Top 5 by Venus in Arms – Top of 2014 (week 36)

Last post of the year for Venus in Arms. A very special Top 5 this week: the Top of 2014 in terms of movies, books, papers, etc. A (very debatable) rank viewed through the lens of political science and international relations.

  • Tv series. At the top: “The Americans“. In other words: Soviet spies, Reagan, Nicaragua and Contras, Stealth technology, Afghanistan and the KGB. As stated by the Washington Post: ‘The Americans has everything we say we value in this “golden age of television”: high-tension storytelling, precise writing, big surprises, period details and deeply conflicted characters‘. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys are simply amazing. We are desperatly waiting for the third season.
  • Books. Among several excellent books on political science, IR and security studies we have selected: “Smuggler Nation: How Illicit Trade Made America” by Peter Andreas (Oxford University Press, 472 pages). Andreas, who has already analyzed the relationship between criminal networks and contemporary conflicts, focuses on the role played by smuggling in America’s birth, westward expansion, and economic development. A very brilliant and provocative manuscript. P.S: In 2015 we hope you’ll rank this book as the best one…
  • Movies. Several movies have focused on the relationship between war, pace and power. Waiting for “American Sniper“, we have selected “How to Train Your Dragon 2” Yes, it is a computer-animated action fantasy film but this sequel is extremely bold and original, examining hot issues such as tolerance, violence, revenge, ecology, war and peace (and constantly quoting Star Wars).  P.S. the fact the one of the editors of ViA is forced to watch almost only cartoons (because of his loved son) represents a selection bias…
  • Blogs. A source of inspiration for our work is surely  Political Violence @ a Glance. The contributors focuses on problems related to violence and protest in the world’s conflict zones, bridging the gap between practice and (IR) theory.
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