History Book Reviews (page 5)

THE HUNDRED-YEAR WALK by Dawn Anahid MacKeen
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"Powerful, terrible stories about what people are willing to do to other people—but leavened with hope and, ultimately, forgiveness."
A freelance journalist debuts with an account of her long effort to retrace the journey of her grandfather, who improbably survived the vast massacre of Armenians during World War I. Read full book review >
THE LOST TUDOR PRINCESS by Alison Weir
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"An abundantly detailed history from an author steeped in England's past."
Another story of the relentless striving for power of 16th-century England. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"A book that will appeal to readers convinced that Benghazi and Hillary Clinton's email habits are the most pressing concerns Americans now face."
A conservative polemic against "big government" disguised as a memoir of government service. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"Nelson adds another chapter to the somber history of injustice toward African-Americans, but it is one in which science is enriching lives by forging new identities and connections to ancestral homelands."
Genealogical studies by black Americans have grown in popularity once companies were able to provide DNA analyses "direct to consumers." Has it helped civil rights? Social justice? Legal claims? Yes and no, writes Nelson (Sociology and Gender Studies/Columbia Univ.; Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination, 2011, etc.) in this meticulously detailed study.Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"Detailed, acronym-mad, well-wrought, and exciting."
A well-developed look inside the life and work of an accomplished private military contractor. Read full book review >

ETERNITY STREET by John Mack Faragher
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 11, 2016

"A solid study of violence and an even better study of the beginnings of California and its social makeup."
Faragher (History/Yale Univ.; A Great and Noble Scheme: The Tragic Story of the Expulsion of the French Acadians from Their American Homeland, 2005, etc.) investigates the most lethal place on the planet during the mid-19th century: Los Angeles.Read full book review >
LET THE PEOPLE RULE by Geoffrey Cowan
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 11, 2016

"Political junkies will delight in this rollicking history containing lessons applicable to our contemporary political landscape."
The history of the 1912 battle among Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Robert La Follette for the presidency of the United States, which gave birth to the first presidential primary. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 11, 2016

"An unusual and vastly entertaining journey into the world of mysterious plant life as experienced by a gifted nature writer."
A prolific and talented British nature writer explores 40 plant species and how they have influenced the human imagination over the centuries. Read full book review >
PRIMO LEVI'S RESISTANCE by Sergio Luzzatto
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"A book for Levi completists and students of the Italian Resistance. Luzzatto provides a decent picture of the Italian character, the wide variance of political parties, and the dedication of the people to their country."
Luzzatto (History/Univ. of Turin; Padre Pio: Miracles and Politics in a Secular Age, 2010, etc.) combines his obsessions with Primo Levi (1919-1987) and the Italian Resistance.Read full book review >
GEORGE WASHINGTON'S JOURNEY by T.H. Breen
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"An unconvincing attempt to read extraneous political agendas into the first president's fact-finding tours."
An examination of the first presidential road trips. Read full book review >
COSMOSAPIENS by John Hands
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"A compendious work that will intrigue serious readers; others may find it overlong and too comprehensive."
Hands has spent the last 10 years assembling a critical overview of scientific orthodoxy in an attempt to answer the fundamental questions "what are we?" and "why are we here?" Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"Will appeal especially to anyone interested in Mulholland and western water issues."
Award-winning documentary filmmaker Wilkman (Los Angeles: A Pictorial Celebration, 2008, etc.) offers a well-researched account of a little-remembered California tragedy.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 >