History Book Reviews (page 5)

STRANGE GLOW by Timothy J. Jorgensen
HISTORY
Released: March 1, 2016

"A seismic piece of scientific inquiry, top shelf in narrative style and illumination."
An examination of the nature of radiation and the history of our understanding of the process. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 1, 2016

"A must-read for military buffs and a should-read for anyone who has given even a cursory thought to the U.S. efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq."
The search for the story behind an IED death leads to the history of the post-9/11 wars and the lives of the men and women who fight them. Read full book review >

THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC by Jonathan Dimbleby
HISTORY
Released: March 1, 2016

"Recent historians such as Clay Blair emphasize that the Allied supply line was never seriously in jeopardy, but Dimbleby sticks to the traditional cliffhanger version, delivering a gripping history overflowing with anecdotes and enough calamity, misery, explosions, and individual valor for a Hollywood disaster epic."
A fine account of the brutal sea campaign against Nazi Germany, from writer and broadcaster Dimbleby (Destiny in the Desert: The Road to El Alamein, 2013, etc.).Read full book review >
IMBECILES by Adam Cohen
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 1, 2016

"A shocking tale about science and law gone horribly wrong, an almost forgotten case that deserves to be ranked with Dred Scott, Plessy, and Korematsu as among the Supreme Court's worst decisions."
Attorney, journalist, and bestselling author Cohen (Nothing to Fear: FDR's Inner Circle and the Hundred Days that Created Modern America, 2009, etc.) revisits an ugly chapter in American history: the 1920s mania for eugenics.Read full book review >
APOSTLE by Tom Bissell
HISTORY
Released: March 1, 2016

"A rich, contentious, and challenging book."
A deep dive into the heart of the New Testament, crossing continents and cross-referencing texts. Read full book review >

DARK TERRITORY by Fred Kaplan
HISTORY
Released: March 1, 2016

"An important, disturbing, and gripping history arguing convincingly that, as of 2015, no defense exists against a resourceful cyberattack."
For centuries, spies could only listen to enemy communications. In this thoughtful, opinionated history, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist warns that in today's cyberage, "once they hacked a computer, they could prowl the entire network…they could not only read and download scads of information, they could change its contents—disrupt, corrupt, or erase it—and mislead or disorient the officials who relied on it." Read full book review >
BLOOD YEAR by David Kilcullen
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 29, 2016

"Direct, insightful, and frightening, this book will prepare readers to see through the misguided, simplistic solutions to the problems of Middle Eastern policy and Islamic terror so common in this election year."
A "mid-level player in some of the key events of the past decade" delivers a dispassionate, discouraging analysis of how the Western counterterrorism effort has gone so terribly wrong. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"Great stuff for anyone who loves knowledge, deep or trivial. Some readers may even indulge in buying one of the more esoteric titles the author highlights—e.g., The Dictionary of Dainty Breakfasts or Collectible Spoons of the 3rd Reich."
Lynch (English/Rutgers Univ.; The Lexicographer's Dilemma: The Evolution of ‘Proper' English, from Shakespeare to South Park, 2010) shares his love of reference books. Read full book review >
STRANGE GODS by Susan Jacoby
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"Jacoby draws the first detailed maps of a terrain that has been very much in need of intelligent, careful cartography."
In a work blending culture, religion, history, biography, and a bit of memoir (with more than a soupcon of attitude), the author of The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought (2013, etc.) returns with a revealing historical analysis of religious conversions.Read full book review >
THE SILK ROADS by Peter Frankopan
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"A vastly rich historical tapestry that puts ongoing struggles in a new perspective."
Throughout history, Central Asia has been a nexus of burgeoning trade in goods, people, and ideas. Read full book review >
THE PROFITEERS by Sally Denton
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"Filled with stories of cronyism and influence peddling, Denton's riveting and revealing book will undoubtedly displease the so-called 'boys from Bechtel,' who refused to talk to Denton, referring her to the company website."
Investigative journalist Denton (The Plots Against the President: FDR, A Nation in Crisis, and the Rise of the American Right, 2012, etc.) offers an ambitious "empire biography" of the Bechtel family and the secretive, privately held construction company-turned-diversified international conglomerate that has been "inextricably enmeshed" in U.S. foreign policy for seven decades. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Fernanda Santos
author of THE FIRE LINE
May 17, 2016

When a bolt of lightning ignited a hilltop in the sleepy town of Yarnell, Arizona, in June 2013, setting off a blaze that would grow into one of the deadliest fires in American history, the 20 men who made up the Granite Mountain Hotshots sprang into action. New York Times writer Fernanda Santos’ debut book The Fire Line is the story of the fire and the Hotshots’ attempts to extinguish it. An elite crew trained to combat the most challenging wildfires, the Hotshots were a ragtag family, crisscrossing the American West and wherever else the fires took them. There's Eric Marsh, their devoted and demanding superintendent who turned his own personal demons into lessons he used to mold, train and guide his crew; Jesse Steed, their captain, a former Marine, a beast on the fire line and a family man who wasn’t afraid to say “I love you” to the firemen he led; Andrew Ashcraft, a team leader still in his 20s who struggled to balance his love for his beautiful wife and four children and his passion for fighting wildfires. We see this band of brothers at work, at play and at home, until a fire that burned in their own backyards leads to a national tragedy. View video >