RaveThe Washington Post[Miles\'] lyrical account presents the obscene inhumanity of slavery while celebrating the humanity of its victims ... Miles combed South Carolina plantation records to find information about Rose and Ashley, and she weaves her findings into fascinating and informative stories. Yet in the end, her research, while highly plausible, could not be conclusive. Systemic racism extends to the archives ... The result is a deeply layered and insightful book ... Where historical information is lacking, Miles effectively draws on novels and the published and unpublished memoirs of numerous African American women to imagine what the archives cannot reveal ... more than a compelling primer on African American history or an indictment of America’s moral failures. Throughout, Miles reflects on love. The love of enslaved mothers for their children. The love of the author for her grandmother. The love with which enslaved women’s hands wove fabric, sewed clothing and stitched quilts...In the hands of a gifted historian like Miles, such beloved things form an alternative archive from which to restore Black women’s past emotions and experiences ... Equal measure historical exploration, methodological experimentation and moral exhortation, Miles calls her work a \'meditation\' rather than a monograph. That seems right, and while it may not be traditional history, it is certainly great history. All That She Carried is a broad and bold reflection on American history, African American resilience, and the human capacity for love and perseverance in the face of soul-crushing madness.
PositiveThe Washington PostMissing from the book is how the African American community supported Dinning. We get only glimpses ... It’s a compelling story, despite the White-savior trope. Lynching and the Lost Cause unfortunately are not relegated to history as we fight our own battles over racial justice and white extremism.
Martha S. Jones
RaveThe Washington PostMartha S. Jones, a professor of history at Johns Hopkins University, draws on recent historical scholarship and her own deep research into personal papers, speeches and essays to acquaint us with scores of female activists in a well-paced, readable and relevant book ... Jones has written an important and timely volume on courageous Black women who shaped history. Their stories remind us that \'voting resides at the core of a democracy.\' A lesson for our time.
RaveThe Washington Post... [an] enthralling portrait of an intrepid 19th-century Japanese woman and the city she loved. Stanley, a professor of history at Northwestern University, renders the world of that rebellious woman, Tsuneno, so vividly that I had trouble pulling myself back into the present whenever I put the book down. Stranger in the Shogun’s City is as close to a novel as responsible history can be ... what makes the book so captivating are not merely Tsuneno’s stubborn attempts at self-determination, but also Stanley’s enviable ability to make us feel as if we lived in 19th-century Edo with her.
PositiveThe Washington PostZabin changes this familiar story into a familial one. The result is a lively gem of a book that expands our views of early-modern military life, pre-revolutionary Boston, and, in turn, the American Revolution ... Although the fascinating testimonies Zabin details do not agree on how events unfolded, they do show that people encountered one another that evening as community members, rather than as faceless civilians and soldiers ... engaging.
PositiveThe Washington Post... a brisk and uncommonly brief biography of Washington that showcases both heroics and shortcomings, in the first president and in those who surrounded him, in public and in private ... Historians familiar with Washington’s life will find few surprises, but for the uninitiated, there is much to savor and enjoy ... Coe does not shy away from the warts ... If Coe is playful with her text, she also experiments with format. The book contains numerous charts that run from the whimsical to the weighty ... Compressing Washington’s life into just 200 pages of text necessitates leaving out context. For those who find their appetite whetted by this delicious bite and want to know more about Washington as a slave owner, a son or a \'Devourer of Villages,\' as a Native American leader called him, recent books dish up larger helpings.
RaveThe Washington Post... by piecing together and reinterpreting insights from family correspondence, from the books Mary treasured and especially from her eldest son’s obsessive records, Saxton creates a sensitive and plausible, if at times speculative, picture that richly evokes Mary’s interior life and the world of a slaveholding widow and planter in 18th-century Virginia ... In the able hands of Saxton, Mary Washington’s story vividly illuminates the role white women played in the creation and transmission of wealth in early America, the frictions that patriarchal inheritance created between mothers and sons, and the tremendous price paid by the enslaved people who made much of Virginia’s wealth possible.
PositiveThe Washington Post\"It is [the subjects\'] words, as much as their actions, that take pride of place in the book, as Brands vividly re-creates the delivery of their speeches (complete with cheers, shouts and pregnant silences) and quotes extensively from their essays and letters ... In a fast-paced narrative with snappy short chapters, Brands, the author of 30 books on American history, recounts the three men’s thinking and scheming as they rode the ups and downs of antebellum politics ... Despite Brands’s unease with the genre, then, one might wonder whether this engaging political biography inadvertently expands Founders Chic.\