History Book Reviews (page 938)

MEMORY FEVER by Ray Gonzalez
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 15, 1993

"A Chicano memoir that should speak affectingly to young poets."
Poet, editor (The Guadalupe Review), anthologist (Mirrors Beneath the Earth, 1992) Gonzalez offers thoughtful, imagistic essays and vignettes about growing up in the desert Southwest and into his literary calling. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: May 14, 1993

"Some useful information clearly presented, but, overall—to adapt the famous Churchill phrase—a pudding in search of a theme."
Largely familiar tale of great-power politics prior to and during WW II; by Gardner (History/Rutgers; Approaching Vietnam, 1988, etc.). Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 10, 1993

"By focusing on Adams's retirement, Ellis doesn't achieve the sweep of a full biography—but he's able to capture the man's appealing spirit, providing new perspective on an unfairly neglected Founding Father. (Photographs)"
In a meditative and discursive essay (mostly about its subject's long retirement), Ellis (History/Mount Holyoke; After the Revolution, 1979) ponders the distinctive personality and achievements of America's endearingly cantankerous second President. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: May 10, 1993

"An eye-opening report on nations caught between the securities of the past and the uncertainties of the future. (Five maps)"
Five sharp essays (expanded from New Yorker pieces) that explore political, socioeconomic, and ecological conditions in five southeast Asian locales: Singapore, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, and Borneo. Read full book review >
FOR GOD, COUNTRY, AND COCA-COLA by Mark Pendergrast
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: May 4, 1993

"A chatty, scrupulously documented account of a corporate phenomenon (and far more revealing than Elizabeth Candler Graham's The Real Ones, 1992) that's a bit like Coke itself: zesty and transiently refreshing. (Eight pages of photographs—not seen)"
While the subtitle of Pendergrast's study suggests an ambush of Coca-Cola, the author obviously received at least semiofficial assistance in compiling his gossipy, essentially sympathetic history of a company that has attained cultural as well as commercial success. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 3, 1993

More than 35 years after leaving office, Brownell recalls serving as campaign adviser and attorney general for the man ``head and shoulders above all the other political figures I have ever encountered'': Dwight D. Eisenhower. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: May 3, 1993

"With its pertinent analysis, this could be a contemporary political-science classic."
Skerry (of the UCLA Center for American Politics and Public Policy) doesn't think that Mexican-Americans are ambivalent about being North Americans. Read full book review >
FOOD & COOKING
Released: May 3, 1993

"Lofty but fun, with 34 very fine, personal photographs taken by the author."
Saucy guide to and social history of a wine-making village in France, first published in France in 1988 and then in Britain in 1992. Read full book review >
CHICAGO JAZZ by William Howland Kenney
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: May 1, 1993

"A worthy bringing-back of Chicago's Roaring Twenties, with the jazz history layered like beds of coal beneath the phonograph recordings. (Twenty halftones)"
Cultural history of early Chicago jazz, less anecdotal than social, told in an impersonal voice that distances the reader from the music but strives to dig beneath an ``isolated world of instrumental mastery, chord progressions, and orchestral formations and disintegrations.'' A rousing history of Chicago jazz that buries its nose in the fumes and funk of the cafes and dance halls, in other words, is not what one gets here—or, rather, is what one gets only when Kenney (American Studies/Kent State) quotes leading figures in their own voices. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: May 1, 1993

"The biographical material here and the social history involving racial issues, sex, and class are especially significant- -but there's not much on the southern history of the title."
In a perceptive and sympathetic account based on extensive research in archives and public records, Williamson (Humanities/Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; The Crucible of Race, 1984, etc.) offers some revelations about Faulkner's ancestry and background, along with a comprehensive commentary on the novelist's life and works. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: May 1, 1993

"Not strong on the reasons for European settlement, but a vivid panorama that makes one look forward to Morgan's projected next volume in this saga. (Four maps)"
A colorful portrait that boldly highlights the cruelty, sharp practices, disease, madness, and brutality displayed—or brought about—by the British, French, Spanish, and Dutch in their subjugation of Native Americans and enslavement of Africans. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: May 1, 1993

"Among the more memorable of Vietnam reminiscences, at times as piercing as a splinter in the soul."
An ex-grunt's probing, painful account of coming of age in the hellfire of Vietnam. 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 >