Book Club

Twelve times per year, members of the non-fiction book club meet to discuss either one of six annual book selections, or during the interim months, a long article on topics related to the books that have been chosen. All selections provide insights into current and historical international issues. Meetings are typically held from 5:00-6:30 pm on the first Tuesday of the month.

We are always excited to welcome new participants to the Book Club (it is free to join)! For more information, or to be included on the CIR Book Club email list, reach out to Virginia McCallum, CIR’s Book Club Coordinator, at If you have suggestions for future book selections, let Virginia know. We’re always interested in recommendations!

The CIR Book Club meets 12 times per year, BUT we only read 6 books. We read only non-fiction concerned with foreign affairs, present and historical context for current events. We read a book every other month starting February of each year. The months between the book months we read long articles about issues in the book selections. The articles will be sent directly to book club members.

2021 Schedule of Books

February 2021:
Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East    (Kim Ghattas)
Kim Ghattas weaves the  history, geopolitics, and culture of the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran, that were born from the sparks of the 1979 Iranian revolution and fueled by American policy.

April 2021:
China’s Western Horizon: Beijing and the New Geopolitics of Eurasia (Daniel Markey)
China’s foreign policy initiatives, even the vaunted “Belt and Road”, will be shaped and redefined as they confront the ground realities of local and regional politics outside China.

June 2021:
The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy (Stephen M. Walt)
Stephen Walt places the onus of U.S. decline on its foreign policy establishment, hegemonic liberalism as an article of faith, and a lack of accountability for collective failure.

August 2021:
The Sovereignty Wars: Reconciling America with the World   (Stewart M. Patrick)
Stewart Patrick challenges the reasoning that international cooperation undermines sovereignty and explains advancing U.S. interests in a complex world, which can require difficult trade-offs such as defending the U.S. Constitution, protecting U.S. freedom of action, and maximizing U.S. control over outcomes.

October 2021:
The Human Tide: How Population Shaped the Modern World (Paul Morland)
Combining human anecdotes with statistics, Paul Morland examines the influence of demography on history – in the initiation of wars, relations between nations and peoples, migration patterns that made and unmade nations and empires, social relations between men and women.

December 2021:
Blaming Immigrants: Nationalism and the Economics of Global Movement (Neeraj Kaushal)
Global migration is not a crisis; the number of immigrants as a proportion of world population has not changed for over a century; immigration has many positive consequences for the host society.