University of Michigan Press Books for Understanding
As an academic publisher, it is our mission to publish books and provide resources that further the understanding of current events. According to the Association of University Presses, “Often the most complete and illuminating background research and knowledge for a breaking news story is only available in scholarly books from presses committed to the public interest.”
The list of books below are all Open Access, meaning they were made immediately and freely accessible upon publication to anyone with an internet connection. The open circulation of these texts has had substantial impact: by the end of 2023, these books have cumulatively been accessed over 27,000 times by readers in 126 countries and territories and at over 125 institutions.
The books in this list provide peer-reviewed scholarship on a number of serious issues like the history of war in the Middle East, religious violence, the spread of disinformation in politics, and attacks on free speech.
- Making Endless War: The Vietnam and Arab-Israeli Conflicts in the History of International Law, edited by Brian Cuddy and Victor Kattan (2023). See also this December 18 review by the LSE Review of Books, which said this book “provides a powerful statement on how episodes of violence, however specific they might appear, cannot be understood independent of greater forces – including (and perhaps especially) the principles and institutions that present their mission as an effort to constrain armed conflict.”
- Torture, Humiliate, Kill: Inside the Bosnian Serb Camp System, by Hikmet Karcic (2022). This is a case study of the human rights abuses that occur in war, drawing on the 1992 (Muslim) Bosnian and (Christian) Serbian conflict that has attracted a lot of comparative interest.
- Struggles for Political Change in the Arab World: Regimes, Oppositions, and External Actors after the Spring, edited by Lisa Blayes, Amir Hamzawy, and Hesham Sallam (2022). This volume explains how relevant political players in Arab countries among regimes, opposition movements, and external actors have adapted ten years after the onset of the Arab Spring. “This volume showcases writing by some of the best scholars working on politics in the Arab world today, all of them at the top of their game,” says a review published in Foreign Affairs.
- Creating Chaos Online: Disinformation and Subverted Post-Publics, by Asta Zelenkauskaite (2022). This book unmasks the disinformation propagated by Russian trolling in public discourse, shedding light on the tactics of disinformation campaigns more generally.
- In Defense of Free Speech in Universities, by Amy T. Y. Lai (2023). Looking at numerous free speech disputes in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada, the book argues for the equal application of the free speech principle to all forms of expressions to facilitate respectful debates.
- Book of the Disappeared: The Quest for Transnational Justice, edited by Jennifer Heath and Ashraf Zahedi (2023). The authors argue that the search for the disappeared must be conducted for three reasons: to locate, identify, and return the remains of the disappeared to family members for proper burial; to gather evidence to hold perpetrators accountable; and to set the historical record straight.
- Floundering Stability: US Foreign Policy in Egypt, by Amir Magdy Kamel (2023). The US commitment to stability—both domestically and abroad—has been a consistent feature in the way Washington, DC carries out international relations. It is challenged today. This book explores US Stability Policy—how it evolved over time and how it was implemented in Egypt.
- Mediterranean in Dis/Order: Space, Power, and Identity, edited by Rosita Di Peri and Daniel Meier (2023). While most studies of the Mediterranean are focused on the western half, this book skews east with a particular focus on Tunisia, Libya, Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, Morocco, and the EU Mediterranean policy.
- Radicalization in Theory and Practice: Understanding Religious Violence in Western Europe, edited by Thierry Balzacq and Elyammine Settoul (2023). This book identifies the mechanisms that explicitly link radical religious beliefs and radical actions and challenges conventional assumptions that young men of Muslim heritage are most likely to be radicalized.
- International Security in a World of Fragile States: Islamic States and Islamist Organizations, by S. Yaqub Ibrahimi (2022). This book focuses on the rise of the Islamist-oriented terrorist organizations called Jihadi Salafi Groups (JSGs). These generally originate in fragile states and challenge more reestablished groups such as Hamas and Fatah as being too moderate.
- Presidential Accountability in Wartime: President Bush, the Treatment of Detainees, and the Laws of War, by Stuart Streichler (2023). Using the treatment of war-on-terror detainees under President George W. Bush as a case study, the author integrates international humanitarian law into a constitutional analysis of the repercussions of presidential war powers for human rights around the world.
- Beyond the Death of God: Religion in 21st Century International Politics, edited by Simone Raudino and Patricia Sohn (2022). The authors and contributors demonstrate that religion is a significant force that drives societies and polities around the world, and that a radical change in the Western understanding of value-driven global politics is needed.