James Mann, “The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan: A History of the End of the Cold War” (Viking, 2009)
Ronald Reagan was a odd fellow. Nobody seems to know what to make of him. He started as a Democrat and then became a Republican. Then he broke ranks with his party by running for president against a sitting Republican.… Read More
Robert Hendershot, “Family Spats: Perception, Illusion and Sentimentality in the Anglo-American Special Relationship” (VDM, 2009)
Gordon Brown, the British PM, came calling to Washington recently. He jumped the pond, of course, to have a chat with his new counterpart, President Barack Obama. They had a lot to talk about, what with the world economy melting… Read More
Gregory Cochran, “The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution” (Basic, 2009)
First, the conventional wisdom. Because Homo sapiens are a young species and haven’t had time to genetically differentiate, we modern humans are all basically genetically identical. Because Homo sapiens figured out ways to use culture to overcome natural selection, human… Read More
Kees Boterbloem, “The Fiction and Reality of Jan Struys: A Seventeenth-Century Dutch Globetrotter” (Palgrave-McMillan, 2008)
When we speak of the “Age of Discovery,” we usually mean the later fifteenth and sixteenth century. You know, Columbus, Magellan and all that. But the “Age of Discovery” continued well into the seventeenth century as Europeans continued to travel… Read More
Simon Morrison, “The People’s Artist: Prokofiev’s Soviet Years” (Oxford UP, 2009)
In the Soviet Union, artists lived lives that were at once charmed and cursed. Though relatively poor, the USSR poured resources into the arts. The Party created a large, well-funded cultural elite of which only two things were expected. First,… Read More
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