New Books Network

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
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
Howard Jones, “The Bay of Pigs” (Oxford UP, 2008)
There is just something about Fidel Castro that American presidents don’t like very much. Maybe it’s the long-winded anti-American diatribes. Maybe it’s the strident communism (to which he came rather late, truth be told ). Maybe it’s the beard. In any event, it’s clear that Eisenhower, JFK, and Johnson held... Read More
Heather Prescott, “Student Bodies: The Influence of Student Health Services in American Society and Medicine” (University of Michigan Press, 2007)
When you were in college, did you visit the health center? I did, several times. Did you ever wonder why there was a student health center? I didn’t. It seemed like a part of the college scenery, something that had “always” been there. Far from it, as Heather Prescott shows... Read More
Christopher Capozzola, “Uncle Sam Wants You: World War I and the Making of The Modern American Citizen” (Oxford UP, 2008)
I confess I sometimes wonder where we got in the habit of proclaiming, usually with some sort of righteous indignation, that we have the “right” to this or that as citizens. I know that the political theorists of the eighteenth century wrote a lot about “rights,” and that “rights” made... Read More
Colin Grant, “Negro With A Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey” (Oxford UP, 2008)
Today we are happy to have Colin Grant on the show. Colin is that rare breed of writer who is also an excellent historian. Or is that “rare breed of historian who is also an excellent writer?” I’m not sure, but I can tell you that Negro With A Hat:... Read More