Caroline de GruyterEuropean Affairs Correspondent for NRC Handelsblad

Politics or history
The Grand Strategy of the Habsburg Empire by A. Wess Mitchell. This book tries to explain why the Habsburg Empire, as a grand power surrounded by jealous rivals, managed to survive for so long—and concludes that the Habsburg secret was to always play for time, foster friendships, rely on buffers, and delay or possibly avoid conflicts. It is impossible to read this book without drawing parallels with the EU, although strangely the author never once alludes to this.

Fiction
Berta Isla by Javier Marías. A long, winding novel about a woman married to a spy, exploring our capacity to deal with uncertainty, ambiguity, insignificance, and (self-)deception. Reading Marías with his almost musical cadence is like being carried by a strong river current: if you just leave the daily news behind and surrender, you are rewarded with a good story.

Movie, documentary, or podcast
France Culture podcasts. I used to listen to BBC Newshour podcasts, but gave up because the European coverage is getting poorer by the day. Now I select one or sometimes even two France Culture programs a day, usually a scientist, politician, philosopher, or author exploring one subject (sometimes newsy, sometimes not) for a full hour or more. It is long, satisfying, and always extremely relevant.

Florence GaubDeputy Director of the European Union Institute for Security Studies

Politics or history
The World of Yesterday by Stefan Zweig. Whose biography is this, Zweig’s or pre-EU Europe’s? Both died shortly after the book’s publication, but they were wonderful while they lasted.

Fiction
Nos derniers festins (Our Last Feasts) by Chantal Pelletier. Think 1984 meets chef Jamie Oliver: in 2040, the food police control our intake of meat, sugar, and fat and punish those who go off track. Scared? You should be.

Movie, documentary, or podcast
The Hidden Brain podcast. Since I started working more on foresight, I can’t get enough of learning how our own tool to do it—the mind—is full of trapdoors and halls of mirrors. This podcast sheds light on them in an entertaining and enlightening way.

Marc PieriniVisiting Scholar at Carnegie Europe

Politics or history
For anyone who has spent time in diplomacy or is keen on foreign policy, William J. Burns’s The Back Channel is a must. From an exceptional career as a U.S. diplomat, Burns has written a thoroughly documented book in which contemporary history unfolds together with anecdotes, personal remarks, and lots of declassified appendices. And above all, the book is written with utmost modesty.

Fiction
À son image (In Her Image) by Jérôme Ferrari. This novel is about Corsica and its many social and political mysteries, the background being France’s contemporary history and the Yugoslav Wars. A very talented writer.

Movie, documentary, or podcast
La mer en peinture (The Sea Through Paintings), a fifty-two-minute documentary from ARTE, in German or French. From Cézanne to Turner, Dalí to Courbet or Tintoretto, this film takes you across history, from mythology and epic battles to fascinating landscapes and fiery storms.

Javier SolanaPresident of the ESADE Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics

Politics or history
The Back Channel by William J. Burns; Our Man by George Packer; Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond; and The Infidel and the Professor by Dennis C. Rasmussen.

Movie, documentary, or podcast
Chernobyl (TV series); Roma (movie).

Ben TonraFull Professor and Head of International Relations at the School of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin

Politics or history
In The People vs. Democracy, Yascha Mounk sets out a fascinating analysis of the reality and pitfalls of divorcing the “liberal” from the “democracy.” Advocates liberals reengaging with nationalism rather than disdaining it.

Fall Out by Tim Shipman is still the best tick-tock on the Brexit imbroglio from its inception to its (thus far) failed execution. Fascinating—and frightening—the extent to which the UK agenda is driven exclusively by internal Conservative Party dynamics.

All Measures Short of War by Thomas J. Wright is a useful U.S.-centric geopolitical primer that argues for a “responsible competition”—presumably assuming a responsible occupant in the White House.

Tomáš ValášekDirector of Carnegie Europe

Politics or history
Army of None by Paul Scharre. Hands down one of the best military books in years. Paul does a fantastic job of laying out, in a dispassionate yet very human way, a set of arguments for and against autonomous weapons. No angle is left unconsidered. Written just simply enough to be accessible to most readers.

Fiction
The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide. I picked it up in Madrid, thinking it was easy summer reading for the flight back. I admit to a soft spot for Japanese writers, mainly Haruki Murakami, but even so, this book proved to be so much more than I expected. It had me mesmerized within minutes. Subtle, very visual, a wonderful exploration of the ineptitude of human interaction with all its miscommunication, silences, but also love.

Movie, documentary, or podcast
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Seen on a United Airlines flight from Washington to Brussels. I saw a glowing review a long time ago in the New Yorker, and the movie did not disappoint. A gritty tale of the futility of vengeance and violence, the strange ways of justice, and parental love. Beautifully acted and so wonderfully written that the turns in the story will leave you gasping.