Monday, December 15, 2008

Recommended Reading for Winter Break

We asked the IPE professors if they could recommend one book or article for student reading over the break. Here are some of their suggestions:

Dave Balaam:
James K. Galbraith, The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too. Title say it all. Nice summary of current issues swirling around financial and crisis of the market (the real issue as I see it). Easy to read with many points to debate--or at least consider.

Brad Dillman:
The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire 1781-1997. By Piers Brendon. Illustrated. 786 pages. Alfred A. Knopf. $37.50.Review at

Even if one doesn’t read the whole book, there are fascinating chapters on different parts of the world where the British left their mark. Important history that every IPE student should know!

Cynthia Howson:
I recommend checking out for easy to read explanations of hard to read research. One that I enjoyed is Nathan Nunn's "Historical Origin's of Africa's Underdevelopment" available at

The published paper is: "Historical Legacies: A Model Linking Africa's Past to its Current Underdevelopment," Journal of Development Economics, Vol. 83, No. 1, May 2007, pp. 157-175, available here:

Mike Veseth:
Harold James, The End of Globalization: Lessons from the Great Depression. Princeton University Press, 2001.

Things fall apart, the center cannot hold. I'm thinking a lot these days about parallels between our current problems and those of the 1930s. James is not an easy read, but a rewarding one in terms of insights. If time is short, the introduction and conclusion are worth the candle for sure.

Monica DeHart:

For those who want a novel, I'd recommend Aravind Adiga's book, White Tiger, the winner of the 2008 Man Booker award. It graphically describes the dark underside of India's economic miracle showing how caste, class, and corruption shape life in the countryside, the nation's capitol, and new technology hubs like Bangalore. Problematic at times, it is nonetheless a provocative read that generates lots of interesting questions about the sociopolitical dimensions of development . Read a review at:
(For those who'd like a more complex, nuanced, and far lengthier read on Mumbai, I'd highly recommend Vikram Chandra's Sacred Games.

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