The best foreign-policy books of the year


It's that time of the year again, when the steady stream of "year's best" lists start to trickle into your favorite papers and magazines. In case you missed it over the weekend, though, the New York Times released one of my favorites, their "100 Notable Books of 2007."

FP's book review section, In Other Words, looks only at works that have not yet been published in the United States, allowing us to discuss important political and literary conversations outside America's borders. But it's also important to look back at the new U.S. books on foreign policy that have been stirred debate, inspired new ideas, influenced policy, and made people think.

The Times list highlights a few of these from 2007: FP contributor Tim Weiner's Legacy of Ashes, Ishmael Beah's Long Way Gone, Helen Epstein’s The Invisible Cure, and FP contributor Rajiv Chandrasekaran's Imperial Life in the Emerald City, to name just a few.        

But, with so much material this year, it's little wonder the Times couldn't fit all the best books on international affairs in its list. In my humble opinion, there are quite a few excellent foreign-policy books that also shined in 2007:  

What were your favorite foreign-policy books this year? How about the most overrated? Best from outside the States? Send us some suggestions, and we'll put a list together of Passport readers' books of the year. It should make for easy holiday shopping for your favorite student, wonk, or politician.


Dawkins publisher may face prosecution in Turkey


This has not been a good day for free speech in the Muslim world. In addition to the news that the British teacher who was arrested in Sudan for insulting Islam by naming a teddy bear "Mohammed" at her class's request has been charged, the Turkish publisher of Richard Dawkins's atheist manifesto, The God Delusion, has been called in for questioning by prosecutors and may face charges of inciting religious hatred. Turkey took heat in 2005 for prosecuting Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk on the dubious charge of "insulting Turkishness." Those charges were eventually dropped and the government promised to soften the law.

That the Turkish government would enforce secularism by banning head scarves in universities ... while a prosecutor considers indicting a publisher for propagating the works of one of the world's leading secularists seems to reveal something deeply schizophrenic about Mosque-state relations in Turkey. I can't wait to hear Dinesh D'Souza weigh in on this one.