PositiveBooklistIn this revealing and engrossing study, [Taylor] illustrates that a great factor in the liberation of thousands of slaves was the policy and intervention of the British government and military ... This is a well-written and scrupulously researched examination of an important aspect of the struggle against American slavery.
RaveBooklistThis engrossing history of various socialist movements is told through portraits of the leaders who provided the intellectual and political support for those movements. With eloquence, skepticism, and even sympathy, Muravchik examines the careers of figures as varied as Friedrich Engels, Clement Atlee, and Julius Nyerere ... This is an important work and an object lesson showing great harm is frequently done by those with the purest motives.
Herbert P. Bix
PositiveBooklistIn this provocative and disturbing work, [Bix] paints a far more complex portrait of Hirohito. Aided by newly available material from Japanese archives, Bix convincingly asserts that the emperor was deeply involved in most aspects of the Pacific war, from start to finish, and he voiced few objections to the most brutal outrages of his military. It is particularly disturbing to see how the cocoon of lies spun around Hirohito has been used by conservative and especially reactionary politicians in Japan to advance their nationalistic agenda. This book will undoubtedly cause a storm of controversy, especially in Japan. However, it is a vital contribution to an ongoing and critical debate.
RaveBooklist... as Chernow’s comprehensive and superbly written biography makes clear, Hamilton was at least as influential as any of our Founding Fathers in shaping our national institutions and political culture ... Chernow acknowledges Hamilton’s arrogance, his bouts of self-pity, and his penchant for cynical manipulation. But this self-made man was capable of great compassion and was consistently outraged by the institution of slavery. Although his understanding of human limitations made him suspicious of unrestrained democracy, his devotion to individual liberty did not falter.
RaveBooklistWith the collapse of the Soviet Union and the gradual opening of KGB archives, the full horror of the Gulag is gradually emerging, and Applebaum has done a masterful job of chronicling the origin, growth, and eventual end of this monstrous system ... Now, we are left with the evidence, the memory of survivors, and the moral obligation to uncover the full story. This brilliant and often heartbreaking work is a giant step in the fulfillment of that obligation.
PositiveBooklistHere [Friedlander] takes a broad view of the war against the Jews. The actions of the Nazi state are closely examined, but he also places the Holocaust within the broader context of European politics and racial attitudes. He eloquently illustrates the millions of individual tragedies through extensive use of Jewish diaries. He avoids delving into the motivations for the anti-Semitism of Hitler and his cohorts; for him, such blind hatred is beyond true comprehension. The deeper problem is comprehending why people were willing to become a part of such an affront to decency.
PositiveBooklistFascinating ... This is an engrossing and well-researched effort that reveals the ultimate end of this overlooked but crucial episode.
PositiveBooklistGergel presents a compelling account of a case that helped point the way for broader, more intense, and more effective efforts in the civil rights movement.
MixedBooklistWhile most Americans saw their administration as a form of benign stewardship, Immerwahr stresses that the native inhabitants were often disrespected, mistreated, and marginalized. Perhaps that is an unbalanced view, but this is still a useful and informative work, since many of these overseas territories remain under our governance.
PositiveBooklistWard may exaggerate the \'civil war\' within the Democratic Party; indeed, the national electoral map had been shifting well before the Carter-Kennedy duel. Still, this is a well-researched and valuable look back at a period of intense political turmoil that helped shape our current environment.
PositiveBooklist\"While this is essentially an account of his tenure [at The Guardian], Rusbridger also offers fascinating and disturbing insights into the present and future status of journalism in its various manifestations ... Rusbridger eloquently describes the dangers of this era.\
PositiveBooklistBrands presents an engrossing and revealing account of personal rivalries that played out on a national scale.
James M. Scott
RaveBooklist\"The atrocities committed by Japanese troops during WWII have been well documented, especially the mistreatment of American POWs during the Bataan Death March and the slaughter of Chinese civilians during the Rape of Nanking. Less well known but just as detestable was the behavior of some Japanese troops during the American effort to regain control of Manila ... Scott graphically describes the savagery of urban warfare and asserts that the slaughter of civilians was a Japanese strategy rather than a spontaneous reaction ... Scott provides insights into MacArthur and his counterparts in this riveting, often-shocking, and defining account of the Battle of Manila.
David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler
RaveBooklist\"Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed his admiration for Andrew Jackson, who he perceives as a \'man of the people\' who was direct, impatient with diplomatic niceties, iron-willed, and bold and decisive in both his military and political careers. According to the Heidlers, the \'real\' Jackson was dangerously impulsive and prone to violence ... This is a superb chronicle of one of America’s first \'modern\' political organizations and national campaigns.
Christian Di Spigna
PositiveBooklistIn this unabashedly admiring biography, Di Spigna strives to restore Warren’s fame ... While Di Spigna’s account verges on hagiography, readers may sense that Warren was a romantic adventurer who preferred fighting to the pursuits of healing and family life. This is a valuable reminder that it takes all types to make a revolution.
Joseph J. Ellis
PositiveBooklistEliis, a Pulitzer Prize-winning and best-selling historian, is aware of the difficulties and dangers implicit in seeking answers to our current debates and dilemmas in the archives of the Founding Fathers, yet he attempts to do so here, and his effort to apply the views of four historical icons to current political conflicts is interesting and useful ... Ellis joins other best-selling historians currently seeking perspective, including Doris Kearns Goodwin, with a sure-to-be roundly publicized examination of American conundrums.
PositiveBooklistGolway, senior editor at Politico, convincingly asserts that the unlikely alliance between Franklin Roosevelt and Al Smith formed the core of the Democratic coalition that dominated national politics in subsequent decades ... Golway has written a fine account of a surprising, effective, and sometimes sad partnership that shaped much of the national politics in twentieth-century America.
PositiveBooklist\"This is a massive but eminently readable effort to gauge the performance of eight presidents ... Beschloss’ fine survey, from the War of 1812 to Vietnam, reveals a great deal about each commander-in-chief.\
RaveBooklistPawel...expertly mines family archives, oral histories, and interviews with contemporary sources to fully and for the first time chronicle the origins and accomplishments of this remarkable clan ... Pawel vividly and insightfully chronicles Jerry’s two terms as governor, his years in the political wilderness, his rebirth as a progressive mayor of Oakland, and his return to the governorship. This fine and engaging political saga tracks both the Brown family and the growth of the state they have served.
RaveBooklistThroughout this journey from Columbus to the present, Lepore consistently stresses the often-anguishing contradictions between the ideals and realities of American life ... But this is not a one-sided carping over national sins. Using a series of beautifully written vignettes, Lepore captures the nobility of the individuals and various movements that fought to narrow the gap between principles and everyday life. Of course, generally speaking, people don’t live their lives as if they are part of a moral struggle or social experiment. Still, in the age of Trump, in which many long-accepted verities seem to be crumbling, Lepore’s far-reaching interpretative history demands serious consideration.
Joanne B. Freeman
PositiveBooklistIn most cases, slavery triggered...conflicts [in Congress]. Those ranged from in your face shoving matches to the brandishing of firearms to an all-out brawl. According to Freeman, these weren’t all simple flashes of temper ... This is a finely researched and well-written examination of the often overlooked legislative breakdown that preceded the Civil War.
RaveBooklist Online\"According to Crouch (China’s Wings, 2010), Mackay was no robber baron. As one who had worked claims himself, he understood the needs and aspirations of his workers. In an age of industrial turmoil, he maintained harmonious relations with his employees, contributed heavily to charities, and fought against various monopolies as his business interests expanded. Crouch presents a well-written and laudatory biography of a remarkable and admirable man.\
PositiveBooklistIn this provocative account of his years with the Reagan administration, Lehman reveals newly declassified information about this chapter in U.S.-Russia relations, asserting that the expansion and aggressive forward deployment of U.S. naval power led directly to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Lehman’s claims are both interesting and debatable and will likely lead to continued controversy in academic, journalistic, and military circles.
PositiveBooklist OnlineKrist has previously profiled the growth of New Orleans and Chicago. Here he tracks the great expansion of Los Angeles between 1904–30 as an \'implausible city.\' It has no natural harbor, it is surrounded by deserts, and its weather is often scorching. Most importantly, access to fresh water is a constant problem ... Krist presents a revealing...exploration of the growth of a great city and the lives and work of three visionaries who helped shape it.
PositiveBooklistUnder government pressure during the 1830s, the Cherokee were divided between \'accommodationists\' willing to leave their lands and those determined to stay. The leaders of the opposing factions, John Ross and a warrior usually called the Ridge, began as friends but became bitter opponents. Their inability to resolve their differences led to intratribal violence and the split during the war. Sedgwick has written an informative and engrossing account of this sad episode in American history.
RaveBooklistThroughout his survey, Rhodes is meticulous in paying tribute to many of the relatively obscure players in the slow advances in technology that led to more publicized breakthroughs. Rhodes doesn’t minimize the downsides of advances, both human and environmental, yet, on the whole, this is a beautifully written, often inspiring saga of ingenuity and progress, ideal for general readers.
Steven J. Zipperstein
RaveBooklist Online\"Zipperstein convincingly asserts that the event was exploited and mythologized, becoming a legendary and often-distorted symbol of Russian autocracy. Russian officials, including Czar Nicholas, disliked Jews but disliked mob violence and popular action even more. Zipperstein fully rejects the charge of government promotion of the attack. He also indicates how embellished reports were used to both stir up further resentments against Jews and to spur Jews to emigrate. This is a superb account of both a terrible mass attack and the effects it had upon the broader Jewish population.\
RaveBooklist\"This thoughtful, engrossing, and often-amusing survey is a kind of \'waltz across Texas.\' Wright uses history, politics, and a series of vignettes to reveal a great deal about a state that may soon surpass California in population and economic dynamism ... This is an important book about a state and people who will continue to have a large impact on the U.S.\
PositiveBooklist Online\"Abouzeid, an award-winning journalist based in Lebanon, has provided a masterful, intense, and often personalized account of this seemingly endless conflict ... This account could have benefited from a presentation of views from the government side, but Abouzeid’s altogether intimate, revealing, and moving accomplishment is essential to any attempt to understand this tragedy.\
RaveBooklist...a massive and beautifully written portrait that may well be a culmination of that revisionist trend. Chernow views Grant as a modest man who, unlike any of his West Point contemporaries, sought neither fame nor glory. Instead, he regarded the winning of the Civil War as a test of duty, and he pursued that with dogged determination. Perhaps he lacked the flair of some other commanders, but he was a master in coordination of troop movements and supply of ordinance and other essential materials. Like his friend William Sherman, Grant knew the war had to be waged against the farms and factories that supplied Confederate soldiers. Chernow doesn’t gloss over Grant’s struggle with alcoholism or his tendency to trust shady operators. However, his willingness to protect the gains of freemen and to fight the KKK was an example of the moral courage he consistently displayed. This is a superb tribute to Grant, whose greatness is earning increased appreciation.
RaveBooklist[Gessen] has now written an angry and sorrowful account of the gradual but relentless destruction of aspirations for democracy and freedom under Putin, tracking the broad outlines of what she sees as a descent into a new and vicious totalitarianism ... This is a devastating, timely, and necessary reminder of the fragility and preciousness of all institutions of freedom.
Anders Rydell, trans. by Henning Koch
PositiveBooklist...an interesting and often poignant story that traverses Europe and should appeal to general readers, especially those who treasure books.
Daniel J. Sharfstein
RaveBooklistSharfstein reinforces Joseph’s stature as a figure of courage, dignity, and moral rectitude. But he also shows Joseph in a more nuanced light as the leader strives to negotiate with the U.S. government while navigating the tricky waters of intratribal politics. What makes Sharftstein’s account unusual is the equal focus he places upon army officer Howard, who became both an admirer and nemesis of Joseph ... Sharfstein has provided a scrupulously researched and detailed revisiting of one of the most moving and saddest sagas in American history.