CIR Book Clubs

Great reads and great discussions. Indispensable to the global citizen.

Non-Fiction Club

Six times a year, members of the non-fiction book club select and discuss a book, which provides insights into current and historical international issues. Meetings are typically held from 5:00 -6:30 pm on the first Tuesday of odd-numbered months, at the CIR office: 413 Grant Avenue, Suite D.  The office is just north of Paseo de Peralta and right next to the concrete bridge that joins Grant with Rosario Street. NOTE that you can park on the west side of the Wells Fargo building.

Call Virginia McCallum, Book Club Coordinator, for more information: 515-290-1221,

Discussion of the book is from 5:00 – 6:30 in the CIR conference room. We always have wine and cheese available and CIR members are welcome to join the group, even if you have not read the book, to sample whether you will enjoy the meeting. To be included on the book group email list or for more information about the CIR Non-Fiction Book Group, email Virginia McCallum at

Also if you have suggestions for future book selections, let Virginia know. We’re always interested in recommendations.

The book selection for July 3rd, 2018 is:

Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’ Trap, by Graham Allison

The book may now be either already out-of-date or very current. For informed analysis of prospects for the U.S. – North Korean summit check the website for 38North

Book Overview

Can North Korea drag the U.S. and China into war? Or will they find a way to avoid war as effectively as the U.S. did in crafting Cold War strategy to meet the challenge of the Soviet Union. Allison argues the most significant world event of the last several decades was not 9/11 or the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was the rapid rise of China. Is it possible the U.S. and China are headed toward a war neither wants due to the pattern of structural stress that results when a rising power challenges a ruling one?

Today, as a rising China approaches an immovable America and both Xi Jinping and Donald Trump promise to make their countries “great again,” the case looks grim. Unless China is willing to scale back its ambitions or Washington can accept becoming number two in the Pacific, a trade conflict, cyberattack, or accident at sea could soon escalate into all-out war.

The author shows how close we are to the unthinkable, while stressing war is not inevitable, and describes what painful steps the United States and China must take to avoid disaster today.