In the December 2013–January 2014 issue of Survival, Thomas Wright discusses Europe's lost decade, John A. Gans Jr considers the 'soft power' of Bruce Springsteen during the Cold War, and Samuel Charap and Mikhail Troitskiy analyse the integration dilemma facing Russia and the West. Also in the issue: Seyom Brown on Washington's new nuclear guidance; Robert Kahn and Charles Kupchan on resolving European economic weakness; and Mark Fitzpatrick on the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons.

Culture and Society

Al-Qaeda and Sacrifice: Martyrdom, War and Politics 

Melissa Finn. London: Pluto Press, 2012. £66.00. 236 pp.

Finn proposes an alternative view of suicide bombings, challenging the notion that perpetrators are motivated by a ‘nihilistic’ hatred of life. Arguing that it is more helpful to view suicide bombings in terms of sacrifice, she explores concepts and meanings of sacrifice in the Arabic language and in Islamist and jihadist writings.

America the Philosophical

Carlin Romano. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2012. £24.99/$35.00. 672 pp.

Seeking to confirm that the United States is home to a thoughtful people, Romano offers a detailed introduction to the American philosophical tradition. He argues that the country’s ‘unprecedented marketplace of truth and argument’ surpasses even that of ancient Greece.

Archives of Authority: Empire, Culture, and the Cold War

Andrew N. Rubin. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012. £27.95. 188 pp.

Using a combination of literary, cultural and political history, Rubin explores the role of cultural politics in the transfer of imperial authority from Britain to the US after the Second World War. In particular, how, in the name of anti-communism, US patronage of some authors over other, less ‘politically attractive’ ones shaped post-war cultural and literary authority.

Battlestar Galactica and International Relations

Nicholas Kiersey and Iver Neumann. Abingdon: Routledge, 2013. £80.00. 226 pp.

The authors explore a range of issues in international relations with reference to the science-fiction TV series Battlestar Galactica. They discuss the legitimacy of military government, the tactical utility of genocide and the philosophical implications of artificial-intelligence technologies for what it means to be human.

Histories of Nations: How Their Identities Were Forged

Peter Furtado, ed. London: Thames & Hudson, 2012. £24.95/$60.00. 320 pp.

Histories of Nations collects the work of 28 writers and scholars from different states, who describe the history of their countries from a native perspective. They depict the political and cultural factors that have shaped the modern world, providing accounts from every continent and type of government.

If Money Talks, What Does it Say?: Corruption and Business Financing of Political Parties

Iain McMenamin. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. £50.00/$99.00. 192 pp.

McMenamin examines issues surrounding companies’s financial contributions to political parties, and the variations in such donations between countries. The author argues that contributor firms expect to receive special policy consideration for their lobbying work.

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Survival: Global Politics and Strategy

December 2013–January 2014

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