History Book Reviews (page 4)

SAPIENS by Yuval Noah Harari
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 10, 2015

"The great debates of history aired out with satisfying vigor."
Harari (History/Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem) provides an immersion into the important revolutions that shaped world history: cognitive, agricultural and scientific. The book was originally published in Israel in 2011 and became a best-seller. Read full book review >
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 >
BELIEVER by David Axelrod
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 10, 2015

"Obama has been profiled many times but seldom with so practical an outlook. An excellent view of politics from the inside."
Longtime political adviser Axelrod, late of the White House, tells most of what he's seen in the cloakroom. 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 >
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 >