History Book Reviews (page 2)

HISTORY
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"A delightful book that is just plain fun to read, packed with all kinds of curious facts and oddities."
Gordon (An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power, 2004) uses a history of the Washington Monument to present an enjoyable tale of Egypt's obelisks, the nations who appropriated them, and how they moved them.Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"A fresh look at Eleanor Roosevelt and a fascinating exploration of a cherished, mutually beneficial friendship."
A significant new exploration of the enormously important friendship between two activist crusaders in advancing the cause of civil rights for blacks and women. Read full book review >

HISTORY
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"Kaplan does not promote Romania, but he has written a journalistic tour de force that will convince readers that it's a fascinating place whose people, past, and current geopolitical dilemma deserve our attention."
Romania was a journalistic backwater when the author's bestselling Balkan Ghosts appeared in 1993. In this equally captivating sequel, veteran journalist Kaplan (Asia's Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific, 2014, etc.) brings matters up to 2015.Read full book review >
THE BLACK PRESIDENCY by Michael Eric Dyson
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"Dyson succeeds admirably in creating a base line for future interpretations of this historic presidency. His well-written book thoroughly illuminates the challenges facing a black man elected to govern a society that is far from post-racial."
An early assessment of America's first black presidency. Read full book review >
BLOOD BROTHERS by Randy Roberts
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"A page-turning tale from the 1960s about politics and sports and two proud, extraordinary men whose legacies endure."
How Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali and then an enemy of his mentor and friend Malcolm X. Read full book review >

ONE CHILD by Mei Fong
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"Finished just before the announcement of the policy's demise, One Child is a touching and captivating anthropological investigation of one of the most invasive laws ever devised."
Widespread female infanticide and officials jailing pregnant women's families to induce them to surrender to abortions—these are scenes not from a dystopian novel but from China's family planning bureaucracy. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"A moving memoir, if an earnest footnote to the history of the Third Reich."
A history of the Nazi eugenics program, which involved hundreds of thousands of children, including the author herself. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"Fascinating reading about a significant artistic figure and his legacy."
A documentary producer's memoir of the unexpected lessons he learned from a church caretaker about faith, the human condition, and the Italian painter Caravaggio. Read full book review >
THE NEW DEAL by Kiran Klaus Patel
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 1, 2016

"This book provides much to study and reread. Though mostly well-written, the narrative is factually dense, intense, and often verbose. It should be useful to economists, researchers, and specialists in the Depression and its aftermath."
A deep, scholarly dive into the New Deal and how it relates to the world's attempts to deal with what he calls the "Great Slump." Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 2016

"A brisk, lighthearted travelogue with an exuberant guide."
What dead American presidents reveal "about ourselves, our history, and how we imagine our past and future." Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 2016

"Although the author's meticulous reconstruction of the case sometimes leads to repetition, she succeeds in conveying the unsettled world in which it occurred."
A sordid murder reveals beliefs about race, sex, and justice in post-Civil War Philadelphia. Read full book review >
THE LIVES OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS by Robert S. Levine
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 2016

"An astute, thorough literary study that will invite fresh readings of Douglass' writing."
A compelling scholarly study of the evolution of Frederick Douglass' thinking. 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 >