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The Best Books About Geopolitics

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“What are the best books about Geopolitics?” We looked at 140 of the top Geopolitical books, aggregating and ranking them so we could answer that very question!

The top 11 titles, all appearing on 2 or more “Best Geopolitics” book lists, are ranked below by how many lists they appear on. The remaining 125+ titles, as well as the lists we used are in alphabetical order at the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!



Top 11 Books About Geopolitics



11 .) Adults in the Room: My Battle With Europe’s Deep Establishment written by Yanis Varoufakis

 Adults in the Room: My Battle With Europe’s Deep Establishment

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Depository
  • The Guardian



10 .) World Order written by Henry Kissinger

 World Order

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Wikipedia

Henry Kissinger offers in World Order a deep meditation on the roots of international harmony and global disorder. Drawing on his experience as one of the foremost statesmen of the modern era—advising presidents, traveling the world, observing and shaping the central foreign policy events of recent decades—Kissinger now reveals his analysis of the ultimate challenge for the twenty-first century: how to build a shared international order in a world of divergent historical perspectives, violent conflict, proliferating technology, and ideological extremism. There has never been a true “world order,” Kissinger observes. For most of history, civilizations defined their own concepts of order. Each considered itself the center of the world and envisioned its distinct principles as universally relevant. China conceived of a global cultural hierarchy with the Emperor at its pinnacle. In Europe, Rome imagined itself surrounded by barbarians; when Rome fragmented, European peoples refined a concept of an equilibrium of sovereign states and sought to export it across the world. Islam, in its early centuries, considered itself the world’s sole legitimate political unit, destined to expand indefinitely until the world was brought into harmony by religious principles. The United States was born of a conviction about the universal applicability of democracy—a conviction that has guided its policies ever since. Now international affairs take place on a global basis, and these historical concepts of world order are meeting. Every region participates in questions of high policy in every other, often instantaneously. Yet there is no consensus among the major actors about the rules and limits guiding this process, or its ultimate destination. The result is mounting tension. Grounded in Kissinger’s deep study of history and his experience as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, World Order guides readers through crucial episodes in recent world history. Kissinger offers a unique glimpse into the inner deliberations of the Nixon administration’s negotiations with Hanoi over the end of the Vietnam War, as well as Ronald Reagan’s tense debates with Soviet Premier Gorbachev in Reykjavík. He offers compelling insights into the future of U.S.–China relations and the evolution of the European Union, and examines lessons of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Taking readers from his analysis of nuclear negotiations with Iran through the West’s response to the Arab Spring and tensions with Russia over Ukraine, World Order anchors Kissinger’s historical analysis in the decisive events of our time.



9 .) Who Rules the World? written by Noam Chomsky

 Who Rules the World?

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Depository
  • Book Riot

In an incisive, thorough analysis of the current international situation, Noam Chomsky examines the way that the United States, despite the rise of Europe and Asia, still largely sets the terms of global discourse. Drawing on a wide range of examples, from the sordid history of U.S. involvement with Cuba to the sanctions on Iran, he details how America’s rhetoric of freedom and human rights so often diverges from its actions. He delves deep into the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Israel-Palestine, providing unexpected and nuanced insights into the workings of imperial power on our increasingly chaotic planet. And, in a new afterword, he addresses the election of Donald Trump and what it shows about American society.



8 .) The Tragedy of Great Power Politics written by John J. Mearsheimer

 The Tragedy of Great Power Politics

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Wikipedia

The update of this classic treatise on the behavior of great powers takes a penetrating look at the question likely to dominate international relations in the twenty-first century: Can China rise peacefully? To John J. Mearsheimer, great power politics are tragic because the anarchy of the international system requires states to seek dominance at one another s expense, dooming even peaceful nations to a relentless power struggle. The best survival strategy in this dangerous world is to become a regional hegemon like the United States in the Western Hemisphere and to make sure that no other hegemon emerges elsewhere. In a new concluding chapter, Mearsheimer examines the course of Sino-American relations should China continue its ascent to greater economic and military power. He predicts that China will attempt to dominate Asia while the United States, determined to remain the world s sole regional hegemon, will go to great lengths to contain China. The tragedy of great power politics is inescapable.”



7 .) The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism written by Naomi Klein

 The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Depository
  • Goodreads

In her ground-breaking reporting from Iraq, Naomi Klein exposed how the trauma of invasion was being exploited to remake the country in the interest of foreign corporations. She called it “disaster capitalism.” Covering Sri Lanka in the wake of the tsunami, and New Orleans post-Katrina, she witnessed something remarkably similar. People still reeling from catastrophe were being hit again, this time with economic “shock treatment” losing their land and homes to rapid-fire corporate makeovers. The Shock Doctrine retells the story of the most dominant ideology of our time, Milton Friedman’s free market economic revolution. In contrast to the popular myth of this movement’s peaceful global victory, Klein shows how it has exploited moments of shock and extreme violence in order to implement its economic policies in so many parts of the world from Latin America and Eastern Europe to South Africa, Russia, and Iraq. At the core of disaster capitalism is the use of cataclysmic events to advance radical privatization combined with the privatization of the disaster response itself. By capitalizing on crises, created by nature or war, Klein argues that the disaster capitalism complex now exists as a booming new economy, and is the violent culmination of a radical economic project that has been incubating for fifty years.



6 .) The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000 written by Paul Kennedy

 The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Wikipedia

Kennedy’s masterwork begins in the year 1500, at a time of various great centres of power including Minh China, the Ottomans, the rising Mughal state, the nations of Europe. But it was the latter which, through competition, economic growth and better military organisation, came to dominate the globe – until challenged later by Japan, the Soviet Union, and the United States. Now China, boosted by its own economic prowess, rises to the fore. Throughout this brilliant work, Kennedy persuasively demonstrates the interdependence of economic and military power, showing how an imbalance between the two has historically led to spectacular political disaster.



5 .) The Revenge Of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate written by Robert D. Kaplan

 The Revenge Of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Riot
  • Goodreads

In The Revenge of Geography, Kaplan builds on the insights, discoveries, and theories of great geographers and geopolitical thinkers of the near and distant past to look back at critical pivots in history and then to look forward at the evolving global scene. Kaplan traces the history of the world’s hot spots by examining their climates, topographies, and proximities to other embattled lands. The Russian steppe’s pitiless climate and limited vegetation bred hard and cruel men bent on destruction, for example, while Nazi geopoliticians distorted geopolitics entirely, calculating that space on the globe used by the British Empire and the Soviet Union could be swallowed by a greater German homeland.



4 .) The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives written by Zbigniew Brzeziński

 The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Depository
  • Goodreads

As the twentieth century draws to a close, the United States has emerged as the world’s only superpower: no other nation possesses comparable military and economic power or has interests that bestride the globe. Yet the critical question facing America remains unanswered: What should be the nation’s global strategy for maintaining its exceptional position in the world? Zbigniew Brzezinski tackles this question head-on in this incisive and pathbreaking book.The Grand Chessboard presents Brzezinski’s bold and provocative geostrategic vision for American preeminence in the twenty-first century. Central to his analysis is the exercise of power on the Eurasian landmass, which is home to the greatest part of the globe’s population, natural resources, and economic activity. Stretching from Portugal to the Bering Strait, from Lapland to Malaysia, Eurasia is the ”grand chessboard” on which America’s supremacy will be ratified and challenged in the years to come. The task facing the United States, he argues, is to manage the conflicts and relationships in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East so that no rival superpower arises to threaten our interests or our well-being.The heart of The Grand Chessboard is Brzezinski’s analysis of the four critical regions of Eurasia and of the stakes for America in each arena—Europe, Russia, Central Asia, and East Asia. The crucial fault lines may seem familiar, but the implosion of the Soviet Union has created new rivalries and new relationships, and Brzezinski maps out the strategic ramifications of the new geopolitical realities. He explains, for example: Why France and Germany will play pivotal geostrategic roles, whereas Britain and Japan will not. Why NATO expansion offers Russia the chance to undo the mistakes of the past, and why Russia cannot afford to toss this opportunity aside. Why the fate of Ukraine and Azerbaijan are so important to America. Why viewing China as a menace is likely to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Why America is not only the first truly global superpower but also the last—and what the implications are for America’s legacy. Brzezinski’s surprising and original conclusions often turn conventional wisdom on its head as he lays the groundwork for a new and compelling vision of America’s vital interests. Once, again, Zbigniew Brzezinski provides our nation with a philosophical and practical guide for maintaining and managing our hard-won global power.



3 .) How the World Works

 How the World Works

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Depository
  • Goodreads

According to The New York Times, Noam Chomsky is “arguably the most important intellectual alive.” But he isn’t easy to read . . . or at least he wasn’t until these books came along. Made up of intensively edited speeches and interviews, they offer something not found anywhere else: pure Chomsky, with every dazzling idea and penetrating insight intact, delivered in clear, accessible, reader-friendly prose. Published as four short books in the famous Real Story series—What Uncle Sam Really Wants; The Prosperous Few and the Restless Many; Secrets, Lies and Democracy; and The Common Good—they’ve collectively sold almost 600,000 copies. And they continue to sell year after year after year because Chomsky’s ideas become, if anything, more relevant as time goes by. For example, twenty years ago he pointed out that “in 1970, about 90% of international capital was used for trade and long-term investment—more or less productive things—and 10% for speculation. By 1990, those figures had reversed.” As we know, speculation continued to increase exponentially. We’re paying the price now for not heeding him them.



2 .) Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance—and Why They Fall written by Amy Chua

 Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance—and Why They Fall

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Depository
  • Goodreads

Historians have debated the rise and fall of empires for centuries. To date, however, no one has studied the far rarer phenomenon of hyperpowers—those few societies that amassed such extraordinary military and economic might that they essentially dominated the world. Now, in this sweeping history of globally dominant empires, bestselling author Amy Chua explains how hyperpowers rise and why they fall. In a series of brilliantly focused chapters, Chua examines history’s hyperpowers—Persia, Rome, Tang China, the Mongols, the Dutch, the British, and the United States—and reveals the reasons behind their success, as well as the roots of their ultimate demise.



1 .) Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics written by Tim Marshall

 Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Depository
  • Book Riot
  • Goodreads
  • WHSmith
  • Wikipedia

All leaders are constrained by geography. Their choices are limited by mountains, rivers, seas and concrete. Yes, to follow world events you need to understand people, ideas and movements – but if you don’t know geography, you’ll never have the full picture. If you’ve ever wondered why Putin is so obsessed with Crimea, why the USA was destined to become a global superpower, or why China’s power base continues to expand ever outwards, the answers are all here. In ten chapters (covering Russia; China; the USA; Latin America; the Middle East; Africa; India and Pakistan; Europe; Japan and Korea; and the Arctic), using maps, essays and occasionally the personal experiences of the widely travelled author, Prisoners of Geography looks at the past, present and future to offer an essential insight into one of the major factors that determines world history.




The 125+ Additional Best Books About geopolitics



#BooksAuthorsLists
1221 Lessons for the 21st Century Love Reading
13A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall Of The Ottoman Empire And The Creation Of The Modern Middle EastDavid FromkinGoodreads
14After the Empire Wikipedia
15Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New ChinaEvan OsnosGoodreads
16All Out WarTim ShipmanThe Guardian
17All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East TerrorStephen KinzerGoodreads
18America’s War for the Greater Middle EastAndrew J. BacevichGoodreads
19An Ideology of the Drone 
Books And Ideas
20
An Introduction to Political Geography (2nd New edition)
 WHSmith
21Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable PacificRobert D. KaplanGoodreads
22
Aspirational Power Brazil on the Long Road to Global Influence
 Brookings
23
Berlitz River Cruising in Europe & the USA
 Love Reading
24Between the World and MeTa-Nehisi CoatesThe Guardian
25
Beyond the Border: Tensions across the Forty-Ninth Parallel in…
 WHSmith
26Black Garden Wikipedia
27Borders as Thickening Zones 
Books And Ideas
28
Boundaries and Place: European Borderlands in Geographical…
 WHSmith
29Bride and Groom World View
30Capital in the Twenty-First CenturyThomas PikettyThe Guardian
31China and the Geopolitics of Rare Earths WHSmith
32China’s Superbank: Debt, Oil and Influence – How China Development Bank is Rewriting the Rules of FinanceHenry Sanderson & Michael ForsytheFive Books
33
Choices: Inside the Making of India’s Foreign Policy
 Brookings
34Civilization: The West and the RestNiall FergusonGoodreads
35Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American EmpireNiall FergusonGoodreads
36Confessions of an Economic Hit ManJohn PerkinsGoodreads
37Connected Content World View
38
Contesting the Arctic: Politics and Imaginaries in the…
 WHSmith
39Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical PoliticsRichard SeymourThe Guardian
40Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?Graham AllisonGoodreads
41
Dilemmas of a Trading Nation: Japan and the Trans-Pacific Economic Order
 Brookings
42DiplomacyHenry KissingerGoodreads
43Dirty Wars: The World is a BattlefieldJeremy ScahillGoodreads
44Economic StatecraftDavid Allen BaldwinFive Books
45Empire: How Britain Made the Modern WorldNiall FergusonGoodreads
46Energy: A Human History World View
47Fire and Fury Book Depository
48First Confession Book Depository
49
Five Rising Democracies and the Fate of the International Liberal Order
 Brookings
50Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in EuropeGeorge FriedmanGoodreads
51From Beirut to JerusalemThomas L. FriedmanGoodreads
52
From the Gulf to Ararat: Imperial Boundary Making in…
 WHSmith
53
Frontiers: Territory and State Formation in the Modern World
 WHSmith
54Gaza in Crisis Book Depository
55Geopolitics, Geography and StrategyColin S. GrayGoodreads
56
Geopolitics: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short…
 WHSmith
57Geopolitics: An Introductory Reader WHSmith
58Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001Steve CollGoodreads
59Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human SocietiesJared DiamondGoodreads
60Has the West Lost It? Book Depository
61Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global DominanceNoam ChomskyGoodreads
62Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in CrisisJD VanceThe Guardian
63House of Trump, House of Putin Book Depository
64How Democracies Die Book Depository
65
How to Hide an Empire: A Short History of the Greater…
 WHSmith
66How Will Capitalism End?Wolfgang StreekThe Guardian
67
Imperial Twilight: The Opium War and the End of China’s Last Golden Age
 World View
68
India at the Global High Table The Quest for Regional Primacy and Strategic Autonomy
 Brookings
69
Information Fall-Out: Buckminster Fuller’s World Game
 WHSmith
70
Insight Guides: Great Breaks Edinburgh – Edinburgh Travel Guide
 Love Reading
71Karachi: A History of Violence 
Books And Ideas
72
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
 World View
73Last War of the World-Island: The Geopolitics of Contemporary RussiaAlexander DuginGoodreads
74Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly, and the Making of the Modern Middle EastScott AndersonGoodreads
75Le Crépuscule de la France d’en HautChristophe GuillyThe Guardian
76Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIATim WeinerGoodreads
77
Mapping and Politics in the Digital Age (Routledge Global…
 WHSmith
78
Material Politics: Disputes Along the Pipeline (RGS-IBG…
 WHSmith
79Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American PowerRobert D. KaplanGoodreads
80
Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin (New and Expanded)
 Brookings
81
Network Power: The Social Dynamics of Globalization
 Five Books
82Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North KoreaBarbara DemickGoodreads
83Occupy Book Depository
84On ChinaHenry KissingerGoodreads
85On Grand Strategy World View
86On Palestine Book Depository
87
Once Within Borders: Territories of Power, Wealth, and…
 WHSmith
88Open Veins of Latin America Book Depository
89Optimism Over Despair Book Depository
90Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the WorldMargaret MacMillanGoodreads
91Peaceful Territorial Change (New ed.) WHSmith
92
Political Geography: Territory, State and Society
 WHSmith
93Political Order and Political Decay Book Depository
94
Political Risk: How Businesses and Organizations Can Anticipate Global Insecurity
 World View
95PostCapitalism Book Depository
96
Prestige, Power & Protection: Abu Dhabi’s Strategic Military Expeditions
 
Encyclopedia Geopolitico
97Revolt on the RightRobert Ford & Matthew GoodwinThe Guardian
98Sapiens A Brief History of Humankind Love Reading
99Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the World’s OceansJim StavridisGoodreads
100Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939Adam HochschildFive Books
101SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome Book Riot
102Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global PowerZbigniew BrzezińskiGoodreads
103Super Sad True Love StoryGary ShteyngartFive Books
104Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central AsiaAhmed RashidGoodreads
105
Talibanistan: Negotiating the Borders Between…
 WHSmith
106The Accidental Superpower: The Next Generation of American Preeminence and the Coming Global DisorderPeter ZeihanGoodreads
107The Caucasus: An Introduction WHSmith
108
The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics (UK ed.)
 WHSmith
109The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World OrderSamuel P. HuntingtonGoodreads
110
The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters
 World View
111
The Fog of Peace: A Memoir of International Peacekeeping in the 21st Century
 Brookings
112The Future of Land Warfare Brookings
113
The Geopolitical Reading List: End of an Era – How China’s Authoritarian Revival Is Undermining Its Rise
 
Encyclopedia Geopolitico
114
The Geopolitical Reading List: To Dare More Boldly
 
Encyclopedia Geopolitico
115The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central AsiaPeter HopkirkGoodreads
116The Great War for Civilisation Book Depository
117The Influence Of Sea Power Upon History, 1660 – 1783Alfred Thayer MahanGoodreads
118The Lion Tamer Who Lost Love Reading
119The Mum Who’d Had Enough Love Reading
120
The New Imperialism (Clarendon Lectures in Geography and…
 WHSmith
121The New North (Main) WHSmith
122The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st CenturyGeorge FriedmanGoodreads
123The Next Decade: What the World Will Look LikeGeorge FriedmanGoodreads
124The Origins of the Islamic State 
Books And Ideas
125The Origins of the Syrian Insurrection 
Books And Ideas
126The Post-American WorldFareed ZakariaGoodreads
127The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and PowerDaniel YerginGoodreads
128The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern WorldDaniel YerginGoodreads
129The River of Lost Footsteps Book Depository
130The Road to Ruin Book Depository
131The Road to SomewhereDavid GoodhartThe Guardian
132The Romance Reader’s Guide to Life Love Reading
133The Russian Threat Wikipedia
134
The SAGE Handbook of Political Geography
 WHSmith
135The Silk Roads: A New History of the WorldPeter FrankopanGoodreads
136
The Svalbard Archipelago: American Military and Political…
 WHSmith
137The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914Margaret MacMillanGoodreads
138The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first CenturyThomas L. FriedmanGoodreads
139War of a Thousand Deserts World View
140Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and PovertyDaron AcemoğluGoodreads



12 Best Geopolitics Book Sources/Lists



SourceArticle
Book Depository Five Books to Help Understand Our Current Geopolitical Climate …
Book Riot You Must Understand the World: Geopolitical Reads – Book Riot
Books And Ideas Best of Books & Ideas, Part 4: Geopolitics & Conflict – Books & ideas
Brookings Geopolitics in the 21st Century book series – Brookings Institution
Encyclopedia Geopolitico The 2018 Geopolitical Reading List – Encyclopedia Geopolitica
Five Books The Best Books on Geoeconomics | Five Books
Goodreads Popular Geopolitics Books – Goodreads
Love Reading Geopolitics books and reviews. The best Geopolitics books to read on …
The Guardian 10 books about the politics of now: from the left-behinds to reborn …
WHSmith Geopolitics Books | WHSmith
Wikipedia Category:Books about geopolitics – Wikipedia
World View Nine Great Books About Geopolitics to Read This Summer