In The Costs of Conversation: Obstacles to Peace Talks in Wartime, Oriana Skylar Mastro tackles an undertreated and undertheorized topic in security studies—the decision to begin negotiations with an adversary during war.  The result is an elegantly presented and persuasively argued theory that she applies to carefully considered case studies.  For scholars, Mastro’s book will be a valued addition to the literature on security studies as well as theoretically informed work on diplomatic history.  For policymakers, the book provides a straightforward logic to help untangle, clarify, and potentially correct mistaken intuition and conventional wisdom about the factors that shape an adversary’s willingness to enter negotiations during military conflict.

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