History Book Reviews (page 7)

HELL AND GOOD COMPANY by Richard Rhodes
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 3, 2015

"This is not one of Rhodes' major works, but it is an interesting collection of observations on an iconic war that the good guys lost but which produced important cultural and therapeutic advances."
Readers who pay attention to the preface will look elsewhere for a definitive history of the Spanish Civil War, but there are plenty of good reasons to continue with this one. Read full book review >
ELIZABETH GURLEY FLYNN by Lara Vapnek
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 3, 2015

"A brief encapsulation of the fury and disillusionment that characterized the career of this significant American activist."
Biography of an important early-20th-century labor and human rights activist known as the East Side Joan of Arc, now sadly neglected. This is the latest in the Lives of American Women series. Read full book review >

BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Feb. 3, 2015

"Fodder for concerned thought, with a dollop of paranoia."
A presentation of China's hidden agenda grounded in the author's longtime work at the U.S. Defense Department. Read full book review >
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 >
Kirkus Interview
Bill Browder
author of RED NOTICE
March 24, 2015

Bill Browder’s Red Notice is a nonfiction political thriller about an American financier in the Wild East of Russia, the murder of his principled young tax attorney, and his mission to expose the Kremlin’s corruption. In 2007, a group of Russian law enforcement officers raided Browder’s offices in Moscow and stole $230 million of taxes that his fund’s companies had paid to the Russian government. Browder’s attorney Sergei Magnitsky investigated the incident and uncovered a sprawling criminal enterprise. A month after Sergei testified against the officials involved, he was arrested and thrown into pre-trial detention, where he was tortured for a year. On November 16, 2009, he was led to an isolation chamber, handcuffed to a bedrail, and beaten to death by eight guards in full riot gear. “It may be that ‘Russian stories never have happy endings,’ ” our reviewer writes about Red Notice, “but Browder’s account more than compensates by ferociously unmasking Putin’s thugocracy.” View video >