Book Reviews

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...of On Corruption in America -- And What Is at Stake

Publishers' Weekly


In this sweeping and remarkably lucid account...Chayes...details how the networks of contemporary "high-rollers"...have changed the outcome of elections and tanked the economy, and how the individual involved have consistently traded favors and and bailed each other out of trouble....Chayes's research dazzles.  This intricate and impressive expose will galvanize readers to take action.



Washington Post

An ambitious book that makes a reader do a loit of thinking.



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...of Thieves of State

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Corruption Is a Much Bigger Problem for the GOP in 2018 than Collusion

by Susan Grimsby

May 27, 2018

Thieves of State is an important work three years after publication, not only because it reveals so much that is wrong with our military/diplomatic intervention in trouble spots, but because today, within these 262 pages, we are able to recognize exactly how our current government is operating.


The Wall Street Journal 
Two Cheers for Corruption

By Deirdre N. McCloskey

Feb. 27, 2015 

The theme of Sarah Chayes’s “Thieves of State” is that corruption can’t be ignored as a source of international instability. The injustice of it enrages people. Corruption thus becomes “an important driver of conflict worldwide,” as Ms. Chayes puts it. 


Thieves of State, by Sarah Chayes
By Giles Foden
February 20, 2015
An important book that should be required reading for officials in foreign service, and for those working in commerce or the military.


Do Corrupt Governments Breed Political Violence?
Review of Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security, by Sarah Chayes

By Carlos Lozada

January 16, 2015

The trouble with fraud and bribery and the rest is not simply their moral evil or economic toll, Chayes argues. The real danger is that an abusive government can elicit violent responses, including religious extremism, putting the survival of the state at risk. The case she makes is anecdotal but alarming.


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Corruption and Revolt
Does Tolerating Graft Undermine National Security?

By Patrick Radden Keefe

January 19, 2015

Corruption creeps in, unnoticed, "like some odorless gas," Sarah Chayes writes in her new book...and confounds policy objectives without attracting much policy attention.


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...of Punishment of Virtue

Rise of the Warlords

Freed of Mullah Omar's Yoke, Afghanistan slid into corruption and violence.

September 17, 2006

Griffe Witte

Chayes...sticks to what she sees and hears from her perch living among Afghans in Kandahar, the deeply traditional city and former Taliban stronghold that is at the heart of the country's past, present and future.

But what a perch it is.


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Taliban Resurgent

September 17, 2006

David Rohde

Chayes gained an unparalleled understanding of southern Afghanistan, one of the most important yet least understood fronts in the war on terrorism.  In elegant and incisive prose, she brings to life the region's rich history, complex politics and proud ethnic Pashtun tribesmen.