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My book Aftershocks: Great Powers and Domestic Reforms in the Twentieth Century (2017) is available from Princeton University Press. It's part of their International History and Politics series.

• Named one of the best books of 2017 by Foreign Affairs.

H-Diplo Roundtable Forum (With Susan Hyde, David Edelstein, and Kyle Lascurettes), January 2019.

• A Washington Post reading recommendation (Dan Drezner).

• "This landmark study...illuminates the deep connections between global shifts in power and waves of domestic regime change... No book has made a stronger case that the fate of democracy is tied to the rise and fall of great powers and the leadership of liberal hegemonic states." — G. John Ikenberry, Foreign Affairs


• "Aftershocks is an important, well-argued and well-written contribution to the literature on the international dimension of change in political regimes." — Nicholas Bouchet, International Affairs

• "Highly recommended...The conclusion is especially strong and provocative, speculating that though democracy has advantages that prevent crises from becoming so severe they threaten stability, autocratic capitalism may be a viable alternative if democracy fails to provide security and prosperity for its people." — Choice

 • "Aftershocks reveals the big picture behind the most important historical trends of the past hundred years ...a vivid tapestry of history." — John Bacher, Peace Magazine

full reviews: Foreign Affairs, The Washington Post, Peace Magazine, Ny Tid [Norway], International Affairs


Chapter 1 is available from the Princeton Press website HERE.

Over the past century, democracy spread around the world in turbulent bursts of reform that swept across national borders. Aftershocks offers a new global- oriented explanation for these cascades — not only of democracy but also of its twentieth-century rivals, fascism and communism.  

I argue that abrupt "hegemonic shocks" — episodes of rise and fall of powerful states – create powerful and often-overlooked incentives for sweeping waves of domestic transformations. The hidden links between shocks and waves have key implications for how we think about democracy, autocracy, and the global order.


"Ambitious and lucid, Aftershocks offers an alternative way to view twentieth-century global history, and is a book that belongs in the company of works by Gilpin and Ikenberry. In our own time of global power shifts, Gunitsky's fundamental claim — that hegemonic transitions explain the spread and contraction of democracy across entire regions — is vitally important and impossible to ignore." — John M. Owen IV, University of Virginia

"By delving into how international dynamics shape the spread of democracy and autocracy over time, Gunitsky presents a much-needed theoretical and empirical synthesis for anyone interested in international relations and domestic politics. As the world faces changing global powers and declining support for democracy, Gunitsky's book is essential reading with significant practical implications." — Susan D. Hyde, University of California, Berkeley

"Aftershocks examines the role of international factors in shaping the rise and fall of regime types. Contending that a regime cannot be understood in purely domestic terms, Gunitsky explores the nature of global influences and how they work. This book has a big historical sweep and is filled with well-chosen examples." — Peter Gourevitch, University of California, San Diego

"Aftershocks makes a strong and creative theoretical argument while providing a wide variety of convincing evidence. This is a really great book." — Jon Pevehouse, University of Wisconsin-Madison