PositiveBookPageSteinmetz briskly tells financier and railroad leader Gould\'s rags-to-riches story and gives a nuanced view of this man of contradictions and why he matters ... Steinmetz\'s fast-moving and eminently readable biography shows how Gould thrived within the context of his times but also that his greed led to necessary reforms for the health of the country\'s economy.
Andrew Bacevich, Daniel A. Sjursen
RaveBookPage... enlightening ... Any citizen who wants to better understand our country\'s current military entrapments will want to read this book.
RaveBookPageWe learn in fascinating and depressing detail from Nick Seabrook’s wide-ranging history, One Person, One Vote, when politicians intentionally draw boundaries for partisan advantage, politicians pick their voters rather than voters picking politicians...Those who benefit from gerrymandering are determined not to lose their advantage...Even the Supreme Court has failed to address the harms of the practice...On three separate occasions, challenges to the most pervasive partisan gerrymanders of the 21st century have come before the Supreme Court, but reformers came away disappointed. Instead, change has almost always come from concerned citizens who convinced elected officials to take on the issue...Seabrook’s important book should be of interest to every citizen who wants to better understand what goes on behind the scenes as political parties seek power.
RaveBookPageThe role Pope Pius XII played during World War II has long been a subject of controversy...Under great pressure to align himself with the Allies or Axis powers, he chose silence and diplomatic neutrality...Some saw him as a heroic champion of the oppressed...Others thought he turned a blind eye to the killing of Jews and other vulnerable populations and did not use his moral authority to work for peace...Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David I. Kertzer explores the truth of how Pius XII handled this situation with great skill, combining extraordinary documentation and elegant writing, in The Pope at War: The Secret History of Pius XII, Mussolini, and Hitler...The Vatican archives of this period were sealed when Pius XII died in 1958, but they became available to researchers in March 2020...This book is based on many sources but is the first to take advantage of these previously unexplored materials...Pius XII was also aware that, to many people, he failed to provide courageous moral leadership, which Kertzer outlines in gripping detail in his outstanding book.
RaveBookPage... loving but brutally honest ... gives readers a vivid, front-row view of the divisiveness in one very prominent family, and through that family, a view of the national divisiveness that continued long after the Vietnam War.
PositiveBookPage... engaging and insightful ... The first detailed account of the Truman presidency in almost 30 years, The Trials of Harry S. Truman is very readable. Anyone who wants to go behind the scenes of those pivotal years will enjoy this book.
Willard Sterne Randall
RaveBookPage...superb ... historian and biographer Willard Sterne Randall explores in extensive detail the economic circumstances of the budding republic ... The personal stories of the Founding Fathers’ wealth are especially interesting ... Randall is a biographer of Washington, Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, so he knows his territory well. The Founders’ Fortunes will hold readers’ interests with its carefully drawn portraits of personalities and insightful analyses of events.
Elizabeth D. Samet
RaveBookPage... compelling, enlightening and elegantly written ... This richly rewarding and thought-provoking book splashes World War II history across a broad canvas, with insightful discussions of the works of Homer and Shakespeare and the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln. Along the way, Samet convincingly argues that we should reflect on our current relationship to war in the light of wars past.
James R. Gaines
RaveBookPage... enlightening, powerful and intimate ... This excellent, well-researched and well-written book shows how far America has come and yet how very far we have to go to become the country we often think we are.
RaveBookPageMarton’s beautifully written, balanced and insightful biography should be enjoyed by anyone interested in global politics or a fascinating life story.
Joseph J. Ellis
RaveBookPageEllis superbly captures the issues, personalities and events of the American Revolution from the perspectives of both England and the colonists in his eminently readable The Cause. Using rigorous scholarship, Ellis offers vivid portraits of and penetrating insights about this period in history, while challenging our conventional understandings of it ... This riveting, highly recommended book by one of America’s major historians will change how you see the American Revolution.
RaveBookPage... enlightening and provocative ... This sweeping and relevant book is a vital look at how foreign policy should be conducted ethically in the face of America’s endless wars.
RaveBookPage... balanced, detailed and very readable ... This compelling portrait of Carter, a complex personality who was finally undone by the Iran hostage crisis, is an absorbing look at his life and administration that should be appreciated by anyone interested in American history.
RaveBookPage... sweeping, beautifully written, prodigiously researched and myth-busting ... Taylor’s powerful overview explores this fierce struggle between groups and governments as settlers expanded the country westward ... Anyone interested in American history will appreciate this richly rewarding book.
Ronald C White
PositiveBookPageAlmost every fragment begins with a problem Lincoln was facing, and it’s fascinating to see how he grappled with each one ... These glimpses of Lincoln’s thinking offer us a fresh way to view him. White’s commentary is excellent, and anyone interested in Lincoln will want to read this book.
PositiveBookPage... riveting ... excellent ... This well-told account is a timely reminder of a danger we must still live with today.
PositiveBookpageFrom the mid-18th century to the beginning of World War I, two approaches to transforming the world—warfare and constitutions—played in tandem. The unusual relationship between them is the fascinating and important subject of Princeton historian Linda Colley’s The Gun, the Ship, and the Pen ... This carefully crafted exploration shows how constitutions have helped to bring about an extraordinary revolution in human behavior, ideas and beliefs. Though constitutions are flawed, Colley writes, \'in an imperfect, uncertain, shifting, and violent world, they may be the best we can hope for.\'
PositiveBookPage... riveting ... Rees brings this six-year period vividly alive ... Rees’ skillful incorporation of these eyewitness accounts, carefully checked for reliability, gives a \'you are there\' feeling to events ... Rees gives us detailed, nuanced portraits of these two men ... There are other fine, very long biographies of these dictators. However, this excellent book for the general reader is shorter and gives an authoritative and very readable understanding of who Hitler and Stalin were and what they did.
RaveBookPageBy the time he was inaugurated, Lincoln had gone on record to support the major principles of such an interpretation, and now Oakes explores this subject in his compelling and detailed The Crooked Path to Abolition ... Oakes demonstrates that the goal of all antislavery politics through the Civil War was to use federal power to prevent new territories from becoming slave states and allow existing slave states to do away with slavery on their own ... This relatively short book is richly rewarding.
PositiveBookPage... wide-ranging and consistently enlightening ... combines political, cultural and intellectual history, while also touching on science, religion, photography, architecture and archaeology ... In all, this splendid overview provides striking new insights about where the Western world has been and where we may be going.
Alice L. Baumgartner
RaveBookpageHer book shows that \'enslaved people who escaped to Mexico . . .contributed to the outbreak of a major sectional controversy over the future\' of slavery in the U.S ... Many individuals on all sides are portrayed here, but the most compelling stories are those of enslaved people who, at considerable risk, escaped for what they hoped would be a better life in Mexico ... Baumgartner’s fast-paced yet detailed exploration is consistently illuminating and offers a new way to understand the past. It is a must-read for anyone seeking a fuller awareness of our history.
RaveBookPageIn his extraordinary 44-year career as a reporter and top editor at the Washington Post, Leonard Downie Jr. was deeply engaged in making critical decisions about what was considered newsworthy. He writes about the key roles he played in the superb All About the Story: News, Power, Politics, and the Washington Post ... Downie shows the vital role a free press plays in our democracy. His splendid recounting should be of interest to everyone.
RaveBookPage... engaging and enlightening ... Kreitner explores this hidden thread of disunion in a fresh, well-documented and persuasive way ... There is so much more in this provocative and often surprising book, including the ways that secessionist movements have continued into the present. Kreitner challenges readers to rethink what the Union means to us and how we can help it live up to its highest ideals. Reading Break It Up is an excellent place to start.
PositiveBookPage... compelling and richly documented ... Draper’s exhaustive research includes interviews with key figures such as Powell, Wolfowitz and Condoleezza Rice, as well as dozens of others from the CIA and the State and Defense Departments. He also makes extensive use of recently released documents to give a vivid picture of how events unfolded ... As we continue to live through the ripple effects of this momentous decision in American foreign policy, Draper’s revelatory account deserves a wide readership.
Nicholas A Basbanes
PositiveBookPageLongfellow and his times are brought vividly to life by Nicholas A. Basbanes in his authoritative and wonderfully readable Cross of Snow ... Basbanes draws on a rich abundance of correspondence, diaries, journals and notebooks and gives readers generous excerpts from Longfellow and many others ... Basbanes uses his sources well, transporting readers beautifully to the world of a poet who is often overlooked. If you enjoy literary biography, this is a book to savor.
PositiveBookPage... meticulously researched and beautifully written ... This absorbing look at a pivotal point in civil rights activity before the 1950s and ’60s is well done and should be of interest to us all.
RaveBookPage...[a] meticulously researched, consistently stimulating and deeply insightful intellectual biography ... Through detailed analyses of Kissinger’s policy decisions on Vietnam and Chile, the influence of his personal life on his professional worldview, and the views of other Jewish European refugee intellectuals, Gewen offers a better understanding of Kissinger’s ability to challenge people to rethink their assumptions ... This beautifully written and engaging gem is an exciting, exhilarating must-read for anyone interested in international relations, American foreign policy or the ideas of Kissinger, whether you agree with him or not.
Nancy F. Cott
RaveBookPageIn her beautifully crafted and engrossing Fighting Words: The Bold American Journalists Who Brought the World Home Between the Wars, Harvard historian Nancy F. Cott vividly portrays the important work and complicated lives of four prominent foreign correspondents during a time of monumental change ... This wonderfully readable narrative will hold your attention from beginning to end...
Mary Beth Norton
PositiveBookPageNorton brings that 16-month period vividly alive in her meticulously documented and richly rewarding 1774 ... This important book demonstrates how opposition to the king developed and shows us that without the \'long year\' of 1774, there may not have been an American Revolution at all.
Fergus M. Bordewich
PositiveBookPage... compelling and vivid ... This recounting of a pivotal time in our history is superb and deserves a wide readership.
PositiveBookPageHow Chamberlain dealt with the threats from afar and from within is the subject of Adrian Phillips’ fascinating Fighting Churchill, Appeasing Hitler, which shows how the decisions made by men who were determined to avoid war instead made it almost inevitable ... This very readable and detailed description of how policy was made and implemented gives us a unique way to look at fateful decisions that helped advance events leading to World War II.
PositiveBookPage... magnificent ... sweeping and briskly told ... This incisive and well-written overview of Americans who protested wrongs in their society deserves a wide readership. Many fine academic studies have covered the subjects here, but this account, written for a general audience, is authoritative and fast-paced and vividly portrays a crucial period.
PositiveBookPage... engrossing and disturbing ... How [Jefferson] dealt with his vision for a preeminent institution of higher learning exclusively for young white men, with structures from his complex architectural designs built by enslaved people, makes for compelling reading ... This absorbing narrative offers crucial insights into Jefferson’s thinking as he pursued his vision for what he hoped would be a better future for his state.
RaveBookPage... richly rewarding, consistently stimulating and beautifully written ... Neiman is a professional philosopher with the skills of an investigative journalist and historian ... This brief overview barely begins to convey the way this disturbing but hopeful and insightful book wrestles with the questions of who we are as human beings and what values we have as a nation. I strongly recommend it.
Arthur M Schlesinger
RaveBook Page...a rich, evocative and perceptive look at a man and his times. Schlesinger comments that as a historian I am tempted to widen the focus and interweave the life with the times in some reasonable, melodious and candid balance. He succeeds admirably ... This superb memoir provides a unique window from which to view some of the important issues and influential personalities of the first half of the last century.
PositiveBookPage...Caro offers a fascinating look at this respected and feared leader ... Along with Johnson\'s personal story, Caro gives us a mini-history of the Senate that helps to put LBJ\'s remarkable career in context. Caro, who spends years researching and writing his books, has added another authoritative, insightful narrative to his admirable series.
RaveBook PageMenand\'s book is part biography, part intellectual history and part demonstration of the interplay of ideas, personalities and cultural context. The author conveys all of this with a sure hand, guiding the reader through what may be unfamiliar territory. In addition, he shows how discussions long ago continue to influence our society today ... Sheer pleasure.
Joseph J. Ellis
RaveBook PageEllis eloquently conveys the interconnected personal relationships and overriding issues that set the nation\'s course ... The author masterfully steers us through the Adams presidency and Abigail and John\'s reconciliation with Jefferson ... This carefully researched, beautifully written overview of the \'band of brothers and Abigail Adams who established our nation\' should be enjoyed by a wide readership.
Jean Edward Smith
PositiveBookPage... authoritative and beautifully written ... This expertly crafted narrative is a gem, a model of how important and complex events can be conveyed for enlightenment to a general audience.
RaveBookPageIn her exhaustively researched and endlessly fascinating The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher, Debby Applegate brings the charismatic Beecher and his times vividly to life. She skillfully weaves the intense personal life of her subject with the dynamic religious, social and political history of the period, and shows how Beecher, with his amiable personality and oratorical and writing talents, was able to gain a large audience for his views ... This is a major biography of an important, if seriously flawed, figure who made significant contributions to public and religious life in his time.
PositiveBookPage... panoramic, well-researched, consistently stimulating ... very readable prose ... There is much to think about in this engrossing overview of how we got to the present.
PositiveBookPage...enlightening and fun-to-read ... Based on interviews and careful research, this is a book to savor, especially if you’re a fast-food fan.
PositiveBookPage...absorbing ... David McCullough brings to life the story of the courageous men and women who dealt with many hard realities to found the city that became Marietta, Ohio ... McCullough has again worked his narrative magic and helped us to better understand those who came before us.
PositiveBookPageDavid McCullough superbly captures the life and times of this remarkable figure in his compelling new book ... McCullough skillfully interweaves accounts of his subject\'s private and public lives ... This exceptional biography should be enjoyed by anyone who wants to explore in some detail the complexity of the Revolutionary and Early American eras as experienced by one who was a crucial mover and shaker.
Nancy Isenberg and Andrew Burstein
RaveBookPage...ambitious and beautifully written ... This book offers an abundance of riches. It is both biography and family history of two brilliant men who were deeply concerned about the long-range prospects of their country ... Isenberg and Burstein push back on a number of accepted tenets of early American history.
PositiveBookPage... a balanced portrait of the man and his many contradictions ... Admirers of David McCullough\'s John Adams or Walter Isaacson\'s Benjamin Franklin will thoroughly enjoy this excellent book.
RaveBookPage... magnificently written, richly detailed and always compelling ... Chernow’s nuanced portrait shows that Washington generally was a realist and problem solver as well as a shrewd and subtle reader of other people ... This magisterial volume covers the father of our country in all aspects, from his difficult relationship with his mother to his inability to live frugally, his obsession with Mount Vernon, his exemplary leadership in war and peace, and much more. Chernow’s latest accomplishment is historical biography at its best.
David E McCraw
PositiveBookPage\" ... eye-opening, stimulating and very readable ... This important book should be of interest to all citizens concerned about press freedom in the U.S. in the current political climate.\
Andrew S. Curran
RaveBookPageAbsorbing ... In this extremely well-written biography, Curran vividly portrays Diderot as a brilliant man filled with contradictions and passions who acted as a central figure in the advancement of intellectual freedom.
PositiveBookPage\"... sweeping, consistently illuminating and personal ... This engrossing volume should interest anyone who wants to better understand how Native Americans have struggled to preserve their tribes and cultures, using resourcefulness and reinvention in the face of overwhelming opposition.\
Joseph J. Ellis
RaveBookPage\"...richly rewarding ... This immensely stimulating, in-depth look at the past and America’s challenges in the present should be read by anyone interested in American history.\
David W. Blight
RaveBookPage\"Yale historian David W. Blight brilliantly captures this legendary figure and his times in the magnificent Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, one of the best biographies of recent years. Blight’s portrait of Douglass is engrossing, moving, nuanced, frightening—and certainly thought-provoking.\
Joanne B. Freeman
RaveBookPageYale historian Joanne B. Freeman spent many years researching this subject, which she explores in great detail in her compelling and enlightening The Field of Blood ... Freeman masterfully describes the confluence of events that led to the Republicans’ close loss in the presidential election of 1856 ... This realistic look behind the scenes of the corridors of power vividly shows why there were many weapon-wearing congressmen by 1860 ... Freeman’s pathbreaking book should be read by anyone interested in Congress, the Civil War or American history in general.
RaveBookPageJulia Boyd has done exhaustive research on these visitors and their firsthand accounts of their visits [to Germany]. In her extraordinary and absorbing Travelers in the Third Reich: The Rise of Fascism: 1919-1945, she tells their stories, often in their own words, as they \'accidentally witnessed,\' in varying degrees, the transformation of a government and its people before their eyes. The author’s nuanced and lively narrative shows that a vigorous propaganda campaign by the Nazis, targeted toward tourists and other visitors, was hugely successful for years ... These firsthand glimpses of a dark time in Germany show us the complexity of appearances, and Boyd’s book should be widely read.
Stuart E. Eizenstat
RaveBookPage\"... notes, combined with access to now-declassified documents, over 350 interviews and his own rich insights reveal important aspects of an often underrated administration in Eizenstat’s extraordinarily detailed and compelling insider’s account, President Carter: The White House Years. The author’s objectivity is exemplary as he points out the president’s \'considerable strengths, which were so admirable, but also of his faults and idiosyncrasies, which were maddening to those closest to him,\' and his own missteps. Eizenstat makes a very strong case that Carter’s term \'was one of the most consequential in modern history,\' despite the challenges of a post-Vietnam war and post-Watergate scandal era ... This rare chronicle abounds with fine writing and enlightening insights. One could not hope for a better insider’s view.\
RaveBookPageEleanor Roosevelt wrote shortly before her death, \'One thing I believe profoundly: We make our own history.\' But it is important that we know and understand what has happened in our collective past, and Meacham explains that past brilliantly ... The compelling narratives presented here show that, despite tremendous pressure to surrender to the forces of division, we can all work to achieve the founders’ vision. This insightful and reader-friendly book should be widely read and discussed.
RaveBookPage\"The book traces the evolution of the literal and symbolic uses of small arms down to the present day, when sales of weapons remain robust. The various international attempts to control or limit small-arms sales are discussed. This important book helps us to look at British and United States history in an unconventional way and makes for great reading.\
Joel Richard Paul
RaveBookPage\"Joel Richard Paul, a professor of constitutional and international law, compellingly details the path that brought Marshall to the Supreme Court and how he was able to achieve so much while there in the absorbing and aptly titled Without Precedent … Highlights of the book include Paul’s illuminating discussions of major court decisions; Marshall’s devotion to his beloved wife, Polly, who was ill for most of their married lives; Marshall’s long-running differences with his cousin Thomas Jefferson; and his friendship with Jefferson’s ally, James Madison. This engrossing account of a key figure in our early history makes for excellent reading.\
RaveBookPage\"...compelling, authoritative and lucid … Steil’s superb narrative combines diplomatic, economic and political history with descriptions of such episodes as the Berlin Airlift, along with vivid portraits of the diverse primary personalities, who were often at odds with each other … The Marshall Plan was followed by the founding of NATO and the European Union, important legacies that continue today. This dramatic and engaging account of one of the most complex but enduring achievements of American foreign policy deserves a wide readership.\
RaveBookPage...sweeping, stimulating and enlightening ... Ferguson’s superb, thought-provoking book brings these events vividly to life and will help readers view history from a unique perspective.
RaveBookPageHelen Smith's absorbing An Uncommon Reader: A Life of Edward Garnett captures Garnett’s extraordinary life and times. Smith’s extensive research includes fascinating excerpts of letters and recollections of Garnett’s friends … This enlightening and intimate biography looks behind the scenes to show how much time and effort went into the making and maintenance of promising , sometimes struggling, writers who became prominent authors.
RaveBookPagePresidential historian Robert Dallek makes a strong case for how he found success in his splendid Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life ... his sections on the subject of foreign policy are outstanding. Roosevelt’s approach to strong isolationism in the 1930s and his complicated relations with Churchill and Stalin are covered in significant detail. Roosevelt’s most controversial decisions, such as his response (or failure to respond adequately) to the Holocaust and the internment of Japanese Americans in camps were made for political reasons, Dallek argues. This book is authoritative, insightful and consistently interesting.
RaveBookPageAldous brings the man and his extraordinary life of influence and controversy vividly to life in his meticulously researched and consistently enlightening Schlesinger: The Imperial Historian ... [an] insightful and engaging look at one of the most influential historians of his time.
RaveBookPage...superb ... His brilliant and sweeping exploration focuses on the big picture as well as on individuals, including the true stories behind legends like John Henry, Buffalo Bill and another courageous and very impressive Henry Adams, a freed slave who fought racism in Louisiana. White touches on some deeply ingrained myths ... White’s masterful book offers a treasure trove of information about a pivotal time in American history, crafted with a compelling combination of well-written recreations of events and careful analysis based on the latest historical research. The Republic for Which It Stands is the best available guide to the period.
PositiveBookPageWith his carefully researched, bipartisan and eminently readable The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency, Chris Whipple has written a must-read book for all who want a backstage view of the presidency, from the Richard Nixon years through Barack Obama’s two terms. Based on extensive, intimate interviews with all 17 living former chiefs of staff, former presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush, and many others, this is a treasure trove of experiences ... The remarkably candid interviews and reader-friendly narrative of this book make for very informative and entertaining reading.