History Book Reviews (page 943)

WOODROW WILSON by J.W. Schulte Nordholt
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 15, 1991

"Schulte Nordholt's perceptive focus on Wilson's volatile mind- set—which equated esthetics with ethics and poetics with politics- -is a refreshing change from the more familiar portraits such as August Heckscher's Woodrow Wilson (p. 909). (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs-not seen.)"
From Dutch historian Schulte Nordholt, an evenhanded look at the 28th President. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 14, 1991

"An incorrigible tendency toward abbreviating Conan Doyle's views to promulgate his own diminishes Costello's well-researched quasi-biography, which ultimately makes the crimes more interesting than the crimewriter. (Sixteen-page photo insert—not seen.)"
Whether you agree or not that Sherlock Holmes was the greatest detective who never lived, there is little evidence here that his maker, Conan Doyle, could have been admitted to the first rank of investigators—unless enthusiasm for the grisly be the prime qualification. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 14, 1991

"North's general lines of reasoning are abundantly enforced by Hoover's own memos, among other sources. (Sixteen pages of photographs—not seen.)"
Strong scenario by a Texas attorney for J. Edgar Hoover's complicity in the assassination of President Kennedy by the Carlos Marcello mafia family of New Orleans. Read full book review >
GIORDANO BRUNO AND THE EMBASSY AFFAIR by John Bossy
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 13, 1991

"A bewildering and frustrating read. (Illustrations.)"
It takes considerable courage and incontrovertible evidence to propose, as Bossy (History/Univ. of York) does, that Giordano Bruno, an Italian ``national saint'' burned at the stake in 1600 for defying the Pope, spent three years (1583-86) as an anti- Catholic spy at the pro-papal French Embassy in London. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 13, 1991

"Well written and researched—though more about socioeconomic than intellectual Jewish gains. (Twelve illustrations—not seen.)"
An absorbing study of American Jews who first broke the ``color line'' at the humanities faculties of Ivy League colleges. Read full book review >

CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Nov. 13, 1991

"Admirable, perceptive, and refreshingly well balanced—a daunting task superbly accomplished. (One hundred and forty-five illustrations—not seen.)"
An ambitious, wonderfully detailed investigation into the shifting perceptions of American cultural identity from Pulitzer Prize-winner (People of Paradox, 1973) Kammen (American History and Culture/Cornell; A Machine That Would Go of Itself, 1986, etc.). Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 12, 1991

"A dramatic re-creation of the diplomatic minuets and military brinkmanship that preceded, and made inevitable, the guns of August 1914 and the resulting catastrophes of this century. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs; maps.) (Book-of-the-Month Split Main Selection for December)"
Here, as with his Pulitzer Prize-winning Peter the Great (1980), Massie disdains the virtues of literary economy. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Nov. 11, 1991

"A masterful storyteller's cleareyed tribute to the postbellum reconciliation. (Photographs—not seen.)"
An erstwhile warrior's powerful and thought-provoking report on his unsentimental journeys to Vietnam 20 years after a wounding tour of combat duty. Read full book review >
LEONARDO by Serge Bramly
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 6, 1991

"And, while Bramly belittles Freud's reading of Leonardo's psyche, he offers little to replace it, indeed almost no insight into his subject's inner life or the sources of his creative energy. (Four pages of color photos; 75 b&w photos—not seen.)"
Unlike earlier biographers, many of whom considered Leonardo divine or demonic, French novelist and biographer Bramly offers the image of a gifted, methodical, rational, emotionally simple craftsman whose personal life remains wrapped in mysteries—some intentional and others, such as the loss of his grave and many of his works, the results of time and circumstance. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 5, 1991

"Competent and informative as far as it goes, but a definitive account of the West and the Civil War remains to be written. (Twenty maps.)"
A thorough but disappointing assessment of the Civil War as waged west of the Mississippi, by Native-American specialist Josephy (Now That the Buffalo's Gone, 1982; The Indian Heritage of America, 1968), who skillfully weaves an impressive knowledge of tribal encounters into the larger fabric of conflict between North and South. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Nov. 4, 1991

"Of interest for its historical perspective on today's media- based politicking, but Troy's formula of studying each campaign in order without fully explaining the issues of the day leads at times to a bloodless narrative too limited in scope."
Cerebral campaign-by-campaign account of how candidates have sought the presidency. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Nov. 1, 1991

"Brisk, responsible, and wide-ranging work that goes at least part of the way in laying some nuclear secrets bare."
Eye-opening and evenhanded report by two AP journalists on the history of the nuclear-weapons industry in the Southwest and its effects on its employees and neighbors. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Frank Bruni
March 31, 2015

Over the last few decades, Americans have turned college admissions into a terrifying and occasionally devastating process, preceded by test prep, tutors, all sorts of stratagems, all kinds of rankings, and a conviction among too many young people that their futures will be determined and their worth established by which schools say yes and which say no. In Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni explains why, giving students and their parents a new perspective on this brutal, deeply flawed competition and a path out of the anxiety that it provokes. “Written in a lively style but carrying a wallop, this is a book that family and educators cannot afford to overlook as they try to navigate the treacherous waters of college admissions,” our reviewer writes. View video >