History Book Reviews (page 5)

THE END OF THE COLD WAR by Robert Service
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"A wholly satisfying, likely definitive, but not triumphalist account of the end of an era."
In this thoughtful re-evaluation of a stunning historical watershed, British Soviet specialist Service (Emeritus, Russian History/Univ. of Oxford; Trotsky, 2009, etc.) concentrates on the political maneuvering that was Byzantine and often wrongheaded but rarely dull.Read full book review >
THEY ALL LOVE JACK by Bruce Robinson
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"A ripping good read, strange, suggestive, and memorable."
A wild ride down the back alleys of London in the service of "Ripperology." Read full book review >

THE YEAR OF LEAR by James Shapiro
Released: Oct. 6, 2015

"Shapiro's discoveries of long-lost sources and missed connections make this a fascinating tale. His well-written, scholarly exploration will stand as an influential work that is a joy to read."
Shakespearean scholar Shapiro (English/Columbia Univ.; Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?, 2010, etc.) links the tumultuous events of 1605 and 1606 to three of the Bard's greatest works.Read full book review >
HENRY CLAY by Harlow Giles Unger
Released: Oct. 1, 2015

"In this lucid, exemplary biography, Unger focuses on not just Clay, but also on the formation of the early republic, a time too little studied today. An excellent introduction to a turbulent era."
A comprehensive biography of the statesman whom Abraham Lincoln called "the ideal politician." Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2015

"A mesmerizing study in contrast and comparison."
A bifurcated, lively study of the year that saw the rise of the two most significant political figures of the early 20th century. Read full book review >

THE NEW TSAR by Steven Lee Myers
Released: Sept. 29, 2015

"A highly effective portrait of a frighteningly powerful autocrat."
The reptilian, poker-faced former KGB agent, now Russian president seemingly for life, earns a fair, engaging treatment in the hands of New York Times journalist Myers.Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 28, 2015

"A laudable, monumental effort to gather the work of a crucial writer of the 20th century in one voluminous package."
A publishing production years in the making rounds up all of the remarkably diverse works of a writer known up to now, in English, at least, principally as a writer of the Holocaust. Read full book review >
CHILLED by Tom Jackson
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"There's much to wonder at in Jackson's captivating book."
The lively history of refrigeration from British science writer Jackson (Mathematics: An Illustrated History of Numbers, 2012, etc.).Read full book review >
THE NIXON TAPES by Douglas Brinkley
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"Essential for students of late-20th-century American history and the Nixon presidency."
Brinkley and Nichter (The Nixon Tapes: 1971-1972, 2014, etc.) conclude their project of publishing highlights from Richard Nixon's infamous tapes with this volume from the last year of recording.Read full book review >
WORLDMAKING by David Milne
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"A well-documented, full-scale overview of some key makers of modern history."
A survey of American diplomacy since the 1890s as reflected in the careers of the men who molded it. Read full book review >
1944 by Jay Winik
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"A complex history rendered with great color and sympathy."
An accomplished popular historian unpacks the last full year of World War II and the excruciatingly difficult decisions facing Franklin Roosevelt. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 21, 2015

"Just as well-researched and -written as the first volume, this story of how air and submarine power replaced the Navy's reliance on battleships is an education for all and an enjoyable read in the bargain."
The second volume of naval historian Toll's Pacific War trilogy (Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific: 1941-1942, 2011, etc.). 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 >