Best foreign policy book and movie reviews of 2021

0

A semi-fictional interpretation of “a minor and ultimately even negligible episode” of the Netanyahu family. A humanizing – and alienating – account of “the extreme tenacity of Roman politics”. We have reviewed many books, movies and TV shows from around the world in 2021; read on for five of our favorites.


1. No country for good girls

by Yashica Dutt, October 1

In 2014, two girls were found hanging from a mango tree in Katra Sadatganj, a remote hamlet in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. When their family refused to take the bodies down, forming a human chain around the tree, Indian media flocked to cover the grisly incident. Contrary to these mostly sensationalist accounts, Sonia Faleiro has sought to reconstruct the affair by The good girls through forensic reports, hundreds of interviews and a careful rendering of the important scenes surrounding the incident.

A semi-fictional interpretation of “a minor and ultimately even negligible episode” of the Netanyahu family. A humanizing – and alienating – account of “the extreme tenacity of Roman politics”. We have reviewed many books, movies and TV shows from around the world in 2021; read on for five of our favorites.


1. No country for good girls

by Yashica Dutt, October 1

In 2014, two girls were found hanging from a mango tree in Katra Sadatganj, a remote hamlet in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. When their family refused to take the bodies down, forming a human chain around the tree, Indian media flocked to cover the grisly incident. Contrary to these mostly sensationalist accounts, Sonia Faleiro has sought to reconstruct the affair by The good girls through forensic reports, hundreds of interviews and a careful rendering of the important scenes surrounding the incident.

Faleiro’s book, released in February, is, as Yashica Dutt writes, “both a gripping tale of crime and an insightful commentary on the chasm between urban and rural India.” At the heart of the book, Dutt writes, “Faleiro rightly positions the two doomed girls, whose lives were cut short by a society that ultimately cared more about its so-called honor than about them and their happiness.”


2. How the Netanyahus explain the world

by Jessi Jezewska Stevens, June 19


Benjamin Netanyahu with an unidentified friend at the entrance to his family home in Jerusalem in 1967, and his father, Benzion Netanyahu, when he was a professor at the University of Denver in 1968.Foreign Policy Illustration/Israeli Government Press Office/Getty Images; Denver publication via getty historical archive images/photos

by Joshua Cohen The Netanyahus, released in June, falls into that category of genre books — not quite historical fiction, not quite nonfiction — that is currently gaining popularity. Set in the 1950s, the book follows what its subtitle calls “a minor and ultimately even negligible episode in the history of a very famous family” – when Benzion Netanyahu, the father of Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, visited a college in New York with his family in tow. The novel is both very funny and very serious, writes novelist Jessi Jezewska Stevens – and “part of the game of The Netanyahus is to guess which parts are true.

Somehow, writes Stevens, the novel is both a lark, a polemic and a study of nationalism and hegemony, and its success in “inserting the main problems of the Trump years – nativism , nationalism and national borders – set in a hilarious suburban family drama” can hardly be denied.


3. Why was Roman policy so tenacious?

by James Palmer, March 21

In A fatal thing happened on the way to the forum: murder in ancient Rome, which was released in March, Emma Southon argues that one of the main legacies of the Romans is freedom as violence. In Southon’s book, “the extreme tenacity of Roman politics”, as Foreign Police Associate Editor James Palmer says it was integral to the Roman idea of ​​freedom – a line that can be traced back to the pre-war South and even into contemporary Western societies. But the book’s genius, writes Palmer, is that it “simultaneously humanizes the Romans and estranges us from them, portraying a society that is both familiar ancestor and rabid monster.”


4. The Dictator’s Ghost

by Nicole Cliffe, February 14

La LloronaGyro Bustamante’s 2019 Guatemalan film which was shortlisted for Best International Picture at the 2021 Oscars, follows two well-worn horror tropes: that of a disgraced aristocratic family in a rotten mansion and the weeping woman (“La Llorona”) whose children died.

But Bustamante’s film, writes Nicole Cliffe, also focuses on a strong sense of specificity and place. “Always present at Bustamante La Llorona is the memory of the historical violence committed against the indigenous Maya,” writes Cliffe. The 36-year-old Guatemalan civil war hangs over the characters: a former dictator who avoids punishment for his role in the Guatemalan genocide of the 1980s, his family, and their Mayan staff. And, as these characters learn, that past cannot be buried.


5. The dark side of Rwanda’s renaissance

by Mvemba Phezo Dizolele, May 29

“The recent history of Africa’s Great Lakes region has in many ways been a dialogue between the living and the dead,” writes foreign policy analyst Mvemba Phezo Dizolele. “And when the living fail in their obligations to honor the dead – and go so far as to deny the crimes that caused so many deaths – they perpetuate the cycle of conflict in the region.”

This dialogue, writes Dizolele, consumes Michela Wrong Do Not Disturb: The Story of Political Murder and an African Regime Gone Wrong, a book published in March that documents the forces and political figures that have combined to create modern Rwanda, a country seemingly trapped in a relentless cycle of violence and denial. Centered on figures such as Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Ugandan President General Yoweri Museveni, Wrong chronicles how the Rwandan Patriotic Front, the world’s first refugee insurgency, came to exercise authoritarian control.

Share.

Comments are closed.