History Book Reviews (page 925)

CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"An intelligent study that offers a glimmer of hope (if war depends upon perception, then it can be curtailed if not eradicated)—although, truth be told, LeShan's admonitions will probably have all the effect of lighting a match in a hurricane."
Psychotherapist LeShan (The Dilemma of Psychology, 1990, etc.) digs into the causes of—and cures for—war. Read full book review >
HUMAN MINDS by Margaret Donaldson
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"Ambitious and challenging but, ultimately, more suggestive than persuasive—and, at times, tough going for the general reader."
In a highly speculative analysis, Edinburgh University developmental psychologist Donaldson (Children's Minds, 1979) proposes an unusual model of human mental processes, viewing them as a series of distinct yet interactive stages, and charting a course from birth to maturity to account for the evolution of both feelings and thoughts. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"A vivid, first-rate biography of a judicial hero. (Thirty-two b&w photographs.)"
Bass (Journalism/Univ. of Mississippi; Unlikely Heroes, 1981, etc.), using extensive quotes from taped interviews with his subject and others, tells the story of an outstanding and heroic federal judge: Frank M. Johnson of Alabama, who, despite the constant threat of violence in the explosive 1960's South, contributed to the achievement of racial justice in numerous landmark civil-rights cases. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"Thorough and relentless as a chronicle of centuries of strife- -but also severely fragmented and unable to reconcile its air of travelogue with a more compelling critical agenda. (Illustrations; maps.)"
An erudite but lackluster interweaving of recent travels by Gott (literary editor of the London Guardian; Guerrilla Movements in Latin America, 1971) with more than four centuries of European forays into the South American interior and the vast swamplands of Bolivia, Paraguay, and Brazil. Read full book review >
DAKOTA by Kathleen Norris
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"Quiet and clearheaded, with typical first-book flaws."
A meditative mÇlange of observations on Midwest land and spirit. Read full book review >

CHAIM WEIZMANN by Jehuda Reinharz
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"Not so much compelling as admirably—perhaps definitively- -detailed. (Photographs.)"
Well-documented but slow-moving second volume in Reinharz's monumental three-volume biography of Israel's first president (Chaim Weizmann: The Making of a Zionist Leader, 1985). Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"Descriptive writing here sometimes reveals more than it feels decent to know, but Urrea's recognition of intact humanity—along with his accounts of kindness and generosity—gives this nightmarish tour its redeeming affection and hope. (Photographs.)"
Tijuana-born Urrea calls lice, scabies, typhoid, etc., the ``many ambassadors of poverty''; his vignettes of borderland misery (most appeared previously in the San Diego Reader) are like a series of painful and shocking introductions at a demonic embassy party. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"Except for its simplistic conclusion (that the lax US war- crimes posture contributed to the souring of American-Soviet relations): revelatory and shocking investigative scholarship of a high order."
A disturbing report on how US bankers, lawyers, and diplomats responded to the Armenian massacres of WW I and the Holocaust. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"A dramatic but caring book in which Mirante's blithe tone doesn't disguise her earnest concern for the worsening conditions faced by the Burmese hill tribes."
A hip and lively narrative of human-rights activism in Burma. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"First published in England, this probably works best as an interpretation for foreigners, not as an analysis that can help us understand ourselves."
Pye, a British novelist (The King Over the Water, 1981, etc.) and journalist living in New York, has put together a brittle, impressionistic collage of historical and contemporary items—on early Dutch rule and misrule; immigrant hopes and disillusionment; sexual politics; snobbish Society; the struggle to make it in ``audition city,'' and more—for a portrait-in-time that he calls a ``biography'' of N.Y.C., though there's little sense of organic life or rhythm in its various staccato accounts. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"An illuminating rundown on a largely ignored, albeit important, chapter in diplomatic and military history. (One map.)"
Much has been written (e.g., David Kahn's Seizing the Enigma, 1991) about the high-grade intelligence (dubbed ``Ultra'' and ``Magic'') available to the Allies during WW II as a result of the UK's ability to read many of Nazi Germany's ciphers and of America's success in cracking Japanese codes. Read full book review >
A TASTE OF POWER by Elaine Brown
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"Timely, front-row view of a turbulent era. Put it on the shelf beside The Autobiography of Malcolm X."
Engrossing, jolting, behind-the-scenes memoir by the woman who led the Black Panther Party to mainstream power-brokering without giving up the guns, and who ended up fleeing its violence: a stunning picture of a black woman's coming of age in America. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Vanessa Diffenbaugh
September 1, 2015

Vanessa Diffenbaugh is the New York Timesbestselling author of The Language of Flowers; her new novel, We Never Asked for Wings, is about young love, hard choices, and hope against all odds. For 14 years, Letty Espinosa has worked three jobs around San Francisco to make ends meet while her mother raised her children—Alex, now 15, and Luna, six—in their tiny apartment on a forgotten spit of wetlands near the bay. But now Letty’s parents are returning to Mexico, and Letty must step up and become a mother for the first time in her life. “Diffenbaugh’s latest confirms her gift for creating shrewd, sympathetic charmers,” our reviewer writes. View video >