History Book Reviews (page 5)

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 >
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 >
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 >