What We Are Reading Today: Censored

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Updated 22 February 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Censored

Author: Margaret E. Roberts

As authoritarian governments around the world develop sophisticated technologies for controlling information, many observers have predicted that these controls would be easily evaded by savvy internet users. In Censored, Margaret Roberts demonstrates that even censorship that is easy to circumvent can still be enormously effective. Taking advantage of digital data harvested from the Chinese internet and leaks from China’s Propaganda Department, Roberts sheds light on how censorship influences the Chinese public. Drawing parallels between censorship in China and the way information is manipulated in the US and other democracies, she reveals how internet users are susceptible to control even in the most open societies, says a review on the Princeton University Press website. Censored gives an unprecedented view of how governments encroach on the media consumption of citizens.


What We Are Reading Today: The World: A Brief Introduction

Updated 05 July 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The World: A Brief Introduction

Author: Richard Haass

The ambition of Richard Haass’ new book is clear from its title: The World: A Brief Introduction.
In just 400 pages, Haass, who has been the president of the nonpartisan Council on Foreign Relations since 2003, offers a primer on world affairs.
“The whole lesson of this pandemic, and the whole lesson of 9/11, is we can’t ignore the world, or if we do ignore the world, it’s at our peril,” Haass says.
“These oceans that surround us are not moats. We’ve got to pay attention to the world and we’ve got to fix things here at home.”
Mark Atwood Lawrence said in a review for The New York Times that the book eschews any interest in academic theories, which Haass gratuitously dismisses as “too abstract and too far removed from what is happening to be of value to most of us.”
Instead, Haass promises a practical guide to help everyday people understand global forces in which their lives are increasingly enmeshed, even if they do not always know it or like it.
The author’s “restrained approach does not mean that the book lacks big takeaways,” said the review.