History Book Reviews (page 944)

THE FEATHER MEN by Ranulph Fiennes
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 23, 1993

"Excepting this cavil and the moral ambiguities of rough justice: A marvelously entertaining account of good versus unequivocal evil. (Eight pages of photos—not seen.)"
A rousing tale of true adventure in which a homespun band of British vigilantes takes on and destroys a cabal of assassins-for- hire. Read full book review >
IL DUCE'S OTHER WOMAN by Philip Cannistraro
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 19, 1993

"The authors devote too much space to Sarfatti's career as an art critic and promoter of Italian-American ties; still, hers is a remarkable, sometimes tragic, tale. (Photos.)"
A dry but well-informed account of the woman behind Mussolini's rise to power, by Cannistraro (History and Politics/Drexel University) and Sullivan (Senior Fellow/National Defense University). Read full book review >

FIREWORKS AT DUSK by Olivier Bernier
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 18, 1993

"Poignant and incisive, Bernier, with a journalist's eye for meaningful detail, captures this confused era when the City of Light, at its brightest, was overcome by a political darkness from which it never recovered. (Thirty b&w photographs—not seen.)"
An informed and fascinating survey of Paris's hectic decade before the Nazi occupation, highlighting the contrast between the glittering culture and the collapsing civilization. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: March 17, 1993

"Uncommonly thoughtful recollections that address the moral ambiguities of a great cause without in any way denigrating the selfless valor or camaraderie that helped ennoble it. (Thirty-two pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)"
An affecting, ambivalent memoir from an Army Air Force veteran who survived the savage aerial engagements of WW II's ETO. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: March 17, 1993

"John Stalker controversy). (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)"
A massive, often turgid history that shows how talks without resolution and the shadow of the gunman have become fixtures in Northern Ireland during the past 25 years. Read full book review >

CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 17, 1993

"Well informed, but burdened by Rostow's cold-war past and probably not a good bet to head Bill Clinton's reading list."
A pithy yet accessible history of how the US has interacted with other nations, with advice for the future. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 17, 1993

"Miroff ably demonstrates the paradoxes that lie at the heart of leadership, and shows how the noblest qualities of our best leaders can be a threat to democracy."
Miroff (Political Science/SUNY at Albany; Pragmatic Illusions, 1976) thoughtfully examines the lives of nine disparate American leaders, ``seeking to read from their stories the possibilities, limitations, and dangers of American political leadership.'' Miroff fits his subjects into four paradigmatic categories: ``aristocratic'' leaders of the early republic, like Hamilton and John Adams, strong-willed elitists who led passive followers; their modern successors, ``heroic'' leaders like Theodore Roosevelt and JFK, who, in distinctive ways, wielded power like kings; the ``democratic'' leaders like Lincoln and FDR, who balanced personal styles of leadership with a commitment to increasing the democratic enfranchisement of the American people; and the ``dissenters,'' like Eugene Debs, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Martin Luther King, Jr., who, in resisting the prevailing order, sought to bring politically powerless groups into civic life. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 15, 1993

"Exceptionally moving and strong: an eloquent statement of human endurance and superhuman faith. (Photographs—not seen.)"
A monumental narration of the travails of Russian Communism, served up by the widow of one of its first founders—and victims. Read full book review >
A WORLD WAITING TO BE BORN by M. Scott Peck
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: March 15, 1993

"A peck of hardheaded, kindhearted advice; the author's best since Road. (First printing of 100,000)"
Peck's megahit, The Road Less Traveled (1978), offered cures for the psychospiritual ills of lone men and women; this does the same for human clusterings, large or small. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 2, 1993

Why did the Third Reich, for all its industrial might and technological resources, fail to create a nuclear bomb? Read full book review >
CHICKENHAWK: BACK IN THE WORLD by Robert Mason
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 1, 1993

"Enough of this author's life, already; henceforth, he should stick to his clever, winsome thrillers."
The trials and triumphs of a Vietnam vet, revealed in a soft- spoken, sometimes even bloodless sequel to Mason's acclaimed war memoir, Chickenhawk (1983). Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: March 1, 1993

"But there's a muddiness here—Bishop is revealed but then covered up again without psychological or literary acuity—that can't quite convince us that Bishop's life or her art matters as much as these pages assume that it does."
Nappy with the sympathy, solicitude, and slightly off-kilter admiration that the fans of Elizabeth Bishop (1911-79) are known for, Millier (American Literature/Middlebury College) delivers a long, detailed life of the woman who wrote contemporary American poetry everyone seemed to respect without ever being able to say quite why. 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 >