History Book Reviews (page 928)

HISTORY
Released: April 29, 1994

"Simmons does not rise to the numerous occasions for satire and sick jokes, though the Lampoon's history is as warped and blackly comic as any of its creations."
Matty Simmons, the ousted chairman and founding father-figure of National Lampoon, has the corner office in his personal history of its first two twisted decades of reinventing American humor. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: April 29, 1994

"Superb and important—another ground-breaking achievement in research and narration for Trudeau, covering a period not often examined in depth by Civil War historians."
National Public Radio producer Trudeau (The Last Citadel, 1991; Bloody Roads South, 1989), completing a fine trilogy of works about the Civil War, recounts the turbulent collapse of the Confederacy in the months following Lee's surrender at Appomattox Courthouse. ``General readers are so taken with the simple drama of Appomattox,'' Trudeau writes in his preface, ``that many continue to believe that the Civil War ended with that incident.'' Nothing could be farther from the truth, according to Trudeau: At the time of Lee's surrender, Confederate armies were still in the field in North Carolina, Alabama, and the trans-Mississippi, and it was far from obvious to the leaders of the North that the Confederacy would not continue to fight, even though the Richmond government had fled after the collapse of Lee's army. Read full book review >

BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: April 27, 1994

"Light and lively fare—containing just enough facts to satisfy."
A bright, breezy, and opinionated look at how the Food and Drug Administration has handled and mishandled its job in the past decade. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: April 27, 1994

"Don't take ours''), he is not so conscience- stricken as to refrain from peddling what he has learned."
An interesting but nonetheless weak follow-up to Arden's (Wisdomkeepers, not reviewed) work on American Indian spirituality and values. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: April 26, 1994

"Written in unadorned, straightforward prose, this memoir is a testament to human fortitude, courage, and joy."
An inspiring story of an African-American double amputee aviator whose triumphs will impress even the most cynical and jaded of readers. Read full book review >

STALIN AGAINST THE JEWS by Arkady Vaksberg
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 22, 1994

"One hopes that a more comprehensive and comprehensible retelling of this story will become available soon."
Given the importance of its subject, relatively unexplored, and the talents of its author (The Prosecutor, 1991), this must be judged a major disappointment. Read full book review >
A WOMAN OF VALOR by Stephen B. Oates
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 21, 1994

"Includes maps—not seen."
A lively account of Clara Barton's life during the Civil War that reveals both the character of this compelling woman and the awfulness of war. Read full book review >
WAR OF NUMBERS by Sam Adams
HISTORY
Released: April 20, 1994

"David Hackworth, the retired Army colonel who wrote About Face (not reviewed), provides the volume's introduction."
At the time of Adams's death in 1988, he had almost completed this book, which recounts his side of a major controversy regarding Vietnam in measured fashion and affords instructive insights into the lot of a lower-echelon operative in the spook trade. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: April 19, 1994

"This is compelling material worthy of treatment by Gordon Prange or Len Deighton, but it's told here by a sloppy researcher with poor narrative gifts. (B&w photos)"
A plodding account of one of the most fascinating of WW II stories—how Japan sought to spy on the Allies through neutral countries. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: April 19, 1994

"An essential one-volume read for the layman or undergraduate."
A richly documented short history of the Warsaw Ghetto by Gutman (History/Hebrew University), who is a death-camp survivor and the director of the research center at Yad Vashem, Israel's national Holocaust memorial. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: April 19, 1994

"A timely study that, as the author says, offers more interesting questions than simple answers."
Psychoanalyst Strozier (History/John Jay College/CUNY; Lincoln's Quest for Union—not reviewed) probes the minds of ``end- time believers'' to investigate a growing religious trend that he sees as one response to a widespread sense of ultimate threat. Read full book review >
LOOKING AT THE SUN by James Fallows
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: April 18, 1994

"An astute observer's provocative response to what he deems the large-scale economic challenges posed by Asia to the West. (Author tour)"
While capitalism may have bested communism in the Cold War, Fallows (More Like Us, 1989; National Defense, 1981, which won the American Book Award) fears that the West does not realize that the world's balance of economic power is shifting from the North Atlantic to the Pacific Basin and, further, that Asian economic success is based on a system of free enterprise that diverges in crucial ways from that of the West. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Nancy Isenberg
author of WHITE TRASH
July 19, 2016

Poor Americans have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlement. They were alternately known as “waste people,” “offals,” “rubbish,” “lazy lubbers,” and “crackers.” By the 1850s, the downtrodden included so-called “clay eaters” and “sandhillers,” known for prematurely aged children distinguished by their yellowish skin, ragged clothing, and listless minds. Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over 400 years, in White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America, Nancy Isenberg upends assumptions about America’s supposedly class-free society––where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. “A riveting thesis supported by staggering research,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. View video >