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Shaper Nations: Strategies

for a Changing World

William I. Hitchcock, Melvyn P. Leffler and

Jeffrey W. Legro, Harvard University Press,

2016, $35/hardcover, 216 pages.

This collection of essays focuses on eight

“shaper” nations that have decisive influ-

ence within their own regional spheres

and will likely determine the future course

of global affairs: Brazil, China, Germany, India, Israel, Russia,

Turkey and the United States. The aim is to identify the sources

of national strategy for each nation and evaluate the impact the

pursuit of that strategy is having on contemporary world politics.

The result is a fresh, new perspective on 21st-century security

threats and the kind of strategic thinking needed to effectively

meet today’s challenges.

William I. Hitchcock is a professor of history at the Univer-

sity of Virginia, where Melvyn P. Leffler is the Edward Stettinius

professor of history. Jeffrey W. Legro is Ambassador Henry J.

Taylor and Mrs. Marion R. Taylor Professor of Politics and vice

provost for global affairs at the University of Virginia.

Minding the Gap: African Conflict

Management in a Time of Change

Pamela Aall and Chester A. Crocker,

CIGI Press, 2016, $38/paperback,

$15.38/Kindle, 342 pages.

A compilation of essays by more than 20


Minding the Gap: African Con-

flict Management in a Time of Change

puts conflict management in Africa into perspective, examin-

ing both the problems involved and the continent’s evolving

capacity to undertake the task effectively. Heavily supported

by hard data, this book is a significant contribution in this criti-

cal area. (See retired Ambassador Tibor Nagy’s review in the October FSJ .)

Chester Crocker, who served as assistant secretary of State for

African affairs from 1981 to 1989, is a distinguished fellow with

the Centre for International Governance Innovation’s Global

Security and Politics Program and James R. Schlesinger professor

of strategic studies at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of

Foreign Service. Pamela Aall is a senior fellow with CIGI’s Global

Security and Politics Program and founding provost of the U.S.

Institute of Peace’s Academy for International Conflict Manage-

ment and Peacebuilding.






Slippery Slope:

Europe's Troubled Future

Giles Merritt, Oxford University Press,

2016, $29.95/hardcover, 270 pages.

A self-described “skeptical Europhile,”

Giles Merritt lays bare the issues surround-

ing what he argues is Europe’s imminent

decline and the best courses of action to

slow or reduce it. He offers a clear to-do list

for European countries, including a recommendation for stron-

ger unification of national governments across Europe. He also

discusses the rise of Asia as a formidable competitor and delves

into the strengths and weaknesses of the European Union. This is

a timely read for anyone concerned about Europe’s options in a

post-Brexit world.

Giles Merritt served as a

Financial Times

correspondent for 15

years before founding Friends of Europe, a think-tank in Brussels,


Europe’s World

, a policy journal. He is the author of several

books, including the award-winning

World Out of Work


City Squares: 18 Writers on

the Spirit and Significance of

Squares Around the World

Catie Marron, Harper-Collins, 2016,

$32.50/hardcover, 304 pages.

City squares have been sites for commerce,

celebrations, public protest and peaceful

gatherings since the time of the ancient

Greeks. The square is the one essential public space that has

“stood the test of time,” editor Catie Marron writes in the intro-

duction to this unusual book.

Essays by noted contributors—

New Yorker

editor David Rem-

nick, former


magazine editor and Under Secretary of State

for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel, novelist

Anne Beattie and others—about prominent and some not-so-

famous city squares on four continents are organized in three

sections that look at these metropolitan gathering places from

cultural, geopolitical and historical perspectives.

Catie Marron is chairman of the board of directors of Friends

of the High Line and a trustee of the New York Public Library,

where she was chairman of the board for seven years. She is a

contributing editor to


and the editor of

City Parks: Public

Places, Private Thoughts