonial Office, believed that a Jewish state in Palestine would antagonize the Arabs and lead to a decline in British influence in the Middle East. Louis draws attention to Richard Crossman and other British critics of the policy of preserving Britain’s imperial role in Palestine. It is one of those indispensable works of scholarship regarding these events.

By Wm. Roger Louis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The British Empire in the Middle East, 1945-1951 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book, which examines British disengagement in the Middle East during the Labour Government of 1945-51, is in a large sense a comment on the British response to Arab, Jewish, and Iranian nationalism.


Book cover of Making Diplomacy Work: Intelligent Innovation for the Modern World

Teresa Fava Thomas Author Of American Arabists in the Cold War Middle East, 1946–75: From Orientalism to Professionalism

From my list on Americans living and working in the Middle East.

Who am I?

Teresa Fava Thomas, Ph.D. is a professor of history at Fitchburg State University and author of American Arabists in the Cold War Middle East, 1946-75: From Orientalism to Professionalism for Anthem Press. I became interested in people who became area experts for the US State Department and how their study of hard languages like Arabic shaped their interactions with people in the region.

Teresa's book list on Americans living and working in the Middle East

Teresa Fava Thomas Why did Teresa love this book?

An experienced diplomat offers a good overview of how the past diplomatic history of the US since 1945 informs the present. Explains the major theoretical perspectives on modern diplomacy and fundamentals of practice. An informative read which presents a broad on how American diplomacy can be better shaped to function more effectively in the future.

By Paul Webster Hare,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Making Diplomacy Work as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Making Diplomacy Work: Intelligent Innovation for the Modern World is a critical and comprehensive survey of how diplomacy works. While most discussions of diplomatic reform stop short of proposing concrete ideas to make diplomacy work better, this text suggests doable initiatives that could make diplomacy more versatile, more attuned to modern realities, and more capable of confronting the shared problems that no state can solve on its own. It takes a fresh look at the practice of diplomacy, sets its achievements and failures in a contemporary context, and analyzes the major factors that have changed the way it is conducted.…


Book cover of The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs

Peter S. Henne Author Of Religious Appeals in Power Politics

From my list on religion’s messy impact on international relations.

Who am I?

As a religious person, I’ve always believed religion is a force for good while being constantly reminded of the horrors it causes. This became a real-world concern with the 9/11 attacks (which happened my second week in college) and the faith-tinged US response. I spent ten years in Washington, DC working at the intersection of faith and counterterrorism, hopeful religion could solve our problems but worried it will only make things worse. I’ve continued that work as a Professor at the University of Vermont. This book reflects that tension and my desire to resolve it. 

Peter's book list on religion’s messy impact on international relations

Peter S. Henne Why did Peter love this book?

A mix of memoir and international relations analysis, this book is a must-read for anyone interested in religion and international relations.

Albright—Secretary of State in the Clinton Administration—discusses the secular biases that permeated US foreign policy and how they left us unprepared for the seeming resurgence of religion after the end of the Cold War. Her reflections range widely, from African politics to al-Qaeda.

She’s a bit more optimistic about the world than I am, but this is an essential starting point for any exploration of how states incorporate religion into their foreign policy. As I discuss in my book’s introduction, her work was one of the inspirations for my study.

By Madeleine Albright,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mighty and the Almighty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Does America, as George W. Bush has proclaimed, have a special mission, derived from God, to bring liberty and democracy to the world? How much influence does the Christian right have over US foreign policy? And how should America and the West deal with violent Islamist extremists? Traditionally, politicians have sought to downplay the impact of religious beliefs in international affairs. In this illuminating first-hand account, Madeleine Albright examines religion and foreign affairs through the lens of American history as well as her own personal experiences in public office, with a preface and opening chapters specially written for the UK…


Book cover of A Colder War

Tom Greer Author Of An Expendable Spy

From my list on British spies.

Who am I?

I write spy and crime fiction. I was born, raised, and educated in Glasgow, Scotland and read Theoretical Physics at Strathclyde University in the same city. I currently live in Bristol in the South West of England. I’ve loved British spy fiction ever since childhood and have taken a great interest in the now historic real-life Cold War, especially from a British point of view, as well as devouring spy fiction An Expendable Spy, published in 2013 was my debut novel. There will be a sequel sometime fairly soon, called 1989, which will take place ten years later in Berlin in the run-up to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Tom's book list on British spies

Tom Greer Why did Tom love this book?

Charles Cumming is often cited as a worthy successor to John le Carré, and anyone who enjoys the work of the Doyen of British spy fiction should enjoy this particular example of his work; my favourite book from Cumming.

Thomas Kell (like my agent Jack Tate in my novel) is a disgraced MI6 agent who longs to come back in from the cold from where he’s been banished. When MI6’s top spy in Turkey is killed in what looks like a car accident Kell grabs his chance for professional redemption when his masters at MI6 feel he might be the only agent who can be safely be trusted to investigate what actually happened…and why.

Many spy fiction writers have been cited as successors to John le Carré but Charles Cumming is about the only one I’d agree this might be true about. The quality of the writing is first class,…

By Charles Cumming,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Colder War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the Top 10 Sunday Times bestselling author and winner of the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for Best Thriller of the Year. Perfect for fans of John le Carre, Charles Cumming is 'the master of the modern spy thriller' (Mail on Sunday)

Thomas Kell is a disgraced agent who longs to come in from the cold. When MI6's top spy in Turkey is killed in a mysterious plane crash, his chance arrives... for Kell is the only man Service Chief Amelia Levene can trust to investigate the accident.

In Istanbul, Kell soon discovers that there is a traitor inside…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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