History Book Reviews

THE HOUSE OF TWENTY THOUSAND BOOKS by Sasha Abramsky
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"If you finish this brilliant, realized book thinking you need to own more books, you're to be forgiven. A wonderful celebration of the mind, history, and love."
Memoir of Jewish intellectual life and universal history alike, told through a houseful of books, their eccentric collectors, and the rooms in which they dwelled. Read full book review >
THE MAKING OF ASIAN AMERICA by Erika Lee
HISTORY
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"A powerful, timely story told with method and dignity."
A sweeping study of the fastest growing group in the United States that underscores the shameful racist regard white Americans have long held for Asian immigrants. Read full book review >

ZERO NIGHT by Mark Felton
HISTORY
Released: Aug. 25, 2015

"In this exciting book, Felton has captivatingly captured the bravery of the prisoners."
Military historian Felton (China Station: The British Military in the Middle Kingdom, 2013, etc.) delivers a page-turner about one particularly daring escape from a Nazi POW camp during World War II.Read full book review >
THE END OF TSARIST RUSSIA by Dominic Lieven
HISTORY
Released: Aug. 18, 2015

"A Russian scholar opens up new, even startling historical connections."
Fresh research at the Foreign Ministry in Moscow (since closed) yields an insightful new look at Russia's pivotal role in the making of World War I. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 17, 2015

"A consistently fine appreciation of the medical maverick who, as much as any other, helped make the Space Age possible."
An author specializing in aviation tells the remarkable, almost-forgotten story of an aerospace pioneer. Read full book review >

HISTORY
Released: Aug. 15, 2015

"There are not enough superlatives to describe the wealth of information in this book and the bright, clear way in which it is taught. Just buy it."
Rael (History/Bowdoin Coll.; Black Identity and Black Protest in the Antebellum North, 2002, etc.) examines the long, slow death of slavery in the United States, masterfully showing how each event is connected and letting us in on secrets that textbooks never mentioned.Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Aug. 11, 2015

"As laws and mores continue to change at a rapid pace, this engaging study offers helpful historical and legal explanations."
This follow-up to lawyer Berkowitz's Sex and Punishment: Four Thousand Years of Judging Desire (2012) brings Western society's continued attempt at regulating sexual mores to the present.Read full book review >
KATRINA by Gary Rivlin
HISTORY
Released: Aug. 11, 2015

"Deeply engrossing, well-written, and packed with revealing stories."
Former New York Times reporter Rivlin (Broke, USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc.—How the Working Poor Became Big Business, 2010, etc.) delivers a magnificently reported account of life in a broken, waterlogged city. Read full book review >
TO HELL AND BACK by Charles Pellegrino
HISTORY
Released: Aug. 6, 2015

"This is horrifying, painful, and necessary reading."
On the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Pellegrino's (Farewell, Titanic: Her Final Legacy, 2012, etc.) account of the survivors—a book recalled and pulped in 2010 by its original publisher after doubts about the authenticity of the claims made by one of the author's sources—now appears in a revised edition. Read full book review >
GIVE US THE BALLOT by Ari Berman
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"Not just a compelling history, but a cry for help in the recurring struggle to gain what is supposed to be an inalienable right."
An incisive look at the many issues surrounding the right to vote. Read full book review >
UNDER ANOTHER SKY by Charlotte Higgins
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"A thoroughly researched, elegantly written history."
Inquiring into the deep sources of British identity. Read full book review >
NAGASAKI by Susan Southard
HISTORY
Released: July 28, 2015

"A valiant, moving work of research certain to provoke vigorous discussion."
Intense, deeply detailed, and compassionate account of the atomic bomb's effects on the people and city of Nagasaki, then and now. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Vanessa Diffenbaugh
September 1, 2015

Vanessa Diffenbaugh is the New York Timesbestselling author of The Language of Flowers; her new novel, We Never Asked for Wings, is about young love, hard choices, and hope against all odds. For 14 years, Letty Espinosa has worked three jobs around San Francisco to make ends meet while her mother raised her children—Alex, now 15, and Luna, six—in their tiny apartment on a forgotten spit of wetlands near the bay. But now Letty’s parents are returning to Mexico, and Letty must step up and become a mother for the first time in her life. “Diffenbaugh’s latest confirms her gift for creating shrewd, sympathetic charmers,” our reviewer writes. View video >