History Book Reviews (page 5)

HALF-LIFE by Frank Close
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 3, 2015

"A fine account, heavy on science and politics, of a long, productive, peripatetic and ultimately inexplicable life."
Months after the 1950 arrest of British nuclear physicist Klaus Fuchs, Bruno Pontecorvo (1913-1993) vanished behind the Iron Curtain. Everyone assumed that he was also a Soviet spy, but extensive investigation found no evidence that he provided secrets to the Soviets. Read full book review >
GOD'S BANKERS by Gerald Posner
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 3, 2015

"A meticulous work that cracks wide open the Vatican's legendary, enabling secrecy."
A dogged reporter exhaustively pursues the nefarious enrichment of the Vatican, from the Borgias to Pope Francis. Read full book review >

MADISON'S MUSIC by Burt Neuborne
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 3, 2015

"An urgent message that deserves a wide readership."
Constitutional expert Neuborne (Civil Liberties/New York Univ. Law School; Building a Better Democracy: Reflections on Money, Politics and Free Speech, 1999, etc.) offers a cogent critique of America's "highly dysfunctional political system," abetted by Supreme Court interpretations of the Bill of Rights, especially the First Amendment.Read full book review >
1965 by Andrew Grant Jackson
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Feb. 3, 2015

"Good enough as far as it goes, but Peter Guralnick and Greil Marcus can rest easy, unthreatened by competition here."
Lively though superficial survey of the annus mirabilis that brought us "Eve of Destruction," "Like a Rolling Stone" and "Help!"Read full book review >
THE UPSTAIRS WIFE by Rafia Zakaria
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 3, 2015

"A dense, carefully rendered work of minute, memorable detail."
One woman's personal agony reflects the enormous chasm of inequality between the sexes in Pakistan. Read full book review >

WASHINGTON'S REVOLUTION by Robert Middlekauff
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 3, 2015

"A capable Revolutionary War history that breaks no new ground."
Bancroft Prize winner Middlekauff (Emeritus, American History/Univ. of California; Benjamin Franklin and His Enemies, 1996, etc.) sets out to chart the evolution of George Washington's viewpoint during the crucible of the Revolutionary War.Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 3, 2015

"A highly personal and memorable story."
Shannon (A Thousand Sisters: My Journey into the Worst Place on Earth to Be a Woman, 2010), an international human rights activist and founder of the nonprofit Run for Congo Women, tells the harrowing story of a Congolese family torn apart by the ongoing threat of Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army.Read full book review >
GREAT CATASTROPHE by Thomas de Waal
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 2, 2015

"In this measured study, De Waal asserts his optimism that young scholars, freed from past narratives and drawing upon 'hidden histories of the Armenians,' will amplify what is known about the late Ottoman period and complicate a history that both sides have tried mightily to own. A perfect scholarly complement to Meline Toumani's outstanding memoir, There Was and There Was Not (2014)."
The causes and consequences of a crime against humanity. Read full book review >
MACHIAVELLI by Christopher S. Celenza
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 2015

"A compelling portrait of the life of a man 'subject to and involved in history, who believed…that by interpreting the past sagely, one could act more fruitfully in the present.'"
A brief, erudite exposition of the Florentine secretary's mores and intentions. Read full book review >
SOMETIMES AN ART by Bernard Bailyn
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: Jan. 30, 2015

"Informing all of these graceful, authoritative essays is the mind of a humanist whose project is to reanimate 'a hitherto unglimpsed world.'"
A Pulitzer Prize-winning historian considers the "unsuspected complexities" of recovering the past. Read full book review >
THE ITALIANS by John Hooper
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 29, 2015

"A thoroughly researched, well-written, ageless narrative of a fascinating people."
A compact but comprehensive study of the people of Italy. Read full book review >
ONE NATION, UNDER GODS by Peter Manseau
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 27, 2015

"An eye-opener. After reading Manseau, readers will see the influences he writes about not only dot, but shape, the landscape."
Smithsonian fellow Manseau (Rag and Bone: A Journey Among the World's Holy Dead, 2009, etc.) unspools a web of gods who have had an impact on the development of the United States.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 >