Tragic Mind: Fear, Fate, and the Burden of Power

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Tragic Mind: Fear, Fate, and the Burden of Power
A moving meditation on recent geopolitical crises, viewed through the lens of ancient and modern tragedy

"Spare, elegant and poignant. . . . If there is a single contemporary book that should be pressed into the hands of those who decide issues of war and peace, this is it."--John Gray, New Statesman

"It is tragic that Robert D. Kaplan's luminous The Tragic Mind is so urgently needed."--George F. Will

Some books emerge from a lifetime of hard-won knowledge. Robert D. Kaplan has learned, from a career spent reporting on wars, revolutions, and international politics in Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia, that the essence of geopolitics is tragedy. In The Tragic Mind, he employs the works of ancient Greek dramatists, Shakespeare, German philosophers, and the modern classics to explore the central subjects of international politics: order, disorder, rebellion, ambition, loyalty to family and state, violence, and the mistakes of power.

The great dilemmas of international politics, he argues, are not posed by good versus evil--a clear and easy choice--but by contests of good versus good, where the choices are often searing, incompatible, and fraught with consequences. A deeply learned and deeply felt meditation on the importance of lived experience in conducting international relations, this is a book for everyone who wants a profound understanding of the tragic politics of our time.

Publication Date: 
January 17, 2023