Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
on 9 February 2014
This book started off well enough, covering topics in what is normally assumed under the topic of international relations and international security. The first part of the book was a fairly straightforward, albeit unremarkable, rehash of topics such as war and peace, changing nature of armed conflict, and United Nations. In the second half, however, things started to seriously go off track. Most of that part of the book covered topics that, albeit important and interesting, are at best tangential to the whole issue of security proper: human development, proper natural resource management, environmental degradation, etc. The worst, however, was reserved for the last chapter which was essentially, and I am not exaggerating, a full-scale apologia for terrorism and the attacks of 9/11 in particular. I really couldn’t believe what I was reading, and parts of this chapter were stomach churning. I pretty much had to force myself to finish reading that rubbish. The author is apparently an acolyte of Noam Chomsky school of international relations, whom he directly invokes in this chapter. This kind of total intellectual dross I would expect to read on the pages of some third-rate college newspaper, but not from the pages of a serious scholarly book published by an eminent university press.
I’ve read several of these Very Short Introduction (VSI) books on themes of international relations, foreign affairs, and similar topics. Out of all of themes that VSI covers this one seems to be, by far, the most one sided and lacking any rigorous scholarly reflection. Whoever is the editor at OUP specializing in this topic should really lose his job, and sooner the better.