History Book Reviews (page 928)

HISTORY
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"Evocative and entertaining popular history. (Eight pages of photographs)"
In a well-crafted compilation of letters, lurid newspaper accounts, legal documents, and photographs and drawings of the day, Cooper (a former Columbia law professor) tells a story of high aspirations, of a failed marriage and a scandalous divorce, and of a 1860's-style murder that might have been dreamed up by William Dean Howells. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"Of some interest to urban historians, but slow-going for general readers. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs—not seen)"
As crammed with facts and figures as a rush-hour express is with passengers, this history of the New York subway system stalls time and again. Read full book review >

AN EVIL CRADLING by Brian Keenan
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"Harrowing; exalting; unforgettable."
A hostage memoir unlike any other—because from the nearly unimaginable degradations that Keenan, a working-class Irishman, suffered for four and a half years at the hands of Muslim extremists, he's woven not only a compelling tale of endurance but an indelible testament to, as he puts it, ``the richness, perhaps even enchantment, of humanity.'' In 1986, Keenan, then 36 and teaching in Beirut, was snatched by Shi'ite gunmen—an act he describes in the kind of penetrative detail that distinguishes his narrative: ``I noticed two of [the gunmen] breathing very fast. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"An impressive document that will interest WW II buffs, historians, and anyone who likes a tale of hands-on derring-do."
Exciting OSS/Serbo-Croatian adventure circa 1944, by Lindsay (Associate/Harvard's Center for International Affairs). Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"Diverting and informative takes that confirm the suspicion that Western civilization's march through time has been a tragicomedy of errors and ironies."
Thoughtful variations on the theme that historic blunders can be traced as often as not to the booby traps that await even well- prepared leaders who engage in summitry. Read full book review >

TRACING IT HOME by Lynn Pan
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"The finest sort of historical and social writing: living, unpretentious, and moving, but with no recrimination or garment- rending."
Splendid, multifaceted recounting of the Shanghai-born author's search for her roots. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"A fine complement to David Rieff's The Exile (p. 773). (Illustrations)"
A perceptive appreciation of Miami and what makes it tick, from a pair of sociologists who understand that anecdotal evidence can be as illuminating as statistical abstracts. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"It's a keeper."
Rosenberg, who's made a career from controversial translations of biblical materials (The Book of J, 1990; Job Speaks, 1977, etc.), now claims to have ``restored'' a pre-Genesis account of the Garden of Eden. Read full book review >
BLACK ELK by Michael F. Steltenkamp
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"A real step forward in American Indian religious studies."
Based on conversations with Black Elk's surviving friends and relatives, especially his daughter Lucy Looks Twice: a reassessment of the Lakota holy man's religious vocation. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"Artful and absorbing."
In a felicitous synthesis of history, sociology, psychology, and anthropology, Tuttle (History and American Studies/Univ. of Kansas) represents in rich detail the intersection between public events and the way young children perceived them during WW II. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

In dense, challenging, subtly argued philosophical essays, Bordo (Philosophy/LeMoyne College; The Flight to Objectivity, 1987- -not reviewed) offers a postmodern, poststructuralist feminist interpretation of the female body as a cultural construction in Western society, emphasizing eating disorders, reproductive issues, and the philosophical background. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"Provocative and intriguing—but not without flaws."
A forceful study of the relationship between Jews and the state. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >