Books on peace and security recommended by staff at the International Peace Institute:
Aid in Danger: The Perils and Promise of Humanitarianism, by Larissa Fast (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014)
In this new book, University of Notre Dame professor Larissa Fast tackles the important question of what leads to violence against humanitarian aid workers. Although authored by an academic, the book rests on an extensive database compiled by the author during her decades-long experience conducting research on humanitarian issues. Fast’s argument is that while most explanations of violence against humanitarians tend to look into factors external to aid workers—depicted as a special category of civilians—the answer is also to be looked for in their everyday decisions and human weaknesses as they deal with people in need on the ground. Suggested by Jérémie Labbé, Research Fellow for Humanitarian Affairs.
Climate Change, Ethics, and Human Security, Edited by Karen O’Brien, Asunción Lera St. Clair, and Berit Kristoffersen (Cambridge University Press, 2014)
A new book by three academics says action on climate change is stuck in part because it is seen as a purely environmental issue, which many in our society view as separate from daily life. According to the authors, changing that to view climate change through the lens of human security—how rising temperature, floods, droughts, sea rises, etc., will impact the survival, livelihood, and dignity of people around the world—can lead to a deeper understanding of what our ethical obligations are to current and future generations, and what changes need to be made, and by whom. Suggested by Jill Stoddard, Director of Web & Multimedia and Web Editor.
Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, by Robert M. Gates (Knopf, 2014)
In his memoir, former US Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates provides a series of insights on decision-making related to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars that span both the Bush and Obama administrations. The book also delves into several other issues currently facing the US foreign policy establishment, including the base at Guantánamo Bay, the war in Syria, and the approach to Iran, in addition to the tensions and disconnects in long-term US military strategy and defense spending. Suggested by Maureen Quinn, Director of Programs.