Gary J. Bass, professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University:
Joseph Lelyveld, Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India. An epic account of Gandhi's unfinished struggles against racism, Hindu-Muslim hatreds, caste, and poverty. Evocative, humane, incisive, and beautifully written.
David Rohde and Kristen Mulvihill, A Rope and a Prayer: A Kidnapping from Two Sides. A super-sad true love story by the New York Times reporter who escaped from Taliban captivity, and his wife, who struggled to save him. A propulsive and harrowing read, packed with hard-won lessons about the Taliban, journalism, and bravery.
Petina Gappah, An Elegy for Easterly. A collection of lyrical, accomplished stories about lives in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe. Full of compassion, satire, and wit.
Aaron David Miller, public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars:
Raymond Chandler's classic detective novel The Big Sleep. A book filled with life lessons for foreign-policy practitioners and analysts, as well as normal human beings. It's a cautionary and complex tale of deception, ambiguity, and illusion with real resonance for our current predicament in the Middle East.
Reinhold Niebuhr, The Irony of American History. Still the best take on the folly that America can (and should) run the world.
Ben Macintyre, Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal. A story of espionage and betrayal during World War II, brilliantly told and perfect for the beach.
Tom Rachman, The Imperfectionists. For those who feel nostalgia or just plain curiosity about the wonders of daily newspapers and the life of journalists abroad, this is one you won't put down.