History Book Reviews (page 4)

DEMOCRACY IN THE DARK by Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr.
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: April 7, 2015

"A thorough, if sometimes discursive and loosely organized, presentation of a complex problem that is unfortunately lacking specific suggestions for solutions beyond a call for a general change in attitudes."
An exploration of the growth of American government secrecy. Read full book review >
KING JOHN by Stephen Church
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 7, 2015

"Church sticks close to the evidence, almost all government records and surviving chronicles devoted to the deeds of great men. The result is not a page-turner but an insightful, likely definitive, biography."
Reigning from 1199 to 1216, King John's villainy remains a mainstay of popular media. Church (Medieval History/Univ. of East Anglia; The Household Knights of King John, 1999) does not downplay his defects in this scholarly but readable biography.Read full book review >

THE GREAT PARADE by Peter Filichia
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: April 7, 2015

"To call Filichia a devotee of Broadway is an understatement; this book will interest only die-hard fans like himself."
An exuberant look at one year on Broadway. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 7, 2015

"A nail-biting account of one man's quiet heroism in the face of impossible odds."
Memoir of a bank manager's unlikely role in the evacuation of South Vietnamese from war-torn mid-1970s Saigon. Read full book review >
THE PRIME OF LIFE by Steven Mintz
HISTORY
Released: April 7, 2015

"A thoughtful and strangely encouraging tour of an often difficult life stage."
Mintz (History/Univ. of Texas; Huck's Raft: A History of American Childhood, 2004, etc.) puts into historical perspective the changes and continuities that have marked adulthood over, principally, the last 200 years.Read full book review >

HISTORY
Released: April 7, 2015

"A pointed, relentless chronicle of a despicable part of past American foreign policy."
Scathing examination of American colonial policy in Puerto Rico, culminating in the violent, brief revolution of 1950 and its brutal suppression. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: April 7, 2015

"A superb chronicle, long—but no longer than needed—and detailed, that sheds light on how the war on terror is being waged today."
A stirring history of that bad time, 45-odd years ago, when we didn't need a weatherman to know which way the wind was blowing, though we knew it was loud. Read full book review >
MY JOURNEY WITH MAYA by Tavis Smiley
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 7, 2015

"Readers might feel regret for not having the privilege of meeting Angelou personally, but Smiley has faithfully re-created both her voice's 'haunting beauty and lilting musicality' and the experience of receiving her transformative wisdom, humor, and compassion."
Veteran talk show host Smiley (Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Final Year, 2014, etc.) chronicles his relationship with Maya Angelou (1928-2014), his intellectual and spiritual guide.Read full book review >
THE RESIDENCE by Kate Andersen Brower
HISTORY
Released: April 7, 2015

"A work of great historical interest that is also quite entertaining."
Anecdotes both touching and hilarious about living and working in the White House, "the country's most potent and enduring symbol of the presidency." Read full book review >
THE STORY by Judith Miller
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 7, 2015

"Miller might possess just cause, but one-sided, bitter accounts of her disputes feel unworthy of a talented journalist."
Miller (God Has Ninety-Nine Names: Reporting From a Militant Middle East, 1997, etc.) offers her account of her ignominious departure from the New York Times in 2005 due to her allegedly inaccurate coverage about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Read full book review >
FORTUNE'S FOOL by Terry Alford
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 2, 2015

"Alford paints some intriguing shades of gray in this elucidating portrait."
The "first full-length biography" of Abraham Lincoln's assassin offers much nuance and complexity to the killer, bordering on the downright sympathetic. Read full book review >
WATERLOO by Alan Forrest
HISTORY
Released: April 1, 2015

"A modest but valuable addition to a vast genre."
Despite the title, this book is less about the battle than its legacy. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Luis Alberto Urrea
April 21, 2015

Examining the borders between one nation and another, between one person and another, Luis Alberto Urrea’s latest story collection, The Water Museum, reveals his mastery of the short form. This collection includes the Edgar-award winning "Amapola" and his now-classic "Bid Farewell to Her Many Horses," which had the honor of being chosen for NPR's "Selected Shorts" not once but twice. Urrea has also recently published a poetry collection, Tijuana Book of the Dead, mixing lyricism and colloquial voices, mysticism and the daily grind. We talk to Urrea about both of his new books this week on Kirkus TV. View video >