History Book Reviews (page 10)

DATABASE OF DREAMS by Rebecca Lemov
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 24, 2015

"Unique, well-curated brain food for readers intrigued with the human psyche and how it can be recorded, indexed, and cross-referenced."
A detailed exploration of a historic, one-of-a-kind social archive project. Read full book review >
THE TRIUMPH OF WILLIAM MCKINLEY by Karl Rove
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 24, 2015

"A well-informed and -researched dissection of McKinley's overlooked influence."
Longtime GOP strategist and political consultant Rove (Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight, 2010) examines the rise to power of William McKinley during a fated moment in the country's history.Read full book review >

AN ARGUMENT OPEN TO ALL by Sanford Levinson
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Nov. 24, 2015

"A cleareyed description and analysis of the thinking of some of the most iconic figures in the political history of the United States."
Levinson (Law and Government/Univ. of Texas; Framed: America's 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Governance, 2012, etc.) takes us through each of the 85 essays composing The Federalist, looking both at key arguments in those landmark documents and at their enduring relevance.Read full book review >
The Bakersfield Sound by Robert E. Price
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Nov. 20, 2015

"An informative read that's well-suited to readers interested in country music and its history."
This debut nonfiction work traces the history, development, and legacy of the Californian country-music subgenre known as the "Bakersfield sound." Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 20, 2015

"A remarkable examination of the Mexican Revolution that should be regarded as a watershed contribution to the field."
A debut book provides the first comprehensive account of military operations during the Mexican Revolution to appear in English. Read full book review >

HUBRIS by Alistair Horne
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 17, 2015

"A conventional but thoughtful illustration of the stupidity of war."
After more than 50 years of writing about military matters, veteran historian Horne (Kissinger: 1973, The Crucial Year, 2009, etc.) reflects on "the common features of warfare that stood out over the ages."Read full book review >
THE BROTHERS VONNEGUT by Ginger Strand
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 17, 2015

"An engaging yet disquieting portrait of postwar America through the eyes of a pair of brothers who accomplished great things in different fields."
In this meticulously researched dual biography of scientist Bernard Vonnegut (1914-1997) and his brother, fiction writer Kurt (1922-2007), Orion contributing editor Strand (Killer on the Road: Violence and the American Interstate, 2012, etc.) focuses on the late 1940s to the early 1950s, when the brothers both worked at General Electric.Read full book review >
TO HELL AND BACK by Ian Kershaw
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 17, 2015

"An ambitious, dense, sometimes-difficult treatment of a vast topic."
From the so-called golden age that preceded the guns of August 1914 to the early frost of the Cold War, a much-honored British historian takes on the 20th-century history of Europe. Read full book review >
AMERICA DANCING by Megan Pugh
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Nov. 17, 2015

"Pugh gracefully dances the fine line between critic and fan."
In her debut, a scholar and freelance critic transforms some key people and events into artful coat trees on which to hang the history of American popular dance. Read full book review >
WHAT THE EYE HEARS by Brian Seibert
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Nov. 17, 2015

"Awfully long for all but the most committed tap fanatics, but an intelligent, thoughtful assessment worth dipping into by anyone interested in American culture."
New York Times dance critic Seibert debuts with an exhaustive account of tap, from its roots in African dance to its multicultural apotheosis. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Nov. 17, 2015

"Vital reading for those looking to understand, 65 years later, the origins of the continuing conflict in the Middle East."
A Middle East scholar uncovers the post-World War II history of American policy in Palestine. Read full book review >
WANTED by Robert M. Utley
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 17, 2015

"A rollicking but thin nonfictional rendering of two of history's most mythologized outlaws."
A comparative study of the simultaneous late-19th-century rises of iconic gunfighters Billy the Kid (1859-1881) and Ned Kelly (1854-1880). Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >