History Book Reviews (page 923)

COMPLEXITY by Roger Lewin
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Dec. 5, 1992

"Taking the long view, complexity—explored so well here—may be seen as a corrective reaction to molecular biology: a restoration of the old-fashioned physiologists' and systems- theorists' point of view, revitalized with the aid of supercomputers."
What happens when you take computer pros, AI folk, brain modelers, ecologists, evolutionists, biologists, and students of chaos, sprinkle them with enthusiasm, and kindle a search for order? Out may come complexity—touted as the "new science of the nineties.'' Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Dec. 3, 1992

"Like the title says, not a mansion, not a cape or a ranch, but a cabin of words: bare wood and nails, hammered tight."
Third collection of compact autobiographical essays by the Pulitzer-winning playwright (Some Freaks, 1989; Writing in Restaurants, 1986). Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Dec. 2, 1992

"Although his psychological profiles are too superficial to be totally convincing, Gilbert raises important questions and gives useful advice. (Illustrations—not seen.)"
The unique demands of the US presidency have made the position hazardous to health, according to this intriguing study by Gilbert (Political Science/Northeastern Univ.). Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Dec. 2, 1992

"A case study that skillfully demonstrates how the South's superior commanders initially brought the Confederates close to ultimate victory. (B&w photos and maps—not seen.)"
A thorough and first-rate account of a critical Civil War battle that was sandwiched between—and dwarfed by—the momentous Seven Days and Antietam campaigns. Read full book review >
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Dec. 2, 1992

"Intellectual history at its most stimulating—teeming with insights into American violence, politics, class, and race."
Concluding a trilogy that began with Regeneration Through Violence (1973) and The Fatal Environment (1985), Slotkin (English/Wesleyan Univ.) now offers a subtle and wide-ranging examination how America's fascination with the frontier has affected its culture and politics in this century. Read full book review >

HISTORY
Released: Dec. 1, 1992

"Laudable in intent—though not in execution. (Fifteen b&w photographs.)"
Physicist Swimme (The Universe Is a Green Dragon, 1984—not reviewed) and cultural historian Berry (The Dream of the Earth, 1988) attempt to offer a new creation myth that incorporates a scientific view of the universe with philosophical speculation on humanity's place within it. Read full book review >
GUERRILLAS by Jon Lee Anderson
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Dec. 1, 1992

"It took guts to research and write this; relentlessly grim— not through Anderson's fault, since he does a superb reporting job- -it's no picnic to read either."
The bloody world of the modern revolutionary, as seen by free- lance writer (Harper's, etc.) and documentary filmmaker Anderson. Read full book review >
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Dec. 1, 1992

"An intricate analysis rather than a denunciation—but in focusing on the day-to-day activities of a handful of highly skilled lobbyists, Birnbaum conveys the ambiguous relationship between Congress and those who solicit its favors."
An attempt to convey how lobbyists really work in Washington, by Wall Street Journal reporter Birnbaum (coauthor, Showdown at Gucci Gulch, 1987). Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Dec. 1, 1992

"Straight-from-the-heartland reminiscences of a high-flier whose eventful life seems to have been remarkably free of complexity and doubt."
An authentic American hero's ``I-did-it-my-way'' memoir that, though less than reflective and more than self-satisfied, may hold considerable interest for a wide readership. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Dec. 1, 1992

"His research is impressive. (Photographs—not seen.)"
The Gulf War as Guernica: former US attorney general Clark's profoundly revisionist on-the-ground story of the war and why it occurred. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Dec. 1, 1992

"An annoying format—but a valuable theory against which to test decision-making aimed at avoiding unethical behavior and unforeseen negative outcomes."
Jacobs, who changed prevailing notions of urban planning and city life with The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961), now looks at societal ethics and delineates two contradictory moral systems. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Dec. 1, 1992

"Jenner argues persuasively that China may be largely immutable, but he never really deals with today's ultimate agent of change: the information avalanche, which buried even the Soviet Union."
Provocative analysis of how China's culture will affect that nation's current and future behavior; by Jenner (History/Australian National Univ.). Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Sabaa Tahir
August 4, 2015

Sabaa Tahir’s novel An Ember in the Ashes reveals a world inspired by ancient Rome and defined by brutality. Seventeen-year-old Laia has grown up with one rule for survival: Never challenge the Empire. But when Laia’s brother Darin is arrested for treason, she leaves behind everything she knows, risking her life to try and save him. She enlists help from the rebels whose extensive underground network may lead to Darin. Their help comes with a price, though. Laia must infiltrate the Empire’s greatest military academy as a spy. Elias is the Empire’s finest soldier—and its most unwilling one. Thrown together by chance and united by their hatred of the Empire, Laia and Elias will soon discover that their fates are intertwined—and that their choices may change the destiny of the entire Empire. We talk to An Ember in the Ashes author Sabaa Tahir this week on Kirkus TV. View video >