History Book Reviews (page 3)

THE LONGEST AFTERNOON by Brendan Simms
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 10, 2015

"Since literacy was common even among enlisted men, Simms takes advantage of abundant letters and memoirs to deliver an engrossing, often gruesome nuts-and-bolts description of that afternoon."
A slim but gripping account of the bloody, heroic defense of La Haye Sainte, a farmhouse that Napoleon had to capture to reach the Duke of Wellington's army. Read full book review >
THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. DOYLE by Daniel L. Friedman
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 10, 2015

"At first muddled and confusing, the book goes on to raise intriguing questions and possibilities for fans of both men."
A father-and-son team exposes the similarities of two very strange men, Jack the Ripper and Arthur Conan Doyle. Read full book review >

TO EXPLAIN THE WORLD by Steven Weinberg
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 10, 2015

"While Weinberg confines most mathematics to a 95-page appendix, readers will strain to comprehend some of the lengthy nuts-and-bolts explanations, but those who persist will come away with a stimulating view of how humans learn from nature."
Histories of science celebrate great thinkers of the past. In this ingenious account, theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Weinberg (Chair in Science/Univ. of Texas; Lectures on Quantum Mechanics, 2012, etc.) celebrates generously but gives equal emphasis to why they often missed the mark.Read full book review >
LINCOLN'S GREATEST CASE by Brian McGinty
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 9, 2015

"An important footnote in the making of the 16th president."
Solid account of the most significant case in Abraham Lincoln's 25-year law career. Read full book review >
AMERICAN RECKONING by Christian G. Appy
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 9, 2015

"For generations who know the Vietnam War largely through movies and fiction, this well-informed and impassioned book is an antidote to forgetting and an appeal to reassess America's place in the world."
Analyzing public, political and cultural responses to the Vietnam War, Appy (History/Univ. of Massachusetts; Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered from All Sides, 2003, etc.) argues that the protracted conflict "shattered the central tenet of American national identity—the broad faith that the United States is a unique force for good in the world."Read full book review >

LINCOLN'S BODY by Richard Wightman Fox
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 9, 2015

"An original, brightly written and well-researched cultural history certain to have wide appeal."
An absorbing meditation on Abraham Lincoln's body, in life and death, and its role in shaping America's memory of the man who saved the Union. Read full book review >
GEORGE W. BUSH by James Mann
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 3, 2015

"Presidential reputations often improve with time and rarely decline. Aware of this, Mann delivers a remarkably evenhanded account, eschewing the painful emotions many readers will feel until historians sort matters out."
The latest in the admirable American Presidents series is premature because too little time has passed to evaluate our 43rd president, but Mann (Fellow in Residence/Johns Hopkins Univ. School of Advanced International Studies; The Obamians: The Struggle Inside the White House, 2012, etc.) writes an insightful biography without much partisanship.Read full book review >
HELL AND GOOD COMPANY by Richard Rhodes
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 3, 2015

"This is not one of Rhodes' major works, but it is an interesting collection of observations on an iconic war that the good guys lost but which produced important cultural and therapeutic advances."
Readers who pay attention to the preface will look elsewhere for a definitive history of the Spanish Civil War, but there are plenty of good reasons to continue with this one. Read full book review >
ELIZABETH GURLEY FLYNN by Lara Vapnek
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 3, 2015

"A brief encapsulation of the fury and disillusionment that characterized the career of this significant American activist."
Biography of an important early-20th-century labor and human rights activist known as the East Side Joan of Arc, now sadly neglected. This is the latest in the Lives of American Women series. Read full book review >
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Feb. 3, 2015

"Fodder for concerned thought, with a dollop of paranoia."
A presentation of China's hidden agenda grounded in the author's longtime work at the U.S. Defense Department. Read full book review >
HALF-LIFE by Frank Close
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 3, 2015

"A fine account, heavy on science and politics, of a long, productive, peripatetic and ultimately inexplicable life."
Months after the 1950 arrest of British nuclear physicist Klaus Fuchs, Bruno Pontecorvo (1913-1993) vanished behind the Iron Curtain. Everyone assumed that he was also a Soviet spy, but extensive investigation found no evidence that he provided secrets to the Soviets. Read full book review >
GOD'S BANKERS by Gerald Posner
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 3, 2015

"A meticulous work that cracks wide open the Vatican's legendary, enabling secrecy."
A dogged reporter exhaustively pursues the nefarious enrichment of the Vatican, from the Borgias to Pope Francis. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Pierce Brown
author of GOLDEN SON
February 17, 2015

With shades of The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and Game of Thrones, Pierce Brown’s genre-defying Red Rising hit the ground running. The sequel, Golden Son, continues the saga of Darrow, a rebel battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom. As a Red, Darrow grew up working the mines deep beneath the surface of Mars, enduring backbreaking labor while dreaming of the better future he was building for his descendants. But the Society he faithfully served was built on lies. Darrow’s kind have been betrayed and denied by their elitist masters, the Golds—and their only path to liberation is revolution. “Stirring—and archetypal—stuff,” our reviewer writes. View video >