New Books Network

Godfrey Hodgson, “The Myth of American Exceptionalism” (Yale UP, 2009)
How different is the United States from other nations? American leaders and common folk have often said it’s very different. The Founding Fathers said it, Abraham Lincoln said it, Woodrow Wilson said it, Franklin Roosevelt said it, Bill Clinton said it, and George W. Bush said it–and they were hardly... Read More
Joel Lewis, “Youth Against Fascism: Young Communists in Britain and the United States, 1919-1939” (VDM, 2007)
Most people know what “appeasement” is. You know, the Spanish Civil War, the Nazi Anschluss with Austria, the Sudeten Crisis, Neville Chamberlain, “Peace in Our Time.” The Western democracies went (as Margaret Thatcher might have said) all “wobbly” on Fascism, with tragic results. But not everyone was fooled by the... Read More
Tony Michels, “Fire in their Hearts: Yiddish Socialists in New York” (Harvard UP, 2005)
I always assumed that the Jews who emigrated from Eastern Europe to New York and created the massive Jewish American labor movement brought their leftist politics with them from the Old Country. But now I know different thanks to Tony Michels’ terrific Fire in their Hearts. Yiddish Socialists in New... Read More
Yuma Totani, “The Tokyo War Crimes Trials: The Pursuit of Justice in the Wake of World War II” (Harvard UP, 2008)
Most everyone has heard of the Nuremberg Trials. Popular books have been written about them. Hollywood made movies about them. Some of us can even name a few of the convicted (Hermann Goering, Albert Speer, etc.). But fewer of us know about what might be called “Nuremberg East,” that is,... Read More
Kristin Celello, “Making Marriage Work: A History of Marriage and Divorce in the 20th-Century U.S.” (University of North Carolina Press, 2009)
When did Americans begin to think of marriage as “work,” as in, “If you want your marriage to succeed, you have to work at it.” Kristin Celello answers this question (and a lot of others) in her timely and relevant new book Making Marriage Work. A History of Marriage and... Read More
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. As a leader, he appeared to be affably naive; yet... 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 down, the Afghan War heating up, and Iraq coming apart.... Read More