New Books Network

Laura Wittern-Keller, “The Miracle Case: Film Censorship and the Supreme Court” (University of Kansas Press, 2008)
Did you ever wonder how we got from a moment in which almost everything on film could be censored (the Progressive Era) to the moment in which nothing on film could be censored (today)? From the Nickelodeon to Deep Throat? The answer is provided by Laura Wittern-Keller and Raymond J.... Read More
Richard Fogarty, “Race and War in France: Colonial Subjects in the French Army,  1914-1918” (Johns Hopkins UP, 2008)
The thing about empire building is that when you’re done building one, you’ve got to figure out what to do with it. This generally involves the “extraction of resources.” We tend to think of this in terms of things like gold, oil, or rubber. But people can be “extracted” as... Read More
Ray Boomhower, “Robert F. Kennedy and the 1968 Indiana Primary” (Indiana UP, 2008)
As some of you may be aware, there’s a big election coming up. Yes, it’s time to pick a new auditor for Iowa City, Iowa, my hometown. It’s a hotly contested race between a jerk with a drinking problem and a twenty-four-year-old who ran a cake business into the ground.... Read More
David E. Kaiser, “The Road to Dallas: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy” (Harvard UP, 2008)
There are some topics that historians know not to touch. They are just too hot (or too cold). The assassination of JFK is one of them. Most scholars would say either: (a) the topic has been done to death so nothing new can be said or (b) it’s been so... Read More
Mark Mazower, “Hitler’s Empire: Nazi Rule in Occupied Europe” (Penguin, 2008)
It’s curious how historical images become stereotyped over time. One hears the word “Nazi,” and immediately the Holocaust springs to mind. This reflexive association is probably a good thing, as it reminds us of the dangers of ethnic hatred in an era that knows it too well.  But in another... Read More
Andrew Gentes, “Exile to Siberia, 1590-1822” (Palgrave-McMillan, 2008)
Being “sent to Siberia” is practically a synonym for exile even in English-speaking countries. Why is this? In his fascinating new book Exile to Siberia, 1590-1822 (Palgrave, 2008), Andrew Gentes explains. And it’s quite a story indeed. The tsars began to dispatch people to Siberia almost as soon as they... Read More
James Willbanks, “Abandoning Vietnam: How America Left and South Vietnam Lost Its War” (University of Kansas Press, 2008)
U.S. forces invade a distant country in order to disarm an international threat to American security. They fight well, and win every major battle decisively. They become occupiers, and find themselves engaged in a low-level guerrilla war against a determined though shadowy enemy. The American-backed government has a tenuous hold... Read More
Alex Rabinowitch, “Prelude to Revolution: The Petrograd Bolsheviks and the July 1917 Uprising” (Indiana UP, 2008)
It’s hard to know what to think about the Russian Revolution of 1917. Was it a military coup led by a band of ideological fanatics bent on the seizure of power? Was it a popular uprising led by an iron-willed party against a bankrupt political order? Or something else? The... Read More
Joyce Tyldesley, “Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt” (Basic Books, 2008)
“Swords and Sandals” movies always amaze me. You know the ones I’m talking about: “Spartacus,” “Ben-Hur,” “Gladiator,” and the rest. These movies are so rich in detail–both narrative and physical–that you feel like you are “there.” But the fact is that we don’t and really can’t know much about “there”... Read More