In this Issue – Reviews

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This issue features five book reviews – all of which our reviewers seemed to enjoy a lot. We begin with Diane Desierto’s review of Tom Ginsburg’s ‘magisterial’ Democracies and International Law. Desierto notes the urgency of Ginsburg’s inquiry at a time when authoritarian powers ‘repurpose, cherry-pick, and distort human rights for their private political ends, economic gain, and the entrenchment of their respective authoritarian regimes’. Next is Tom Ruys, who reviews Agatha Verdebout’s Rewriting Histories of the Use of Force, which fundamentally challenges the assumption that 19th-century international law was ‘indifferent’ to the use of force by states  ‘an eye-opener for those of us (all of us?) who have been repeating the mantra that, throughout the long 19th century, States could go to war “for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all”’.  In the third review, Ramona Vijeyarasa asks whether gender constitutionalism can advance women’s rights around the world and whether there is any hope for transnational action on this topic in her review of Global Gender Constitutionalism and Women’s Citizenship. Vijeyarasa applauds Ruth Rubio-Marín for her critical and insightful analysis and for addressing a tendency in comparative law scholarship to overrepresent the Global North. With Chris Whomersley’s review, we move from gender constitutionalism to German Practice in International Law 2019, also starting with a G, but otherwise a rather different genre. Whomersley commends Stefan Talmon and his team for having brought to light Germany’s engagement with international law: he highlights the fact that the volume does not merely collect practice, but offers critical comment (‘indeed sometimes very critical comments’). Finally, Cecily Rose reviews Fulvia Staiano’s Transnational Organized Crime: Challenging International Law Principles on State Jurisdiction, and while she questions some of the assumptions and conclusion of the book, this, too, is ‘a rich resource for anyone interested in the legal tools’ to fight transnational organized crime.

Five exciting books, then, to inform and open minds. Happy reading!

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