RaveBooklist... balanced, elegantly written, and massively researched ... Combining apt quotation with flowing and precise original language, Atkinson describes military encounters that, though often unbearably grim, are evoked in vivid and image-laden terms ... His profiles of American and English statesmen and soldiers are fair and sharply etched. His treatment of the elderly Benjamin Franklin, especially his diplomacy in Paris, is masterful and funny ... Aided by fine and numerous maps, this is superb military and diplomatic history and represents storytelling on a grand scale.
PositiveBooklistCohen skirts the matter of Gerald Ford’s succession to the resigned Richard Nixon, citing his reasons for doing so, but it’s unfortunate that he almost ignores the nation’s most definitively \'accidental presidency.\' But the story he does tell is illuminating, particularly in its treatment of John Tyler’s assumption of the presidency after the death of Harrison and how that event set the precedent of succession, which was far from a foregone conclusion. He also covers in depth the selection of the respective vice presidents and the detail surrounding the transitions. For a work intended for general readers, there is a surfeit of endnotes, but this is genuinely interesting history on a topic that has never been addressed in this depth.
Art Shamsky and Erik Sherman
RaveBooklistShamsky is a capable, if sometimes repetitive, writer, and, while the story of the Miracle Mets has been told before...it bears telling again. Shamsky’s account of the 1969 season is exceptional, as is his handling of the team’s disparate personalities, the national context in which the Mets staged their Miracle (it was a year for miracles—the first manned moon landing took place less than three months before the World Series), and the coverage of the racial amity on the team.
PositiveBooklist[A] chatty, fact-filled popular narrative ... In some ways, the book strays from a purely New York focus, but it is a compelling read about a fascinatingly rich period.
PositiveBooklist\"...well-crafted ... The novel unfolds in an extremely layered manner, but what Swift’s story slowly reveals says much about publishing, pride, deceit, and plagiarism—and worse, much worse.\
PositiveBooklist OnlineHistorian Arsenault’s biography of tennis star Arthur Ashe, still the only African American male to win a Wimbledon, U. S. Open, and Australian singles title, focuses not on his subject’s success on the court but, rather, on his rich and varied, if sadly short, life outside of tennis—his upbringing in Richmond, Virginia; his complex personality; his civil rights activism; his philanthropy; his legacy; and, of course, his health (a serious heart condition led to his contracting HIV from a blood transfusion) ... Ashe accomplished much with a tennis racket in his hand, but Arsenault, to his credit, succeeds in showing that this tennis star’s life was only beginning when he left the game.
PositiveBooklistIt is not an easy book to evaluate because it is so up-to-the-minute, and Chinen is setting a new standard. His chapter on jazz education, consistent with this stance, is informative and welcome, as is his expansion of his coverage to include an international focus ... Informative reading for anyone open to exploring new horizons in music.
J D Dickey
PositiveBooklistThis is more than straightforward biography ... a unique perspective on this oft-written-about topic. The military aspects of the march and what Sherman called \"hard war\" are vividly recounted in their dreadful detail. A valuable contribution to Civil War history.
James F. Simon
RaveBooklist Online\"Eisenhower, who also appointed William Brennan, famously described the appointment of Warren as his most regrettable decision, and the two principals’ individuality, as well as their relationship to one another and to their associate justices, is skillfully and intelligently drawn. This is a cogently written book, especially given the complexity of many of the issues. Simon does great justice to an important segment of a critical period in American history.\
PositiveBooklistStark is well known as an outdoor and adventure writer, as well as a historian, and that combination comes in very handy here ... This is colorful history, bringing to life a period in which Washington, despite serious illness, matured and began demonstrating the skills that led to his later military triumphs and his quiet leadership as president.
MixedBooklistAs the street works its way up the West Side (partly following the old Bloomingdale Road), Broadway changes character. Recent major transformations are unfortunately entirely omitted. Except in Manhatttanville (uptown), the bad times are barely discussed. At best, the book is a partial history of Broadway, but it is engagingly written and supplemented by good, easy-to-follow maps at each milestone.
RaveBooklistThis is an elegantly and wittily written, deeply nuanced, and finely argued biography, a notable addition to the large Woodrow Wilson collection ... Insightfully, she also shows how his frequent ailments, his intractability, and his second wife’s tending of him late in his tenure all have their precursors earlier in Wilson’s life. Domestic issues, such as race, are not covered as thoroughly as one would hope, but she is particularly strong in showing how Wilson’s Fourteen Points (a statement of principles for the peace following the war) were, to say the least, misguided or naive and, again, rooted in Wilson’s character. An essential contribution to presidential history.
PositiveBooklistThe artists and musical styles Gordon covers here, while united by the Memphis connection, are highly diverse ... As an insider, Gordon is perfectly placed to bring together all the aspects of the incredibly varied Memphis music scene. This will be limited to fans deeply interested in the topic, but for that target audience, it hits the mark.
RaveBooklistThere are several outstanding books combined into one here ... Boot has provided the first thorough biography of Edward Lansdale. Secondarily, this is a superb history of the Vietnam conflict and includes fascinating military detail and a firm grasp of both American and Vietnamese politics ... This important book—substantially enhanced by excerpts from Lansdale’s own writing and augmented by outstanding maps—deserves to be read alongside Neil Sheehan’s award-winning A Bright Shining Lie (1988).
RaveBooklistThis is a very good, angrily passionate, and ultimately saddening book ... New York, he argues in a brilliantly written and well-informed account, is losing its bohemian flair and often raffish charm ... The book is about displacement, race, and social class, the substitution of elites for 'undesirables.' His conclusion: 'We can still find pleasure in the gifts of New York. It’s just a whole lot harder than it used to be.'
RaveBooklistThis is a history book that reads like the best thrillers ... Focusing on these exiles, Olson offers a fascinating view of the war and its aftermath, less from a military than from a high-level civilian perspective ... The many individuals are finely drawn, major developments (breaking of the Enigma code, D-Day, the Battle of Arnhem, the crucial contribution of the BBC) are well covered, and the book provides an unusual and very insightful angle on the war.