New Books Network

John Steinberg, “All the Tsar’s Men: Russia’s General Staff and the Fate of the Empire, 1898-1914” (Johns Hopkins UP, 2010)
The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 was the most important political event of the twentieth century (no Revolution; no Nazis; no Nazis, no World War II; no World War II, no Cold War). It’s little wonder, then, that historians have expended oceans of effort and ink trying to explain why and... Read More
Michael Kranish, “Flight from Monticello: Thomas Jefferson at War” (Oxford UP, 2010)
The past is always with us, but it’s really always with politicians. Once you put yourself up for office, and particularly national office, everybody and his brother is going to start digging into your past to see what kind of “dirt” they can find. It’s true now, and it was... Read More
Jerry Muller, “Capitalism and the Jews” (Princeton UP, 2010)
I confess I was attracted to this book by the title: Capitalism and the Jews (Princeton, 2010). Capitalism is a touchy subject; Jews are a touchy subject. But capitalism and the Jews, that’s a disaster waiting to happen. I don’t suggest you try this, but just imagine what would happen... Read More
Ruth Harris, “Dreyfus: Politics, Emotion, and the Scandal of the Century” (Henry Holt, 2010)
If you’re like me (and I hope you aren’t), the “Trial of the Century” involved a washed-up football star, a slowly moving white Bronco, an ill-fitting glove, and charges of racism. I watched every bit of it and remember exactly where I was when the verdict was announced. But if... Read More
Joanna Levin, “Bohemia in America, 1858-1920” (Stanford UP, 2010)
You’ve probably heard of hipsters. Heck, you may even be a hipster. If you don’t know what a hipster is, you might spend some time on this sometimes entertaining website. Where do hipsters come from? Let’s work backwards. Before hipsters (1990s), there were slackers (1980s): middle-class, college-going, white kids into... Read More
Heather Cox Richardson, “Wounded Knee: Party Politics and the Road to an American Massacre” (Basic Books, 2010)
Of all the events in American history, two are far and away the most troubling: slavery and the near-genocidal war against native Americans. In truth, we’ve dealt much better with the former than the latter. The slaves were emancipated. After a long and painful struggle, their descendants won their full... Read More
Audrey Kurth Cronin, “How Terrorism Ends: Understanding the Decline and Demise of Terrorist Campaigns” (Princeton UP, 2010)
It’s one thing to say that the study of history is “relevant” to contemporary problems; it’s another to demonstrate it. In How Terrorism Ends: Understanding the Decline and Demise of Terrorist Campaigns(Princeton UP, 2009), Audrey Kurth Cronin does so in splendid fashion. She poses a common and very important question:... Read More