History Book Reviews (page 6)

HISTORY
Released: March 18, 2014

"Eloquent and evocative evidence of the evanescence of all."
Hollis (Interior Design/Edinburgh Coll. of Art; The Secret Lives of Buildings, 2009) returns with a personal history of the ephemeral lives of interiors. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: March 18, 2014

"A slow-building saga that delivers a powerful final wallop."
A carefully constructed study—featuring a chilling denouement—of the disruptive effects of "civilizing" mission work among indigenous peoples. Read full book review >

THE STORY OF THE JEWS by Simon Schama
HISTORY
Released: March 18, 2014

"A multifaceted story artfully woven by an expert historian."
Witty, nimble and completely in his element, Schama (History and Art History/Columbia Univ.; Scribble, Scribble, Scribble: Writing on Politics, Ice Cream, Churchill, and My Mother, 2011, etc.), in a book tie-in to a PBS and BBC series, fashions a long-planned "labor of love" that nicely dovetails the biblical account with the archaeological record. Read full book review >
THE MASTER OF CONFESSIONS by Thierry Cruvellier
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 18, 2014

"Cruvellier is an extremely articulate and compassionate observer to a country and its people plunged through the rings of hell."
With chilling clarity, a veteran international journalist delineates the totalitarian ideology and horrific crimes of the leaders of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge. Read full book review >
SHADOW WARFARE by Larry Hancock
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 18, 2014

"Readers who care about the intentions of the Founders and the niceties of human rights will come away depressed by this grim yet trenchant portrait of American imperial reach—and overreach."
Congress declares war, right? Constitutionally, yes—but, as intelligence analysts Hancock and Wexler (The Awful Grace of God: Religious Terrorism, White Supremacy, and the Unsolved Murder of Martin Luther King, Jr., 2012) write, there's a reason it doesn't. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 18, 2014

"A searching, discomfiting journey yields an elegant, memorable report."
A bare-knuckle, adventure-filled journey in search of the answer to a half-century-old cold case: Whatever happened to Nelson Rockefeller's son, Michael? Read full book review >
THE LOST SPRING by Walid Phares
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 18, 2014

"Alarmist and unlikely to convince readers who don't already share the author's views."
Phares (The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East, 2010, etc.) argues that the Obama administration has squandered a good opportunity for spreading democracy across the Middle East and checking Islamism. Read full book review >
FROM POMPEII by Ingrid D. Rowland
HISTORY
Released: March 17, 2014

"Those visitors are not nearly as interesting as those who excavated it and the city itself. Rowland provides abundant photographs, but many readers will wish for more about the everyday life of Pompeii."
Rowland traces the history of Pompeii (Architecture/Notre Dame Univ.; Giordano Bruno: Philosopher/Heretic, 2008, etc.) since the cataclysmic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. Read full book review >
THE AMBIGUITY OF VIRTUE by Bernard Wasserstein
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 17, 2014

"A scholarly, thoroughly documented work that elucidates historical issues and explores moral ones."
Was she a heroine or collaborator, a saint or sinner? How should we view Gertrude van Tijn (1891-1974), a woman tasked with saving Jews from the Nazi's gas chambers? Read full book review >
DYING EVERY DAY by James Romm
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 14, 2014

"The task of determining Seneca's true nature is daunting, but the wide body of information available to Romm enables him to give us tantalizing but ambiguous clues to the man's mind. Like any good philosopher, he only shows us the questions and leaves readers to figure out the answers."
There were many sides to the great Roman philosopher and writer Seneca. Romm (Classics/Bard Coll.; Ghost on the Throne: The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire, 2011) explores his contrasting, even conflicting, skills in surviving at the dangerous court of Nero. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: March 12, 2014

"The most comprehensive and certainly one of the most entertaining accounts of atomic accidents."
Having delivered a delightfully astute history of atomic power in Atomic Awakening (2009), nuclear engineer Mahaffey goes over the same ground with the same combination of expertise and wit, this time describing what happens when things go wrong. Read full book review >
THE GODS OF OLYMPUS by Barbara Graziosi
HISTORY
Released: March 11, 2014

"Graziosi's easy style and focus on the history of the world as told by the gods of Olympus make this a book to savor."
Graziosi (Classics/Durham Univ.; Inventing Homer: The Early Reception of Epic, 2002, etc.) celebrates the longevity of the "cruel, oversexed, mad, or just plain silly" Olympian gods, "the most uncivilized ambassadors of classical civilization." Read full book review >