Robert Spain

Paul Collier is an optimist. Following the contrails left in the wake of The Bottom Billion, Wars, Guns and Votes examines baser elements of society (poverty, violence and more) to bolster his conclusion that the spread of democracy is a sure way to lift billions out of the muck and mire of destitution and political turmoil. Robert Spain takes a look at the provocative hypothesis to find that, despite some misfires here and there, Collier appears to be onto something. 

Lauren Young

On October 9, 2009, the Nobel Committee announced that President Barack Obama had been awarded the coveted peace prize for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." How can Obama live up to such lofty expectations? One almost needs a roadmap. In Power & Responsibility, three authors provide just that. Lauren Young reviews.

Malalai Joya

In 2005, Malalai Joya became the youngest person ever elected to the Afghan parliament. Two years later, she was suspended for her denunciation of warlords and their cronies in government. Under constant threats of violence and death, Joya continues to expose anti-democratic forces in Afghanistan. Recently, she launched her new book, A Woman Among Warlords, in New York City. Here is the text of her urgent, emotional speech of that night. This essay is part of The Mantle's series Against Censorship.

Book review Palestine by Joe Sacco
Shaun Randol

The conflict between Israel and Palestine is not easy to grasp. That it seems like it has been going on forever has also diminished the “appeal” of engaging the conflict, or at least the novelty of doing so.