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Global Development: A Cold War History, Sara Lorenzini

Reviewed by Igor Logvinenko

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This book provides an impressive new account of the history of international development. Global Development: A Cold War History covers the decades of the Cold War but also offers an insightful historical background that stretches back to the age of late colonialism. Sara Lorenzini makes several important arguments and uses decades worth of material spanning multiple complex subjects across several continents. Political scientists, in particular, will find this volume gratifying as it highlights the centrality of politics to the practice of international development from its earliest days.

Lorenzini’s argument is multifaceted. First, she argues that the Cold War as a global political struggle was central to the practice of development in the twentieth century. Second, the foreign aid aims of the superpowers were always political, elevating the national interests of the United States and the Soviet Union ahead of humanitarian concerns and other considerations. Finally, Lorenzini demonstrates that universalist notions of development, although originally intended as the conceptual core of “international development,” ultimately failed and that the lessons of that failure have not yet been fully absorbed by the development establishment, particularly in the West.

Global Development is an ambitious project in that it ai

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