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Rough Waters and Other Stories: Facing Ethical Dilemmas

Title: Rough Waters and Other Stories
Subtitle: Facing Ethical Dilemmas
Subject Classification: Morals, Society and Culture, Philosophy, Literature and Literary Criticism
BIC Classification: HPQ, JF, HP
Binding: Hardback, Paperback, ebook, pp.166
Publication date: 10th February 2022
ISBN (Hardback): 978-1-871891-37-9
ISBN (Paperback): 978-1-80441-147-6
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-871891-38-6


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Rough Waters and Other Stories is a collection of original stories addressing different ethical questions and dilemmas. An introduction makes connections among the stories, puts them in personal and political perspective, and anchors them in a tragic understanding of life and ethics. The characters in Rough Waters and Other Stories – some based on real historical people - must make or finesse ethical choices, some of them straight-forward, others tragic in nature. Tragic choices involve trade-offs between seemingly irreconcilable but important goals. Alternatively, they entail committing ourselves to decisions or policies whose outcomes are uncertain. We are desperate to avoid tragic choices and prone to convince ourselves – often in the face of good evidence – that we can satisfy all of our desires or needs instead of making difficult choices between or among them. We also tend to convince ourselves that our decisions or policies well succeed in proportion to the degree that we feel compelled to commit to them. A standard trope of Greek tragedy – think here of Oedipus – is that our choices sometimes lead directly to the outcomes we are trying desperately to avoid.


Author: Richard Ned Lebow was born in France in 1941, raised in the United States, and resides in Etna, NH; London, England; and Cortona, Tuscany. He is Professor of International Political Theory in the War Studies Department of King’s College London; Bye-Fellow of Pembroke College, University of Cambridge; and James O. Freedman Presidential Professor, Emeritus at Dartmouth College. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and recipient of numerous honorary degrees. Ned is married, the father of three, and a proud grandparent. He enjoys running, back-country skiing, hiking, tennis, classical music, and building dry-walls. His first novel, Obsessions, a classic British murder mystery, is published by Pegasus.


"Ned Lebow’s stories are provocative, original and challenging works reminiscent of Brecht’s Lehrstücke. They are about risk, adventure and cheating the gods. A must for students and professors."

- Julia Pascal PhD, Playwright


"In a remarkable turn to fiction, distinguished political scientist Richard Ned Lebow immerses readers in a range of encounters with ethical dilemmas, from the heart wrenching to the amusing. In some of the stories, I could see danger ahead; in others, I was surprised along with the characters.  Each story is itself compelling and intricate; as a whole, they comprise a creative, innovative collection that defies easy resolution to some of the most profound and tragic situations we face in personal and political life."

- Professor Amy Shuman, The Ohio State University

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