by Stephen Wenham
20th January 2021

After four tumultuous years, many will breathe a sigh of relief as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris assume office. The new president faces many challenges on the domestic and world stage. This reading list brings together books that address some of the international issues that confront the new presidency.

Addressing climate change is rightly high on the Biden agenda, and many wait to see what the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow can deliver later this year.

Cover of the 'Environmental Anarchy?'

Cover of the 'Environmental conflicts, migration and governance'Mark Beeson’s Environmental Anarchy?, publishing later this year, will show why climate change represents the most important security threat today and why it should be given far greater emphasis in policy makers’ priorities and budgets.

In Environmental Conflicts, Migration and Governance, Tim Krieger, Diana Panke and Michael Pregernig bring world-leading researchers from across political science, environmental studies, economics and sociology to show the links between climate change, conflict and migration.

Cover of the 'Ecological justice and the extinction crisis'Anna Wienhues’s Ecological Justice and the Extinction Crisis examines the foundations of our thinking about biodiversity and conservation, and considers what is owed to all living beings in the context of climate change and the extinction crisis. Find out more in Anna’s article, What is ecological justice, and why does it matter today?

Biden will also face questions about what a sustainable economic future could look like – questions which become more acute as countries consider the future beyond COVID-19.

Cover of the 'Reconstructing the global political economy'Cover of the 'Life after COVID-19'

Erik Andersson’s Reconstructing the Global Political Economy provides a guide to the different ideological pathways change could take, while Martin Parker, in Life After COVID-19, brings together a range of ideas that consider the lessons we need to make life better after the pandemic.

Cover of the 'Comparing regional organizations'Biden has indicated that he will take a less isolationist approach to world affairs and Diana Panke, Sören Stapel and Anna Starkmann provide an excellent overview of the post-war evolution of and differences between regional organizations around the world in Comparing Regional Organizations.

Cover of the 'New directions in women, peace and security'

In New Directions in Women, Peace and Security, Soumita Basu, Paul Kirby and Laura Shepherd focus on the UN’s efforts to prioritise gender equality in relation to conflict, and how this should develop in future.

Cover of the 'Body count'Cover of the 'Vicarious Warfare'America is involved in conflicts around the world, and Tom Waldman’s Vicarious Warfare provides a challenging account of the American way of war and the hidden costs of a more remote warfare, while Lily Hamourtziadou provides a harrowing account of the costs of the Iraq War in Body Count.

Cover of the 'Contemporary Iran'Cover of the 'China Risen?'Biden will also need to decide how to respond to two countries that preoccupied the Trump administration: Iran and China. Farhang Morady’s Contemporary Iran examines that country’s development and its often heated relationship with the US. Shaun Breslin’s China Risen? provides an expert understanding of China today, while Gordon Houlden, Scott N. Romaniuk and Nong Cover of the 'US foreign policy' Cover of the 'Security, strategy and military dynamics in the south china sea'

Hong consider the flash point of the South China Sea in Security, Strategy and Military Dynamics in the South China Sea.

Finally, for a book that brings many of the US foreign policy decisions together and links them to the country’s domestic politics, Richard Johnson’s US Foreign Policy is a perfect introductory guide.


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