Judy Dempsey has asked leading experts to share their literary preferences with Strategic Europe’s readers by providing their suggested reads for the summer.

Jamie Sheadeputy assistant secretary general for Emerging Security Challenges, NATO

Foreign Policy

All the Missing Souls by David Sheffer

David Sheffer was the U.S. ambassador-at-large for War Crimes during the Clinton administration and I worked with him closely during the Kosovo crisis in 1999. He has written a superb and personal memoir about war crimes in the late 20th century and about the difficult, even tortuous process of establishing the war crimes tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda and the International Criminal Court. What makes the book remarkable is the mixture of great analysis and personal anecdotes and Sheffer's unflagging efforts to overcome objections within his own government as well as within the United Nations community more generally.

Other Non-fiction

The Second World War by Antony Beevor

There are thousands of books on World War II and even with growing historical distance, the number of new productions never seems to flag. This said, Beevor's book is a great read because he tells this familiar story with panache also from the perspective of those caught up in this dreadful cataclysm, both the soldiers and civilians. Even those people who think they know their history will find plenty of new facts and original observations to sustain their interest.

Fiction

Suite Française by Irène Némirovski

The classic portrait of France in the dreadful summer of 1940, with thousands on the roads fleeing South from the advancing German army. Némirovski wonderfully depicts the egotism and pettiness of human nature once society starts to collapse and people are put under pressure. But she shows the generous side as well. Apart from being a wonderfully historical document, Suite Française is also a powerful reminder to us that civilization and its stabilizing benefits are fragile and that we need to be eternally vigilant not to let the jungle back into Europe.

Guilty Pleasure

Tottenham Hotspur Fixture List for the 2012-2013 Season.

The celebrated former manager of Liverpool, Bill Shankley, once said, "some people think that football is a matter of life and death; but it is much more important than that". The week in Brussels may be fun and full of interesting political events but nothing beats escaping to London on the Eurostar on a Saturday afternoon to sit on the terraces of White Hart Lane and watch my beloved Spurs. Lots of legendary contests against Arsenal, Chelsea, and Man U, to look forward to, and this season even against our old rivals West Ham who are fortunately back in the Premiership.

A Classic, or Book You Always Return to

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

As an old timer who remembers the Cold War, I still find this one of the best evocations of life under Communism. At the same time, I am always trying to improve my knowledge of foreign languages and I have now read this novel in so many different languages and got to know the text so well, that it gives me the illusion that my foreign language skills are better than they really are. Have not been able to try it in the original Czech yet, however.

Olga Shumylo-Tapiolavisiting scholar, Carnegie Europe

Foreign Policy

Madam Secretary: A Memoir by Madeleine Albright. More than just a political memoir, it’s a unique combination of an American dream coming true, the challenges faced by a professional woman in top-level positions, and very sharp personal and political portraits of leaders.

Other Non-fiction

The Branch of Sakura and The Roots of an Oak-Tree by Vsevolod Ovchinnikov, a famous former political journalist. A two-part book about Japan and England, as one may guess from the title, it provides a delightful insight into Japanese and British cultures, traditions, and lives through the prism of Soviet eyes.

Planning to start Masha Gessen’s The Man Without a Face—one of the latest and perhaps most daring books on Vladimir Putin.

Fiction

The Spinoza Problem by a wonderful American psychologist named Irvin Yalom. Two parallel stories of Baruch Spinoza, a genius from the Age Enlightenment and Alfred Rosenberg, a demon and intellectually influential member of the Nazi Party that get constantly intertwined. A good read, close to my favorite is When Nietzsche Wept by Irvin Yalom.

To be followed by Haruki Murakami’s South of the Border, West of the Sun and Lawrence Durrell’s The Avignon Quintet.

Guilty Pleasure

Shantaram, a 900-page novel by Gregory David Roberts. His take on India and its people is what really makes me invest time in reading this lengthy book.

A Classic, or Book You Always Return to

Yasunari Kawabata’s novel Thousand Cranes for its tenderness, allusions, and search for beauty and Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being novel, love at first sight.

Kurt Volkersenior fellow and managing director of the Center on Transatlantic Relations, Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.

Foreign Policy

The Art of Intelligence: Lessons from a Life in the CIA's Clandestine Service, by Henry A. Crumpton. Hank Crumpton was a friend and colleague in the State Department. I knew about his role in Afghanistan, but never asked about his career before that. Apart from the riveting stories, there are two great things about this book. First, he demonstrates that the gritty work of intelligence is an honorable pursuit when anchored in supporting core human values. Second, he expects people in high positions to show leadership. Refreshing.

Other Non-fiction

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, by Walter Isaacson. Having grown up outside Philadelphia, Franklin was already a hometown hero. But this biography really puts into relief Franklin's extraordinary leadership qualities—industriousness, determination, creativity, cunning, humor, and rock solid commitment to human values without being a prude. To paraphrase Isaacson, he's the founding father who you'd most like to have a beer with, and if he were alive in the 2000s, he would have invented the iPhone, had Steve Jobs not already done so.

Fiction

Though I would love to, I haven't read a great fiction book for a while, so I'll go with another non-fiction: Ian Bremmer's Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World. I admire Ian and think this is a terrific book, but I see the world very differently. For me, the world is measured in the irrepressible advancement of human freedom and human development, of which the United States has been a leader for two centuries. I don't believe in declinism—even relative—because the real story is the rise of humanity, which continues apace even as measures of global political economy power shift. The United States doesn't lose standing, but gains a better world.

Guilty Pleasure

Any of the Jeeves stories by P.G. Wodehouse.

A Classic, or Book You Always Return to

Every once in a while, I go back to Henry Kissinger's Years of Upheaval and read the chapter on the "Year of Europe". Great reminder that while it seems like things have changed, they really haven't.