History Book Reviews (page 4)

A SPLENDID SAVAGE by Steve Kemper
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 25, 2016

"Thrilling adventures presented with the flair they deserve."
Freelance journalist Kemper (A Labyrinth of Kingdoms: 10,000 Miles through Islamic Africa, 2012, etc.) revives a legendary adventurer, "one of the only people who could turn [his] garrulous…friend Theodore Roosevelt into a listener."Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 19, 2016

"A well-organized, deeply researched work that ably digests the Balkan war, the criminals, the criminal court, and its legacy."
A bracing history of the hunt for Balkan war criminals and the seminal establishment of the Hague Tribunal in 1993. Read full book review >

QUEEN OF SPIES by Paddy Hayes
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 19, 2016

"As exciting as any good spy thriller—but it's all true."
Intelligence researcher Hayes opens the door on the fascinating life of one of England's greatest spies, Daphne Park (1921-2010). Read full book review >
THEIR PROMISED LAND by Ian Buruma
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 19, 2016

"The author shapes his family's labor of a lifetime into a scintillating work of art."
A prizewinning historian recounts his German-Jewish family's time in England during the most turbulent years of the 20th century. Read full book review >
BLOOD AND EARTH by Kevin Bales
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Jan. 19, 2016

"A cleareyed account of man's inhumanity to man and Earth. Read it to get informed, and then take action."
In a heart-wrenching narrative, Bales (Ending Slavery: How We Free Today's Slaves, 2007, etc.) explores modern slavery and the devastating effects on its victims as well as the environmental degradation caused by this morally reprehensible institution.Read full book review >

DARK MONEY by Jane Mayer
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Jan. 19, 2016

"A valuable contribution to the study of modern electoral politics in an age that Theodore White, and perhaps even Hunter S. Thompson, would not recognize."
A careful exposé of the libertarian agenda, spearheaded by the Koch brothers, to "impose their minority views on the majority by other means." Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 16, 2016

"A must-read for anyone interested in the early history of space exploration."
Spaceflight didn't start with Neil Armstrong, or even with Sputnik, as this well-researched account of the early days of rocketry makes clear.Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 15, 2016

"A fantastic book that finally assigns Kinsale its rightful place in history."
Journalist Ekin (The Stolen Village: Baltimore and the Barbary Pirates, 2006, etc.) chronicles the 1601 siege of Kinsale, 100 days that changed history.Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 15, 2016

"Juicy royal history that may or may not be true. Either way, the story of Thomas' comeuppance and Elizabeth's reaction makes for a quick, enjoyable read."
Tudor historian Norton (The Tudor Miscellany, 2014, etc.) looks at Henry VIII's daughter and widow, but the real story here is Thomas Seymour.Read full book review >
THE INVITATION-ONLY ZONE by Robert S. Boynton
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"Engaging reading, surreal in some of the Orwellian detail."
A thorough investigative report into the systematic abduction of Japanese citizens by the North Korean intelligence network over many decades. Read full book review >
PARADISE NOW by Chris Jennings
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"The author's comprehensive research makes for absorbing reading as he shows how different people attempted to find perfection and how they failed or succeeded."
Jennings demonstrates how "no moment in history or place on the globe has been more crowded with utopian longing and utopian experimentation than the United States in the middle of the nineteenth century." Read full book review >
THE <i>DEFENDER</i> by Ethan Michaeli
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"A pertinent, well-fashioned American success saga."
This chronicle of the influential black Chicago newspaper simultaneously tracks the important issues pertaining to African-American history from the turn of the 19th century. 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 >