History Book Reviews

DENG XIAOPING by Alexander V. Pantsov
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 1, 2015

"A masterly work that advances by salient themes and vigorous strokes."
A barbed biography, relentless and occasionally sarcastic, reveals the many problematic facets of the long-lived revolutionary and reformer Deng Xiaoping (1904-1997). Read full book review >
THE COLONEL AND HUG by Steve Steinberg
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 1, 2015

"A top-notch sports biography."
Many baseball fans think it was Babe Ruth who elevated the fledgling (and flagging) New York Yankees team. In this authoritative new work, Steinberg and Spatz (1921: The Yankees, the Giants, and the Battle for Baseball Supremacy in New York, 2010) shine a light on the indispensable contributions of two behind-the-scenes magicians.Read full book review >

WENT THE DAY WELL? by David Crane
HISTORY
Released: April 29, 2015

"A historical tour de force—a fascinating panorama of Great Britain during the summer of Waterloo."
As the armies gathered in June 1815, few doubted that a world-shaking event was in the works. Britons poured into Belgium to witness the excitement; those remaining behind agonized, debated, and quarreled; others went about their daily lives. Read full book review >
A PASSION FOR PARIS by David Downie
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 28, 2015

"Anyone who loves Paris will adore this joyful book. Readers visiting the city are advised to take it with them to discover countless new experiences."
Join Downie (Paris to the Pyrenees: A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of St. James, 2013, etc.) for a top-notch walking tour of Paris.Read full book review >
THE TWO-STATE DELUSION by Padraig O'Malley
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: April 28, 2015

"Evenhanded, diplomatic, mutually respectful and enormously useful."
A thoughtful autopsy of the failed two-state paradigm. Read full book review >

RAIN by Cynthia Barnett
HISTORY
Released: April 21, 2015

"Highlights the severity of some of our environmental problems with knowledge, humor, urgency and hope."
An environmental journalist returns with a multifaceted examination of the science, the art, the technology and even the smell of rain throughout history. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: April 15, 2015

"A brilliant history of the Dark Ages showing the growth and development of science, business, fashion, law, politics and other significant institutions—a joy to read and reread."
Novelist, journalist and historian Pye (The Pieces from Berlin, 2004, etc.) challenges all our notions of the Dark Ages and shows the vast accomplishments completed long before the Renaissance.Read full book review >
LENS OF WAR by J. Matthew Gallman
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: April 15, 2015

"A brilliant starting point for truly understanding the Civil War. As the authors point out, there is still much to explore."
A pictorial guide to the changes in our historical views of the Civil War, curated by Gallman (History/Univ. of Florida; Northerners at War, 2010, etc.) and Gallagher (History/Univ. of Virginia; The Union War, 2012, etc.).Read full book review >
MINISTERS AT WAR by Jonathan Schneer
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 14, 2015

"Clear, thoroughly entertaining and full of lively detail."
During World War II, Britain was guided by a group of talented, ambitious rivals who put aside their differences to defeat their common enemy. Here's a look at how they worked together—and how it fell apart just as victory was in hand. Read full book review >
KL by Nikolaus Wachsmann
HISTORY
Released: April 14, 2015

"A comprehensive, encyclopedic work that should be included in the collections of libraries, schools and other institutions."
A harrowing, thorough study of the Nazi camps that gathers a staggering amount of useful and necessary information on the collective catastrophe. Read full book review >
THE INTIMATE BOND by Brian Fagan
HISTORY
Released: April 14, 2015

"Though reminding us of the cruelties still visited upon animals and insisting that we respect them anew—not merely as pets or idealized creatures of the wild—Fagan offers no resolutions to our conflicting attitudes toward them, but his compelling, cohesive book calls for further enlightenment."
Fagan (Emeritus, Anthropology/Univ. of Calif., Santa Barbara; The Attacking Ocean: The Past, Present, and Future of Rising Sea Levels, 2013, etc.) brings consummate skill to this frequently horrifying study of humanity's interaction with animals.Read full book review >
SWANSONG 1945 by Walter Kempowski
HISTORY
Released: April 13, 2015

"A riveting portrait of what Kurt Weill called the 'total breakdown of all human dignity,' revealed through the bric-a-brac of war-shattered lives."
From the absurd to the sublime, and everywhere heartbreaking: a collage of voices from the tail end of the world's conflagration. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Mona Eltahawy
April 28, 2015

In her debut book, Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution, Egyptian-American journalist and commentator Mona Eltahawy mounts an angry indictment of the treatment of women throughout the Arab world. Born in Egypt, she spent her childhood in London, moving with her family to Saudi Arabia when she was 15. Her shock was immediate and visceral: “It felt as though we’d moved to another planet whose inhabitants fervently wished women did not exist,” she recalls. Women could not travel, work or even go to a doctor’s appointment without male approval. We talk to Eltahawy this week on Kirkus TV about her arresting new book. View video >