History Book Reviews

THE TERROR YEARS by Lawrence Wright
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"Fans of Wright will have already encountered these pieces, but the collection represents yet more great work from a dedicated journalist."
Pulitzer Prize winner Wright (Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David, 2014, etc.) pulls together 10 in-depth pieces he originally wrote for the New Yorker and fashions them, somewhat updated and otherwise revised, into a cohesive book. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"A splendid, challenging mixture of information and fun."
From barely decipherable scratches on ancient surfaces to the latest bestseller: a history of the book, its numerous ancestors, and its underlying technologies. Read full book review >

THE COMMANDER by Laila Parsons
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"A remarkably evenhanded biography of an important player in Arab history that doubles as a crucial scholarly reinterpretation of the rise and fall of Arab nationalism."
Biography of the famous early-20th-century Arab nationalist and soldier Fawzi al-Qawuqji (1890-1977). Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"The author's elegant narrative conveys how the love for these amazing creatures transcends national animosities."
A singular spotlight on the concerted World War II effort to save Lipizzaner stallions. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"Race, patriotism, and personal heroism come together in this eye-opening early episode in Civil War history."
A Civil War tale starring a free black sailor. Read full book review >

SEVEN SKELETONS by Lydia Pyne
HISTORY
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"Ian Tattersall's The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack (2015) remains the best popular modern history of human evolution, but Pyne casts her net more widely, adding captivating accounts of how each discovery fascinated the mass media and entered literature and popular culture."
Describing human evolution through accounts of fossils that became media events might seem a publicity ploy, but science journalist Pyne (Institute for Historical Studies/Univ. of Texas; Bookshelf, 2016, etc.) pulls it off. Read full book review >
ALTAMONT by Joel Selvin
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"The detailing of the actual concert reads like old news, and the sourcing could be clearer, but this is a compelling analysis of an event that hadn't seemed like it needed anything more written about it."
An incisive account of the most infamous concert debacle in rock history. Read full book review >
TROUBLED REFUGE by Chandra Manning
HISTORY
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"Manning conveys in gritty detail the fraught alliance between refugees and their military protectors."
A history of slaves who took refuge with the Union Army on their journey to freedom. Read full book review >
A SQUARE MEAL by Andrew Coe
FOOD & COOKING
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"A highly readable, illuminating look at the many ramifications of feeding the hungry in hard times."
A history of the struggle to put food on American tables during the Great Depression. Read full book review >
THE STORY OF EGYPT by Joann Fletcher
HISTORY
Released: Aug. 15, 2016

"The authoritative author imparts her vast knowledge in an orderly chronology and lively, intimate history. A perfect choice for budding Egyptologists."
A sweeping look at this epic history emphasizing the role of women rulers. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Aug. 15, 2016

"Pungent, embittered, eye-opening observations of a conflict involving lessons still unlearned."
A scathing dispatch from an embedded journalist in Afghanistan. Read full book review >
THE HOLOCAUST by Jeremy Black
HISTORY
Released: Aug. 14, 2016

"A compact and cogent academic account of the Holocaust."
In less than 250 pages, a prolific scholar takes on the intractably difficult themes of the Holocaust. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
author of SEINFELDIA
August 22, 2016

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s new bestseller Seinfeldia is the hilarious behind-the-scenes story of two guys who went out for coffee and dreamed up Seinfeld —the cultural sensation that changed television and bled into the real world. Comedians Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld never thought anyone would watch their silly little sitcom about a New York comedian sitting around talking to his friends. NBC executives didn’t think anyone would watch either, but they bought it anyway, hiding it away in the TV dead zone of summer. But against all odds, viewers began to watch, first a few and then many, until nine years later nearly 40 million Americans were tuning in weekly. In Seinfeldia, TV historian and entertainment writer Armstrong celebrates the creators and fans of this American television phenomenon, bringing readers behind-the-scenes of the show while it was on the air and into the world of devotees for whom it never stopped being relevant, a world where the Soup Nazi still spends his days saying “No soup for you!” “Armstrong’s intimate, breezy history is full of gossipy details, show trivia, and insights into how famous episodes came to be,” our reviewer writes. “Perfect for Seinfeldians and newcomers alike.” View video >