Robert CooperVisiting Senior Fellow at LSE IDEAS

Politics or history
East West Street by Philippe Sands starts with family history—in Lviv (previously Lemberg), Vienna, and Paris via Norwich—and the legal scholars who developed the concepts of crimes against humanity and genocide. Starts in Lemberg University, finishes in Nuremberg.

Fiction
Re-reading stories with happy endings: Silas Marner by George Eliot, Playback by Raymond Chandler, and The Clicking of Cuthbert (a collection of short stories) by P. G. Wodehouse.

Ulrike FrankePolicy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations

Politics or history
Has the West Lost It? A Provocation by Kishore Mahbubani. I am recommending this book not because I agree with it—or even like it very much. I am recommending it because for me it was great food for thought, in particular about Europe’s relationship with China and Europe’s geopolitical interests, both topics we in Europe need to urgently think more about.

Fiction
Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton. A fascinating sci-fi view into the future, focused on the changes we will be able—and willing—to make to our bodies. Dayton also brilliantly works in cultural stereotypes and potential geopolitical changes.

Movie, documentary, or podcast
Sicherheitshalber (As a Precaution). How could I miss this opportunity to tell you about the excellent German-language podcast on security and defense policy I host with three colleagues? Check it out if you want to hear more about German thinking on European and international security questions.

Ben HodgesPershing Chair at the Center for European Policy Analysis and Partner at Berlin Global Advisors

Politics or history
I’ve just ordered Rick Atkinson’s The British Are Coming. I look forward to reading it this summer as I think about America’s fight for independence and how the Brits relied on European allies to help them.

Movie, documentary, or podcast
I plan to watch . . . again . . . Bohemian Rhapsody!

Constanze StelzenmüllerRobert Bosch Senior Fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings

Politics or history
The Back Channel by William J. Burns and Our Man by George Packer. A memoir and a portrait, both riveting, about the lives of two top U.S. diplomats who could not have been more different. Together, they weave a compelling composite depiction of America’s unipolar moment.

Fiction
The Virtue of Nationalism by Yoram Hazony. As a book of history, it’s fiction; as history, it’s Carl Schmitt for people who have never heard of Carl Schmitt. But it’s a compelling narrative for the tribal ethno-chauvinism of the extreme right.

Movie, documentary, or podcast
Lawfare, edited by my Brookings colleagues Benjamin Wittes, Susan Hennessey, and Quinta Jurejic. Incisive, trenchant—the must-hear podcast on all matters relating to national security and the law.

Jan TechauSenior Fellow and Director of the Europe Program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States

Politics or history
American Dialogue by Joseph J. Ellis. When America loses its bearings, it goes back to its founders to solicit advice. Ellis is one of the preeminent historians of America’s early years, and in his latest book he consults Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton, Franklin, and Madison on today’s issues of race, equality, law, and foreign policy. Owning such a unique set of learned and deeply committed leaders as your political, intellectual, and philosophical reserve power is a national treasure not many other countries can boast.

Fiction
Kronos’ Kinder (Cronus’s Children) by Sergei Lebedev (German translation from the original Russian). The German-Russian cultural and political love-hate relationship is a mystery to many outsiders, and few books offer as profound an explanation for it as this one. Lebedev charts the tragic, violent, merciless history of the Russian branch of a German family that goes through the violence of czarist and Soviet times, Nazi wars, Stalinist persecution, and all the rest. In his meticulously researched, amazingly poetic yet hauntingly unsentimental book, the dark richness of European history comes to life. This is knot-in-your-stomach material.

Movie, documentary, or podcast
First Man by Damien Chazelle. When, in 1962, Neil Armstrong joins the cadre of astronauts designated to get America to moon, he is a troubled man. Behind the controlled emotions of the navy aviator and test pilot looms the pain and helplessness caused by the loss of his beloved daughter, Karen. On the surface, this is the story of a man whose incredible skills and grit are outdone only by his emotional restraint and contained character. At a deeper level, Chazelle’s beautiful film tells us how tragedy and triumph are the closest of siblings.

Maha YahyaDirector of the Carnegie Middle East Center

Politics or history
The Back Channel by William J. Burns: a gripping take on his days as a diplomat, highlighting the missteps that led up to some of today’s Middle East chaos and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Burns skillfully and perhaps ruefully highlights the gap between knowing and doing and, for better or worse, what it takes to make foreign policy when the voices of reason are overwhelmed by the hubris of victory or the drums of war.

Fiction
Tinkers by Paul Harding. A novel that pulls you in from the get-go with a poetic narrative about what makes life life. It examines the condensed time of humans through reflections on memories, loss, family ties, the passing of time, and a past that is never really the past.

Movie, documentary, or podcast
The Music of Strangers, directed by Morgan Neville. A poignant telling of the personal stories of six musicians in the Silk Road Ensemble of cellist Yo-Yo Ma, several of whom escaped war and repressive regimes, such as Kinan Azmeh and Kevork Mourad of Syria. Through this ensemble the musicians bring together an improbable set of instruments as they fuse and cross-pollinate different musical traditions to invent new ones while cultivating empathy and understanding of one another’s cultures.