What We Are Reading Today: Dreyer’s English by Benjamin Dreyer

Updated 21 February 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Dreyer’s English by Benjamin Dreyer

  • The book not only lays down rules but offers tips for writers who want to be clear and elegant as well as correct

Benjamin Dreyer has presented a splendid book that is part manual, part memoir, and chockfull of suggestions for tightening and clarifying prose. 

“Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style” is a treat for those who delight in words and arranging them well. 

The book not only lays down rules but offers tips for writers who want to be clear and elegant as well as correct, states Sarah Lyall in a review published in The New York Times. 

Dreyer is vice president, executive managing editor and copy chief, of Random House. He began his publishing career as a freelance proofreader and copy editor. 

A graduate of Northwestern University, he lives in New York City. He has copyedited books by authors including E. L. Doctorow, David Ebershoff, Frank Rich, and Elizabeth Strout, as well as Let Me Tell You, a volume of previously uncollected work by Shirley Jackson.


What We Are Reading Today: Leadership and the Rise of Great Powers by Yan Xuetong

Updated 25 March 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Leadership and the Rise of Great Powers by Yan Xuetong

  • Yan shows how rising states like China transform the international order by reshaping power distribution and norms

While work in international relations has closely examined the decline of great powers, not much attention has been paid to the question of their rise. The upward trajectory of China is a particularly puzzling case. How has it grown increasingly important in the world arena while lagging behind the US and its allies across certain sectors? 

Borrowing ideas of political determinism from ancient Chinese philosophers, Leadership and the Rise of Great Powers explains China’s expanding influence by presenting a moral-realist theory that attributes the rise and fall of nations to political leadership. Yan Xuetong shows that the stronger a rising state’s political leadership, the more likely it is to displace a prevailing state in the international system. 

Yan defines political leadership through the lens of morality, specifically the ability of a government to fulfill its domestic responsibility and maintain international strategic credibility. Examining leadership at the personal, national, and international levels. 

Yan shows how rising states like China transform the international order by reshaping power distribution and norms. Yan also considers the reasons for America’s diminishing international stature even as its economy, education system, military, political institutions, and technology hold steady. The polarization of China and the US will not result in another Cold War scenario, but their mutual distrust will ultimately drive the world center from Europe to East Asia.