The Foreign Service Journal, October 2019

46 OCTOBER 2019 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL A Rope from the Sky: The Making and Unmaking of the World’s Newest State Zach Vertin, Pegasus Books, 2019, $29.95/hardcover, $11.23/Kindle, 490 pages. A Rope from the Sky chronicles the complexities of South Sudan’s struggle for independence, intertwining local and global narratives. “The still-unfolding tragedy of South Sudan is too little under- stood and too little known, even among foreign policy experts. Zach Vertin is a rare exception,” John Kerry, the 68th Secretary of State, said of this book. “He has spent his life not just explaining how the promise of this young nation, for which so many sacri- ficed, was broken so badly, but helping end the bloodshed for a people who have seen far too much of it.” Zach Vertin is a lecturer at Princeton University and a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center. He served in the Obama administration as a senior adviser to the U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan. Appeasement: Chamberlain, Hitler, Churchill, and the Road to War Tim Bouverie, Tim Duggan Books, 2019, $30/hardcover, 512 pages. Appeasement offers a new perspective on Britain’s policy in the 1930s and the lead-up to World War II by using diaries, letters, speeches, news commentaries and a plethora of other resources. The author focuses on British Cabinet politics, indecisiveness and failed diplomacy, which he claims enabled Hitler’s domination of Europe and determined Europe’s fate. While Bouverie’s book is historical, it is an evergreen cautionary tale. Failure to stand up to dictators and aggression can have catastrophic consequences. Tim Bouverie reviews historical and political books for major news outlets and is a former political journalist for Channel 4 News in the United Kingdom. During his time at Channel 4 from 2013 to 2017, he covered major political events and interviewed high-profile politicians. Belt and Road: A Chinese World Order Bruno Maçães, Hurst & Company, 2018, $28/hardcover, 288 pages. “This is a remarkably insightful and comprehensive review of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, with all its implica- tions for economic development, as well as for the reshaping of the global order,” says Stephen Green, former chairman of HSBC Bank and chair of London’s Asia House, of this book. “America and Europe: take note! This is essential reading for us all.” Author Bruno Maçães analyzes the most ambitious geopo- litical initiative of the age, focusing on the physical and politi- cal details of the Belt and Road and its impact on the world’s economy and politics, as well as speculating on what the world will look like after its completion. Is the Belt and Road about more than power projection and profit? he asks. Bruno Maçães is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and senior adviser at Flint Global. He is Portugal’s former minister for Europe. Building the Nation: Missed Opportunities in Iraq & Afghanistan Heather Selma Gregg, Potomac Books, 2018, $29.95/hardcover, 296 pages. Building her argument from foreign policy reports and U.S. military officers’ inter- views, Heather Selma Gregg argues the United States should pay more attention to true nation-building, like creating a shared sense of identity and purpose within a state’s border, in Iraq and Afghanistan. “In a time when the United States increasingly recognizes how inadequate simple theories of state stabilization and state-build- ing are, Heather Gregg offers a powerful new model for what to do after the shooting has stopped,” says Scott Guggenheim, senior adviser to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. “We who live and work in the center of the storm can only hope that her book gets studied carefully by the next generation of policymakers.” Heather Selma Gregg is an associate professor at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Department of Defense Analysis. OF RELATED INTEREST