Who knew Valentine’s Day contributes over $18 billion to the US economy? You do, because you spent your summer months digging your toes into the sand and your brain into these great reads.

Our best of the smartest beach reads continues with Edition #2: Economics, Government, and History.



Hippo was fortunate to feature interviews with some of the field’s top international relations specialists. Here, they recommend their top reads:

  • Try tackling some heavy reading. In Mark Wein’s interview with Parag Khanna, the global strategist has some great recommendations: “For my PhD, The Anarchical Society by Hedley Bull was seminal and represents a large contribution to what has come to be called the English School or World Society School. Barry Buzan’s From International to World Society is another work that was very defining to me, especially as Buzan was one of my doctoral supervisors.”
  • In 1979 there was a Revolution in Iran, and Sam Sussman’s Reads interview with Swarthmore College Professor Shervin Malekzadeh, the professor of political science speaks to his experience witnessing the Green Movement in Tehran. He says, “In his book on the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Charles Kurtzman talks about the moment when routines break down, when you don’t know what is coming next, and when anything feels possible. That was Tehran in 2009. It evokes such a powerful feeling, even looking back on it now. There was this tremendous sense of camaraderie; if you were on the streets, you were suddenly friends with everyone else on the streets.”
  • Still not clear on the Ukrainian question? Read international relations specialist Simon Radford’s “Why Ukraine Matters,” in which he recommends Trotsky’s 1939 article “The Ukrainian Question.”


  • Sadly a timely topic given current events: the history and politics of American gun culture are explored in writer Kara Waite’s curation on the topic, “Gun Control: A Shot in the Dark?” As an unconventional read on the subject, she recommends, in addition to a number of key studies and articles, Jim Shepherd’s short story, “The Gun Lobby.”
  • The history of the Holocaust is a critical Read, as scholar Catharina Borchgrevink discusses in “Understanding the ‘Innocent’ Bystander Effect.” As she writes (and recommends): “Hilberg is widely recognized as one of the great historians of the Holocaust, in particular with regards to bystanders. Hilberg’s essays on bystanders in Perpetrators, Victims, Bystanders: The Jewish Catastrophe 1933-1945 reveals the grey areas between these categories, and is just one of the many great books he wrote.”

Happy reading!

photo credit: Todd Morris via flickr

About The Author

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Co-Founder and Editor, Hippo Reads

Kaitlin Solimine, Co-Founder and Editor, Hippo Reads