History Book Reviews (page 944)

HISTORY
Released: Nov. 1, 1991

"The engrossing text (marred only by a patent reluctance to trust the motives of military brass and their civilian masters) includes 64 photos (not seen), plus 16 helpful maps."
A blow-by-blow overview of the Khe Sanh siege, which, more than 20 years after, still ranks among the Vietnam War's most controversial episodes. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 1, 1991

"Full of hard-earned humor and pathos, Maus (I and II) takes your breath away with its stunning visual style, reminding us that while we can never forget the Holocaust, we may need new ways to remember."
Together with the much-acclaimed first volume of Spiegelman's Maus (1987—not reviewed), this unusual Holocaust tale will forever alter the way serious readers think of graphic narratives (i.e., comic books). Read full book review >

HISTORY
Released: Nov. 1, 1991

"An admirable study of a significant precursor to the Civil War, with specific details providing a springboard to broader treatment of the issues and tensions of the time."
A wide-ranging, fascinating investigation by Slaughter (History/Rutgers) into the social and racial circumstances surrounding the Christiana Riot of 1851, in which runaway slaves stood up to the master who tracked them down and killed him. Read full book review >
ON CHARACTER by James Q. Wilson
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 1, 1991

"But however appealing to readers, it presents no clear guidelines for forming character or public policy."
Elegantly written essays on elevating standards of behavior in today's world. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 1, 1991

"A ringing affirmation, in the company of Arthur Danto's Encounters and Reflections and Robert Hughes's Nothing if Not Critical (both 1990), that today art criticism is often contemporary art's most interesting aspect. (Forty-four illustrations—some seen.)"
A brilliant, intricate interpretation of modern art's progress as it reflects the dictates of the museum, by a Harvard professor of English. Read full book review >

CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Nov. 1, 1991

"Of most interest for Kampelman's insider's take on US-Soviet maneuverings; of least interest for his excessive, sometimes ill- advised, counselings."
Washington lawyer Kampelman, chief US negotiator during the Helsinki human-rights conferences and the more recent Geneva arms negotiations, offers an opinionated though informative autobiography. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 1, 1991

"A valuable academic document, if ill-constructed for a wider audience. (Sixteen pages of illustrations—not seen.)"
The political and social intrigues of Civil War Washington are given vivid, gossipy immediacy in an unusual treasury of letters from a member of a prominent Union family to her naval officer husband. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 1, 1991

A heartfelt plea to rethink the industrial world's alleged headlong rush to oblivion through its mad pursuit of technology. Read full book review >
AN ENEMY AMONG FRIENDS by Kiyoaki Murata
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Nov. 1, 1991

"Controversial only in its omissions, Murata's tale has the charm of a traditional wartime boy-comes-of-age account, with an international twist. (Eight pages of b&w photographs.)"
Japanese journalist Murata warmly remembers his six-year career as a student in the US during WW II, maintaining the awestruck tone of the diary he began as a teenager. Read full book review >
NIXON by Stephen E. Ambrose
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 1, 1991

"An adroit retelling of how Nixon plunged into his political black hole—and why, like Lady Macbeth's 'damned spot,' and despite his carefully orchestrated comeback, his role in the Watergate cover-up can never be obliterated."
Foreign policy master, political brawler, family man, loner, tragic hero, criminal, elder statesman, eternal conniver—Richard Nixon plays all of these roles in the final installment of Ambrose's fascinating three-volume biography (1987, 1989) of the ex-President. Read full book review >
STALIN by Robert Conquest
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 1, 1991

"921). (Eight pages of photographs—not seen.)"
Blending impeccable scholarship and deeply revealing anecdotes, noted Soviet scholar Conquest (Stalin and the Kirov Murder, 1989, etc.) illuminates Stalin's role in history as well as his private character. ``Overall he gives the impression of a large and crude claylike figure, a golem, into which a demonic spark has been instilled,'' writes Conquest of ``a man who perhaps more than any other determined the course of the twentieth century.'' Conquest sifts through post-glasnost material to pursue the truth about the author of the Big Lie, who ``ruled not only by terror but also by falsification'' (the emblem of which was, Conquest notes, torture to extract false confessions). Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 1, 1991

"A consistently engrossing portrait of a despot who sowed discontent among the electorate's disaffected and reaped the whirlwind just as he was hitting his stride. (Illustrations—not seen.)"
A masterly biography of the redneck messiah who, before he was assassinated in 1935 at age 42, played a leading role on the US political stage. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Bill Browder
author of RED NOTICE
March 24, 2015

Bill Browder’s Red Notice is a nonfiction political thriller about an American financier in the Wild East of Russia, the murder of his principled young tax attorney, and his mission to expose the Kremlin’s corruption. In 2007, a group of Russian law enforcement officers raided Browder’s offices in Moscow and stole $230 million of taxes that his fund’s companies had paid to the Russian government. Browder’s attorney Sergei Magnitsky investigated the incident and uncovered a sprawling criminal enterprise. A month after Sergei testified against the officials involved, he was arrested and thrown into pre-trial detention, where he was tortured for a year. On November 16, 2009, he was led to an isolation chamber, handcuffed to a bedrail, and beaten to death by eight guards in full riot gear. “It may be that ‘Russian stories never have happy endings,’ ” our reviewer writes about Red Notice, “but Browder’s account more than compensates by ferociously unmasking Putin’s thugocracy.” View video >