History Book Reviews (page 6)

MADISON'S GIFT by David O. Stewart
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 10, 2015

"Stewart's lively character sketches employ sprightly prose and impeccable research."
A fond portrait of the mild-mannered Virginian and implacable advocate for the young American government. Read full book review >
WHO'S AFRAID OF ACADEMIC FREEDOM? by Akeel Bilgrami
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 10, 2015

"Cogent essays about a topic crucial to the university and to all discourse in a democracy."
Scholars consider threats to free inquiry. Read full book review >

HISTORY
Released: Feb. 10, 2015

"Mort's delightful prose will entice readers of history, geography, Native American studies and sociology. All will revel in the feeling of being in the Dakotas at the end of the 19th century."
The history of Gen. George Custer's 1,000-man exploration across 300 miles of Dakota Plains in search of gold. Read full book review >
SAPIENS by Yuval Noah Harari
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 10, 2015

"The great debates of history aired out with satisfying vigor."
Harari (History/Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem) provides an immersion into the important revolutions that shaped world history: cognitive, agricultural and scientific. The book was originally published in Israel in 2011 and became a best-seller. Read full book review >
THE LONGEST AFTERNOON by Brendan Simms
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 10, 2015

"Since literacy was common even among enlisted men, Simms takes advantage of abundant letters and memoirs to deliver an engrossing, often gruesome nuts-and-bolts description of that afternoon."
A slim but gripping account of the bloody, heroic defense of La Haye Sainte, a farmhouse that Napoleon had to capture to reach the Duke of Wellington's army. Read full book review >

THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. DOYLE by Daniel L. Friedman
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 10, 2015

"At first muddled and confusing, the book goes on to raise intriguing questions and possibilities for fans of both men."
A father-and-son team exposes the similarities of two very strange men, Jack the Ripper and Arthur Conan Doyle. Read full book review >
TO EXPLAIN THE WORLD by Steven Weinberg
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 10, 2015

"While Weinberg confines most mathematics to a 95-page appendix, readers will strain to comprehend some of the lengthy nuts-and-bolts explanations, but those who persist will come away with a stimulating view of how humans learn from nature."
Histories of science celebrate great thinkers of the past. In this ingenious account, theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Weinberg (Chair in Science/Univ. of Texas; Lectures on Quantum Mechanics, 2012, etc.) celebrates generously but gives equal emphasis to why they often missed the mark.Read full book review >
BELIEVER by David Axelrod
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 10, 2015

"Obama has been profiled many times but seldom with so practical an outlook. An excellent view of politics from the inside."
Longtime political adviser Axelrod, late of the White House, tells most of what he's seen in the cloakroom. Read full book review >
LINCOLN'S GREATEST CASE by Brian McGinty
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 9, 2015

"An important footnote in the making of the 16th president."
Solid account of the most significant case in Abraham Lincoln's 25-year law career. Read full book review >
AMERICAN RECKONING by Christian G. Appy
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 9, 2015

"For generations who know the Vietnam War largely through movies and fiction, this well-informed and impassioned book is an antidote to forgetting and an appeal to reassess America's place in the world."
Analyzing public, political and cultural responses to the Vietnam War, Appy (History/Univ. of Massachusetts; Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered from All Sides, 2003, etc.) argues that the protracted conflict "shattered the central tenet of American national identity—the broad faith that the United States is a unique force for good in the world."Read full book review >
LINCOLN'S BODY by Richard Wightman Fox
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 9, 2015

"An original, brightly written and well-researched cultural history certain to have wide appeal."
An absorbing meditation on Abraham Lincoln's body, in life and death, and its role in shaping America's memory of the man who saved the Union. Read full book review >
GEORGE W. BUSH by James Mann
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 3, 2015

"Presidential reputations often improve with time and rarely decline. Aware of this, Mann delivers a remarkably evenhanded account, eschewing the painful emotions many readers will feel until historians sort matters out."
The latest in the admirable American Presidents series is premature because too little time has passed to evaluate our 43rd president, but Mann (Fellow in Residence/Johns Hopkins Univ. School of Advanced International Studies; The Obamians: The Struggle Inside the White House, 2012, etc.) writes an insightful biography without much partisanship.Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Frank Bruni
March 31, 2015

Over the last few decades, Americans have turned college admissions into a terrifying and occasionally devastating process, preceded by test prep, tutors, all sorts of stratagems, all kinds of rankings, and a conviction among too many young people that their futures will be determined and their worth established by which schools say yes and which say no. In Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni explains why, giving students and their parents a new perspective on this brutal, deeply flawed competition and a path out of the anxiety that it provokes. “Written in a lively style but carrying a wallop, this is a book that family and educators cannot afford to overlook as they try to navigate the treacherous waters of college admissions,” our reviewer writes. View video >