History Book Reviews (page 5)

STALIN by Stephen Kotkin
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 10, 2014

"Staggeringly wide in scope (note the 100-page bibliography), this work meticulously examines the structural forces that brought down one autocratic regime and put in place another."
The first volume of a massive biography of Joseph Stalin (1878-1953). Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 4, 2014

"This remarkable memoir serves as a moving examination of the complex forces of ethnicity, nationality and history that shape one's sense of self and foster, threaten or fray the fragile tapestry of community."
A young Armenian-American journalist examines her identity and personal history. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 4, 2014

"A powerful rendering of an enduring conflict."
A history of D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915), which triggered a substantial protest by African-Americans, who resented their vile portrayal in the film.Read full book review >
CITIZEN COKE by Bartow J. Elmore
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Nov. 3, 2014

"A superb, quietly devastating environmental and business history."
An eye-opening account of the "unmatched ecological appetite" behind Coca-Cola's worldwide success. Read full book review >
PRESIDENTS AND THEIR GENERALS by Matthew Moten
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 1, 2014

"A brilliant, fascinating picture of how wars badly begun and poorly run can affect an entire country—usually at the hands of just a few men."
Military historian Moten (co-author: Between War and Peace: How America Ends Its Wars, 2011, etc.), former head of the history department at West Point, traces the long struggle of presidents to assert their power over recalcitrant generals.Read full book review >

FIELDS OF BLOOD by Karen Armstrong
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 30, 2014

"An intriguing read, useful resource and definitive voice in defense of the divine in human culture."
Comparative religions expert Armstrong (Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life, 2010, etc.) provides a comprehensive and erudite study of the history of violence in relation to religion. Read full book review >
ISABELLA by Kirstin Downey
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 28, 2014

"A strong, fascinating woman, Isabella helped to usher in the modern age, and this rich, clearly written biography is a worthy chronicle of her impressive yet controversial life."
Downey (The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life of Frances Perkins, FDR'S Secretary of Labor and His Moral Conscience, 2009) brings her journalistic expertise to this excellent chronicle of the end of the Middle Ages and that time period's most significant female figures. Read full book review >
SECTION 60 by Robert M. Poole
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Oct. 21, 2014

"A momentous and moving follow-up to On Hallowed Ground."
An honorable survey of Arlington National Cemetery's subdivision for military personnel killed in the global war on terror. Read full book review >
THE UNSUBSTANTIAL AIR by Samuel Hynes
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 21, 2014

"Intimate and memorable portraits of these idealistic, daredevil young men are contained in a marvelously fluid narrative."
A deeply empathetic account of the first gentlemen pilots feeling their ways in uncharted territory. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 21, 2014

"An overdue comprehensive biography of a giant of mid-20th-century American politics."
Presidential library director and C-SPAN in-house historian Smith (The Colonel: The Life and Legend of Robert R. McCormick, 1997, etc.) delivers a monumental biography of the charismatic vice president and four-term governor of New York. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 21, 2014

"Appropriately detailed, beautifully written story of the Stuarts' rise and fall—will leave readers clamoring for the further adventures awaiting England in the 18th century."
Biographer, historian and novelist Ackroyd (Three Brothers, 2014, etc.) continues his History of England series with the third of six proposed volumes. Read full book review >
NATIONAL INSECURITY by David Rothkopf
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Oct. 18, 2014

"A sharp, immensely readable account of how we've arrived at this juncture and where matters stand as we anticipate the election of a new president."
A distinguished journalist and scholar looks at the shaping of America's national security and foreign policy for the past decade. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Luis Alberto Urrea
April 21, 2015

Examining the borders between one nation and another, between one person and another, Luis Alberto Urrea’s latest story collection, The Water Museum, reveals his mastery of the short form. This collection includes the Edgar-award winning "Amapola" and his now-classic "Bid Farewell to Her Many Horses," which had the honor of being chosen for NPR's "Selected Shorts" not once but twice. Urrea has also recently published a poetry collection, Tijuana Book of the Dead, mixing lyricism and colloquial voices, mysticism and the daily grind. We talk to Urrea about both of his new books this week on Kirkus TV. View video >