History Book Reviews (page 928)

JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON by Craig L. Symonds
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 30, 1992

"A stimulating and absorbing biography of an undeservedly neglected warrior. (Illustrations; maps.)"
In a significant contribution to interpretive Civil War scholarship, Symonds (History/US Naval Academy) paints an engrossing portrait of one of the most enigmatic and important figures of the war. Read full book review >
BORIS YELTSIN by Vladimir Solovyov
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 30, 1992

"Often disjointed and disorganized, as if hastily prepared, but providing remarkable insight into the conflicts in the Soviet Union and the quality of the man who has been called upon to deal with them."
An intriguing and potentially controversial biography of the new President of Russia, by husband-and-wife Russian ÇmigrÇs Solovyov and Klepikova (Behind the High Kremlin Walls, 1986; Yuri Andropov, 1983). Read full book review >

BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: March 30, 1992

"While their prose style can most charitably be described as serviceable journalese, the authors offer a damning, dirt-dishing bill of particulars on a corporate chieftain arguably not up to the task of running his own show. (Eight pages of photos—not seen.)"
An unsparing and gossipy audit of James D. Robinson III's bumbling stewardship at American Express. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: March 27, 1992

"Jewishness that, ironically—given the title—seems more involved in discarding remnants than in saving them."
An eloquent exploration of the many facets of Jewish identity in America. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 27, 1992

"Frankland conveys the real tragedy enveloping Eastern Europe without closing his eyes or stumbling over the contradictions."
A whirlwind tour of Communist Europe during the last year of Communism, narrated with insight and restraint by English journalist and novelist Frankland (Richard Robertovich, 1988; Khrushchev, 1967). ``The tragedy of East Europe,'' according to Frankland, ``was that there were decent men among those who imposed Communism, and that it took so long for them to understand that they had taken a wrong turning to the promised land.'' Such understanding was bought at a high price: According to the author, ruined economies, ravaged landscapes, widespread disease, and chronic despair seem to be the only legacies of the old regimes now that the statues have come down and the streets have been renamed. Read full book review >

HISTORY
Released: March 25, 1992

"It is the care with which Browning examines the evidence, as well as the soberness of his conclusions, that gives this work such power and impact. (Eight pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)"
Chilling analysis of how a typical unit of German police actually operated during the Holocaust, by Browning (History/Pacific Lutheran Univ.). Read full book review >
OLYMPIA by Otto Friedrich
HISTORY
Released: March 25, 1992

"Rich, vivid, imaginatively organized—a 19th-century Bonfire of the Vanities, a true one, ready for the big screen. (Four pages of color photos, 12 pages of b&w—not seen.)"
Friedrich (Glenn Gould, The Grave of Alice B. Toklas—both 1989; City of Nets, 1986, etc.) now brings his rare historical imagination and narrative gifts to the art and politics, frivolity, eccentricity, and scandal of the Second Empire (1865-85) in Paris during the reign of Napoleon III. êdouard Manet's life is the frame, his art a recurrent motif. Read full book review >
THE JAPANESE CHRONICLES by Nicolas Bouvier
HISTORY
Released: March 23, 1992

"A superb guide, smoothly translated from the French, to the Japanese landscape and mind, and a delight for lovers of travel and fine writing. (Twelve photographs—most seen.)"
The ``best travel books,'' Bouvier believes, ``...are often written by people involved in commerce....Merchants' strict observations avoid the silly infatuations that will quickly take over the literature once poets start to travel.'' Happily, in this sensitive, acutely observed record of his stays in Japan, the author, a journalist who lives in Switzerland, disproves that statement with some of the most resonant and perceptive travel writing in recent years. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 23, 1992

"Noteworthy, but repetitive and rarely catching fire."
Richly researched broadside against the FBI's invasion of the rights of US writers to think for themselves; by the co-author of the Edgar-winning Savage Grace (1985). Read full book review >
HOW WE SURVIVED COMMUNISM AND EVEN LAUGHED by Slavenka Drakulic
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 23, 1992

"A sometimes sad, sometimes witty book that conveys more about politics in Eastern Europe than any number of theoretical political analyses."
A poignant and truthful look at what living under Communism was really like, by Croatian journalist and novelist Drakuli. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: March 20, 1992

"Historians and sociologists—and, probably, Jews and New Englanders—will find Goldstein's study useful and diverting, but its subject is too narrow for just about everyone else. (Twenty b&w photos—not seen.)"
A chronicle of Jewish settlement and assimilation in three Maine towns—Bangor, Mount Desert Island, and Calais—during the first half of this century, well told by a sociologist native to the region. Read full book review >
GEORGE BUSH'S WAR by Jean Edward Smith
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 20, 1992

According to Smith (Political Science/Univ. of Toronto; Lucius D. Clay, 1990, etc.) in this volatile study, America's adventure in the Persian Gulf War was not a crusade for freedom but a checkpoint on the personal agenda of George Bush, who disregarded constitutional restrictions on presidential power and cynically manipulated the public, the press, Congress, and even the military. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Gabrielle Zevin
March 3, 2015

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over—and see everything anew. “Zevin writes characters who grow and prosper,” our reviewer writes, “in a narrative that is sometimes sentimental, sometimes funny, sometimes true to life and always entertaining.” View video >