Published in 1961, the year of Frantz Fanon's death, The Wretched of the Earth is both a powerful analysis of the psychological effects of colonization and a rallying cry for violent uprising and independence. The book rejects colonial assumptions that the people of colonized countries need to be guided by their European colonizers because they are somehow less evolved or civilized. Fanon argues that violence is justified to purge colonialism not just from the countries themselves, but from the very souls of their inhabitants.
The modern world has been marked by a series of immense social revolutions that have transformed the states where they happened. In 1979, American sociologist Theda Skocpol published States and Social Revolutions and examined three of these uprisings: in France at the end of the 18th century, then in Russia and in China in the first half of the 20th century. She pinpointed a number of common factors that affected each of these countries at the time revolution happened.
While previous scholars of international history had focused on "great men" and their achievements, Paul Kennedy focused on the interdependent relationship between military might and economic growth. In his 1987 work, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, he shows why countries that balance the economic and the military can become "great powers." Those that fail to do so, however, risk imperial overstretch and failure.
Western thinking about the Middle and Far East has been distorted by stereotype and inaccuracy. This argument lies at the center of Palestinian-American literary theorist Edward Said's groundbreaking book, Orientalism. Originally published in 1978, it cemented Said's reputation as the father of postcolonial studies.
In his 1996 book The Clash Of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, American political scientist Samuel Huntington sets out his vision of the post-Cold War world. While the era from 1945 to 1989 was shaped by ideological conflict (communism vs. capitalism), Huntington predicts a future of cultural conflict.
Reflections on the Revolution in France may read like an exercise in political theory. But when it was first published in 1790, Edmund Burke was fighting a real political battle. Burke saw that the Enlightenment ideas that had inspired radical political change in France the year before were beginning to take root in England. He wanted to discredit these dangerous thoughts before they sparked a revolution in his own country.
Though written around 1513, more than 500 years ago, Italian diplomat Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince is still both widely listened to and very influential. Listeners turn to it for its direct advice on the question of how to attain - and retain - power. Machiavelli's answer, in brief: Use any means necessary to make sure the state survives.
Democracy and Its Critics is a modern classic that integrates Robert A. Dahl's democratic thinking as it developed over the course of his academic career. It makes an important contribution to theories about democracy and remains widely cited and debated. Dahl offers an interpretation of democratic theory and practice that is relevant to the modern world and that pays special attention to the problems highlighted by people who criticize democracy.
In 1999's Everyday Stalinism, historian Sheila Fitzpatrick rejects the common practice of simplistically treating the Soviet Union as a totalitarian government that tightly controlled its citizens. She takes advantage of vast archives that were released after the Cold War to examine Soviet society "from below" - looking at how ordinary citizens coped with shortages and the general sense of fear created by the state.
In his 1997 work Guns, Germs, and Steel, American geography professor and environmental historian Jared Diamond looks to answer the question of why human history unfolded differently on different continents, and why power and wealth became distributed as they are.
Politics is one of the first books ever to investigate the concept of political philosophy. Written by the famous Greek thinker Aristotle in the fourth century BCE, it focuses on trying to understand how best to create political communities that support, serve, and improve their citizens. Aristotle investigates a number of different areas before drawing conclusions. These include an examination of existing regimes to see which are best, a look at political theories, and even an exploration of the systems of education.
Though written around 1513, more than 500 years ago, Italian diplomat Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince is still very influential. Listeners turn to it for its direct advice on the question of how to attain - and retain - power. Machiavelli's answer, in brief: use any means necessary to make sure the state survives. Given the changeable nature of politics, the strong ruler that Machiavelli describes may need to lie or cheat, deceive and, if necessary, resort to acts of violence - all the while maintaining an "image" of goodness.
J. A. (John) Hobson's 1902 book, Imperialism: A Study, presents an original and controversial interpretation of the forces that motivated Britain to conquer foreign lands in the 18th century. Hobson advances the idea that ultrawealthy financiers consciously worked to manipulate political leaders, all so they could invest money and sell goods in the outposts of a country's empire.
Mahbub ul Haq died in 1998, three years after the publication of his important work, Reflections on Human Development. The book appeared at the end of Haq's impressive career in international development and described his revolutionary contribution to the discipline. In it, Haq argues that the goal of any society should be to improve the lives of its citizens, therefore economic development should support that aim.