History Book Reviews

THEIR LAST FULL MEASURE by Joseph Wheelan
HISTORY
Released: April 1, 2015

"Wheelan has combed entire libraries to make this thoroughly readable, lucid survey. Well-practiced buffs will welcome the book, but novices can approach it without much background knowledge, too."
First-rate study of the often overlooked closing months of the Civil War, which, though the impending end was visible, saw some of the fiercest fighting of the conflict. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: April 1, 2015

"To be read as both corrective and supplement to Foucault, Szasz, and Rieff. Often brilliant and always luminous and rewarding."
Far-ranging, illuminating study of minds gone awry across space and time. Read full book review >

HISTORY
Released: April 1, 2015

"Identifying the Ottomans' decisive choices, Suny creates a compelling narrative of vengeance and terror."
An authoritative examination of unspeakable horrors. Read full book review >
BOSWELL'S ENLIGHTENMENT by Robert Zaretsky
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 23, 2015

"This wonderful rendering of Boswell digs deep into his probing, enquiring life and the fast friends he made at every turn."
James Boswell (1740-1795) comes to life in Zaretsky's (French History/Univ. of Houston; A Life Worth Living: Albert Camus and the Quest for Meaning, 2013) recounting of his European grand tour in the mid-18th-century.Read full book review >
THE GREAT DIVIDE by Thomas Fleming
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 15, 2015

"Among historians, Jefferson's star has been falling for 50 years. Fleming's frank hostility puts him at the far end of the scale, but he makes a fascinating case that Jefferson's charisma—which peaked early with the Declaration of Independence—was accompanied by fanciful political beliefs that continue to exert a malign influence on the office of the presidency."
The camaraderie among America's Founding Fathers did not survive independence in 1783. Disagreement over the role of government grew into virulent antagonism, and that acrimony persists today. Prolific historian Fleming (A Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War, 2013, etc.) delivers a vivid, opinionated history of this conflict.Read full book review >

HISTORY
Released: March 10, 2015

"Let us be grateful that there are writers like Dreger who have the wits and the guts to fight for truth."
Dreger (Clinical Medical Humanities and Bioethics/Northwestern Univ.; One of Us: Conjoined Twins and the Future of Normal, 2004, etc.) passionately investigates character assassinations in academia and how "[s]cience and social justice require each other to be healthy, and both are critically important to human freedom."Read full book review >
DEAD WAKE by Erik Larson
HISTORY
Released: March 10, 2015

"An intriguing, entirely engrossing investigation into a legendary disaster. Compared to Greg King and Penny Wilson's Lusitania (2014), also publishing to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the sinking, Larson's is the superior account."
Larson (In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin, 2011, etc.) once again demonstrates his expert researching skills and writing abilities, this time shedding light on nagging questions about the sinking of the Lusitania on May 7, 1915.Read full book review >
FOLLIES OF GOD by James Grissom
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 3, 2015

"There have been plenty of books written about Williams over the past three decades, but few weave so many voices into an original and compelling portrait. Grissom honors the life and achievement of his doomed correspondent."
One of America's greatest playwrights as seen by himself and his many muses. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: March 3, 2015

"An illuminating book of American history in which the author discloses the true heroes—the ordinary citizens who defeated these acts—while showing just how the concept of 'government of the people' works."
Slack (Hetty: The Genius and Madness of America's First Female Tycoon, 2004, etc.) engagingly reveals how the Federalist attack on the First Amendment almost brought down the Republic.Read full book review >
THE DEATH OF CAESAR by Barry Strauss
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 3, 2015

"Once again, Strauss takes us deep into the psyche of ancient history in an exciting, twisted tale that is sure to please."
Master historian Strauss (History and Classics/Cornell Univ.; Masters of Command: Hannibal, Alexander, Caesar and the Genius of Leadership, 2012, etc.) zeroes in on the few years surrounding Julius Caesar's assassination and delves into the strengths of the characters involved.Read full book review >
ANONYMOUS SOLDIERS by Bruce Hoffman
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 24, 2015

"An authoritative, sweeping, important history that shows how terrorism 'is neither irrational nor desperate but instead entirely rational and often carefully calculated and choreographed.'"
How Jewish terrorists defeated British rule. Read full book review >
ELEANOR MARX by Rachel Holmes
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 24, 2015

"A full-fleshed, thrilling portrait, troubling and full of family secrets."
The extraordinary life of Karl Marx's feisty feminist youngest daughter told with passionate sympathy and conviction. 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 >