History Book Reviews (page 94)

ON THE NATURAL HISTORY OF DESTRUCTION by W.G. Sebald
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 18, 2003

"Somber and moving: a contribution to the literature of WWII from a perspective that will be new to most American readers."
Interconnected essays from the recently deceased German novelist (Austerlitz, 2001, etc.) on his nation's capacity to cause, absorb, and forget suffering. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 11, 2003

"A lively, always captivating blend of comparative religion, cultural history, literary travel, and eccentric trivia that deserves a broad readership among the spiritually inclined."
Western culture, scholars say, rests on the twin foundations of Hellenism and Judaism. In this brilliant historical essay, BBC producer and writer Kriwaczek makes a solid case for adding Zoroastrianism to the mix. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 2003

"Stirring, frequently astonishing popular history: a tale of selfless heroics to ease a nation's uncertain spirit."
Journalist and nonfiction author Hagedorn (Ransom, 1998, etc.) retrieves the largely unsung efforts of abolitionists in a small Ohio town who helped several hundred slaves escape to freedom. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 2003

"'Wait. One more memory . . . ' They come in beautiful profusion, coalescing into a young life in a lyric memoir of the utterly vanished."
Between mercurial and leisurely, lush and thorny, jumbled and crystalline, Yale historian Eire's recollection of his Cuban boyhood is to be savored. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 1, 2003

"A splendid start to Penguin's History of Europe series and a first-rate work in its own right."
A chronicle of high ideals and cherished dreams—as well as famine, plague, holy war, and other apocalyptic horsemen in the making of Europe from the 11th to the 14th centuries. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 2003

"Gripping drama, captured with a reporter's nose for a good story and a novelist's flair for telling it. (6 b&w photos, 1 map, not seen)"
A vivid account of the tragedies and triumphs of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago and the concurrent depravities of America's first serial killer. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 2003

"One of the nation's darkest chapters, brilliantly exhumed and analyzed with due attention to its obvious contemporary relevance."
Respected biographer Morris (Ambrose Bierce, 1996, etc.) reconstructs in amazing detail a presidential election that profaned the rule of law and nearly rekindled the Civil War. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 21, 2003

"A rich, provocative work that merits attention during the commemorative season to come. (See Brian Hall's I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company, p. 1494, for an expertly drawn fictional recreation of the Lewis and Clark expedition.)"
In chapters that stand alone as essays and follow themes not found in more sober works of history ("Dreams," "Writing First," "Why Snakes?," etc.), Slaughter (History/Notre Dame) examines questions that some celebrants of the Lewis and Clark bicentenary may not want to see raised. Read full book review >
SAMURAI WILLIAM by Giles Milton
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 18, 2003

"A remarkable tale that might have fallen from the inventive lips of Scheherazade. (3 maps, 47 illustrations)"
Popular historian Milton (The Riddle and the Knight, 2001, etc.) returns with another page-turner: a chronicle of the actual events underlying James Clavell's novel Shogun (1975). Read full book review >
WRAPPED IN RAINBOWS by Valerie Boyd
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 7, 2003

"Brings one of the most pivotal figures in 20th-century literature brilliantly to life. (25 b&w photos, not seen. Published in conjunction with the annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities in Eatonville, Florida.)"
From Atlanta Journal-Constitution editor and critic Boyd, a definitive biography of the groundbreaking novelist, playwright, and anthropologist. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 1, 2003

"Thanks to Vincent, readers will want to go straight to the art for a good, hard look. (8 pages color illustrations)"
A probing, top-flight study of Ralph Albert Blakelock's difficult life (1847-1919) and visionary art, from playwright and art journalist Vincent. Read full book review >
THE VICTORIANS by A.N. Wilson
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 1, 2003

"An altogether excellent look at the Victorian era, with all its flaws and glories."
A brilliant evocation of a generation that, at least for the English, is both very much alive and has "vanished totally." Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Fernanda Santos
author of THE FIRE LINE
May 17, 2016

When a bolt of lightning ignited a hilltop in the sleepy town of Yarnell, Arizona, in June 2013, setting off a blaze that would grow into one of the deadliest fires in American history, the 20 men who made up the Granite Mountain Hotshots sprang into action. New York Times writer Fernanda Santos’ debut book The Fire Line is the story of the fire and the Hotshots’ attempts to extinguish it. An elite crew trained to combat the most challenging wildfires, the Hotshots were a ragtag family, crisscrossing the American West and wherever else the fires took them. There's Eric Marsh, their devoted and demanding superintendent who turned his own personal demons into lessons he used to mold, train and guide his crew; Jesse Steed, their captain, a former Marine, a beast on the fire line and a family man who wasn’t afraid to say “I love you” to the firemen he led; Andrew Ashcraft, a team leader still in his 20s who struggled to balance his love for his beautiful wife and four children and his passion for fighting wildfires. We see this band of brothers at work, at play and at home, until a fire that burned in their own backyards leads to a national tragedy. View video >