History Book Reviews

CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 24, 2015

"An impressive debut offering explanations based on coherence between people, cases and the events they adjudicated."
Center for American Progress senior constitutional policy analyst Millhiser assesses the damage caused by the Supreme Court to the Constitution, government and the citizens whose rights have repeatedly been curtailed or abrogated in arbitrary, capricious, bigoted and arrogant proceedings. Read full book review >
FOOD & COOKING
Released: March 24, 2015

"A fine addition to the single-issue science genre."
"From tropical rain forests to alpine meadows and arctic tundra, seed plants dominate landscapes and define ecosystems." In fact, they make up more than 90 percent of land flora. 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 >
COUNTRY SOUL by Charles L. Hughes
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: March 23, 2015

"An essential piece of Southern musical history."
Exploration of the racial politics that defined the country and soul music scenes during the 1960s and '70s. Read full book review >
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: March 17, 2015

"Readers need not be fashion mavens to enjoy this entertaining episode of history, enhanced by Givhan's effortless ability to illustrate the models and designers (particularly Lambert) who changed how we dress."
On Nov. 28, 1973, Parisian haute couture faced off against the upstart American designers, and the Americans blew them away. In her debut book, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post fashion critic Givhan delivers a delightful, encyclopedic exploration of the players and leaders in the field.Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 17, 2015

"A chillingly drawn, expertly researched slice of grim Boston history."
A lively, evocative reinvigoration of Boston's Gilded Age and the psychopathic young stalker who threatened public safety. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 16, 2015

"Ingenious, lucid and revealing look at the lives of two brilliant men who changed our way of seeing the world."
A fine addition to the burgeoning genre of dual biography of great figures whose lives were related, if often distantly. 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 >
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 >
RUST by Jonathan Waldman
HISTORY
Released: March 10, 2015

"Waldman is a bright and curious companion in this lively adventure in search of the scourge of rust and its ingenious opponents."
How the world turns to rust. Read full book review >
THE FALL OF THE OTTOMANS by Eugene Rogan
HISTORY
Released: March 10, 2015

"An illuminating work that offers new understanding to the troubled history of this key geopolitical region."
Rogan (Modern History of the Middle East/St. Antony's Coll., Oxford Univ.; The Arabs: A History, 2009, etc.) corrects Western assumptions about the "sick man of Europe."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 >
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 >