History Book Reviews (page 4)

OSTEND by Volker Weidermann
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 26, 2016

"Evocative, sharply drawn portraits and a wry, knowing narrative voice make for an engrossing history."
A summer of sun for despondent exiles. Read full book review >
DREAM CITIES by Wade Graham
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 26, 2016

"Graham delivers an intriguing architectural history and an effective antidote to the excesses of urban renewal and city planning."
Garden designer and historian Graham (American Eden: From Monticello to Central Park to our Backyards: What Our Gardens Tell Us About Who We Are, 2011, etc.) explores how modern cities were built on foundations made of the fantasies and utopian dreams of individual architects.Read full book review >

THE RIGHT WRONG MAN by Lawrence Douglas
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 26, 2016

"An excellent legal-minded elucidation of the long trail toward the conviction of a notorious concentration camp guard. Pair with Richard Rashke's Useful Enemies (2013)."
Nailing a Nazi-era "faceless facilitator of murder." Read full book review >
THE LIFE AND THE ADVENTURES OF A HAUNTED CONVICT by Austin Reed
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 26, 2016

"A moving, significant narrative that affords both an elegantly produced glimpse of 19th-century prison life and a new chapter in African-American history through a convict's eyes."
An obscure, newly unearthed 19th-century memoir details the prison life of an African-American inmate. Read full book review >
JAZZ DIASPORAS by Rashida K. Braggs
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Jan. 26, 2016

"A fascinating look into an important chapter in cultural history. Braggs should return to the subject in more depth."
A study of a key epoch in the transition of jazz from a distinctively American music to an international art form. Read full book review >

1924 by Peter Ross Range
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 26, 2016

"A lucid description of a year that made all the horror possible, even inevitable."
Following the current trend of focusing a work of history on a single year, a journalist and academic examines the year that Hitler spent in Landsberg Prison for his failed putsch of 1923. Read full book review >
REPUBLIC OF SPIN by David Greenberg
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 25, 2016

"At once scholarly, imaginative, and great fun."
From William McKinley to Barack Obama, a prizewinning historian looks at the tortured marriage of public relations and the modern presidency. Read full book review >
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 >
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 >