History Book Reviews

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 >
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 24, 2015

"A harrowing—and, in this era of drones, absolutely pertinent—look at the rapacious reaches of man's murderous imagination."
A British historian of considerable breadth and accomplishment, Preston (The Dark Defile: Britain's Catastrophic Invasion of Afghanistan, 1838-1842, 2012, etc.) focuses on three wartime innovations that elevated to new heights mankind's ability to slaughter itself: submarines, zeppelins and poison gas.Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 17, 2015

"A work of enormous heart as well as research."
A satisfying, elegant personal journey in China's fabled Northeast. Read full book review >
THE SUMMIT by Ed Conway
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 11, 2015

"The scope of the subject matter is impressive, and the execution is outstanding.
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Sky News economics editor Conway (50 Economics Ideas You Really Need to Know, 2009) covers the inside story of what really happened during the 22 days of the conference at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in July 1944.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 >