Brookings’s Best-Selling Books from 2015

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As 2015 winds down, we are looking back at some of the books that made the most impact over the last twelve months. Below are some of the Brookings Institution Press’s best-sellers: a combination of economics, history, foreign policy, and a lot of Vladimir Putin.

For more gift ideas, including our special-discount holiday bundles, check out our holiday gift guide.

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In “Imperial Gamble: Putin, Ukraine, and the New Cold War,” Marvin Kalb takes a critical look at the tortured history of post-Soviet Russia and Ukraine, and journeys deep into the Russian past to uncover the roots of Russian and Ukrainian nationalism. Watch this clip of Kalb discussing his book on PBS Newshour.

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The Economist says that “Any country thinking of hosting an international sporting jamboree should read this book to see what a bad deal the IOC and FIFA seek to foist on them.” In fact, the magazine named “Circus Maximus: The Olympic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup” by Andrew Zimbalist as one of its Best Books of 2015.


Michael O’Hanlon’s newest book, “The Future of Land Warfare,” is an analysis of one of the country’s most important questions: What happens if we bet too heavily on unmanned systems, cyberwarfare, and special operations in our defense? In this blog post, he shares highlights from the book in chart form.


The new and expanded edition of “Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin,” by Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy, was named one of the Financial Times picks for summer. We told you it was a good beach read!

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Charles Lister’s “The Islamic State: A Brief Introduction” answers a lot of questions about the history and future of ISIS in a compact 110 pages. Read a review of the book in Foreign Affairs.

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In “The Fog of Peace: A Memoir of International Peacekeeping in the 21st Century,” Jean-Marie Guehenno looks back at his experiences of leading UN peacekeeping in the post-9/11 world. He explores themes from his book in this op-ed in Time magazine.

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The Last Mile in Ending Extreme Poverty,” edited by Laurence Chandy, Hiroshi Kato, and Homi Kharas explores three critical challenges that define extreme poverty across the globe. The Brookings Creative Lab created a short video highlighting the book’s main points.

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In “America’s Political Dynasties: From Adams to Clinton,” Stephen Hess shares the stories of 18 American families, from the famous Roosevelts and Kennedys, to the less-discussed Muhlenbergs and Washburns. He tells the story of how he came to write the book in this Brookings Cafeteria podcast segment.

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During his launch event at Brookings, Bruce Riedel called his new book “JFK’s Forgotten Crisis: Tibet, the CIA, and the Sino-Indian War” the “most fun I’ve had in years.” Read a review in the Financial Times.