History Book Reviews (page 12)

SEVERED by Frances Larson
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Nov. 17, 2014

"An alternately intriguing and disturbing sidelight on our cultural values that is not for the squeamish."
Larson (Honorary Research Fellow/Univ. of Durham; An Infinity of Things: How Sir Henry Wellcome Collected the World, 2009) explores our morbid preoccupation with the grotesque, as typified by the value we place on severed heads.Read full book review >
Myth and Ideology : Creating History in the Bible by Stuart A. West
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 16, 2014

"A bitter pill for ultra-Orthodox Jews; others will find the intellectual adventure quite thrilling."
A highly detailed textual analysis of the Old Testament. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 15, 2014

"A well-researched, thoughtful biography of a woman who 'became entirely her own person, a rare feat for women of her day.'"
Biography of the 19th-century socialite who made her way to or near "the center of more major events…than any woman and most men of her time." Read full book review >
TOLSTOY'S FALSE DISCIPLE by Alexandra Popoff
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 15, 2014

"A work of dogged research helps elucidate Tolstoy's late-life conversion."
A Canadian biographer examines Leo Tolstoy's enigmatic love/friendship, which was steeped in shared Christian values. Read full book review >
VICTORIA by A.N. Wilson
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 13, 2014

"A robust, immensely entertaining portrait from a master biographer."
A shimmering portrait of a tempestuous monarch. Read full book review >

DIGGING FOR RICHARD III by Mike Pitts
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 13, 2014

"Writing this book must have been the dream of a lifetime for Pitts, and he has risen to the occasion. Highly recommended."
When an archaeological expedition found one of England's most maligned kings in an urban parking lot, it was a worldwide sensation. Here's the complete story. Read full book review >
WORD FOR WORD by Lilianna Lungina
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 13, 2014

"This frank and revelatory memoir portrays in rich detail Russia's recent past and illuminates the consequences of its history for the turbulent present."
Memories of life behind the Iron Curtain. Read full book review >
CHAUCER'S TALE by Paul Strohm
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 13, 2014

"With vibrant portraits of Chaucer's contemporaries—including the imperious John of Gaunt and the shifty London mayor Nicholas Brembre—Strohm's focus on one year in Chaucer's life offers an expansive view of medieval England."
Strohm (Humanities, Emeritus/Columbia Univ.; Conscience: A Very Short Introduction, 2011, etc.) brings his authority as a medievalist to this lively biography, focused on Geoffrey Chaucer's radical change of fortunes in 1386.Read full book review >
THE CHURCHILL FACTOR by Boris Johnson
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 13, 2014

"Despite the author's drifts into hagiography and occasionally contrived prose ('his dentition was assisted by artifice'), reading about Churchill is always a delight, and Johnson is an accomplished, accessible writer."
London mayor Johnson (Johnson's Life of London: The People Who Made the City that Made the World, 2012, etc.) takes a look at the quintessential British leader and his massively widespread influence on global affairs.Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 13, 2014

"A lucid, first-rate history of the results of a war whose beginning a century ago we are busily commemorating."
A vigorously defended argument that the war to end all wars was really the origin of a new world order and American superpower. Read full book review >
THE GREATEST SHOWS ON EARTH by Linda Simon
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Nov. 12, 2014

"Simon brings a learned hand to this bright history of the circus, which emblazons as it preserves the magic."
From the Roman arena to the Pickle Family, Simon (Emerita, English/Skidmore Coll.; Coco Chanel, 2011, etc.) explores the tropes and stylings of the many-headed creature known as the circus.Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 12, 2014

"This intriguing ancient text deserves a solid academic study by serious scholars. Unfortunately, this book is not it."
Exploration of a long-forgotten text. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Gabrielle Zevin
March 3, 2015

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over—and see everything anew. “Zevin writes characters who grow and prosper,” our reviewer writes, “in a narrative that is sometimes sentimental, sometimes funny, sometimes true to life and always entertaining.” View video >