New Books Network

Padraic Kenney, “1989: Democratic Revolutions at the Cold War’s End” (Bedford-St. Martin’s, 2009)
There are certain dates that every European historian knows. Among them are 1348 (The Black Death), 1517 (The Reformation), 1648 (The Peace of Westphalia), 1789 (The French Revolution), 1848 (The Revolutions of 1848), 1914 (The beginning of World War I), 1933 (Hitler comes to power), and 1945 (The end of... Read More
Stevan Allen, “Roaming Ghostland: The Final Days of East Germany” (Xlibris, 2010)
We like to think of countries as permanent fixtures. They aren’t. They come and go. In 1989, a place called the Deutsche Demokratische Republik, or East Germany, was going. It was never really an “ordinary” place. In the West but also the East; sovereign but not sovereign; German but not... Read More
Peter Fritzsche, “Life and Death in the Third Reich” (Harvard UP, 2008)
Germans and Nazis. They were different things, right? I mean some Germans were members of the Party and believed all it said and some were not and believed none of what it said. True enough, but actually the relationship between the identity “German” and “Nazi” was a bit more complicated... Read More
Brett Whalen, “Dominion of God: Christendom and Apocalypse in the Middle Ages” (Harvard UP, 2009)
In the Gospels, the disciples come to Jesus and ask him about the End of Days. He’s got bad news and good. First, everything was going to go hell, so to say: “And Jesus answered . . . many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall... Read More
Alexander Watson, “Enduring the Great War: Combat, Morale and Collapse in the German and British Armies, 1914-1918” (Cambridge UP, 2008)
It’s a question I’ve long asked myself: Why and how did common soldiers fight for so long in the First World War? The conditions were awful, death was all around, and there was no real hope of a “breakthrough” that might bring victory. It was simply one long hard slog... Read More
Giles MacDonogh, “After the Reich: The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation” (Basic Books, 2007)
Many years ago I had the opportunity to spend a summer in Germany, more specifically in a tiny town on the Rhine near Koblenz. The family I stayed with looked for all the world like typical Rhinelanders. They even had their own small Weingut where they made a nice Riesling.... Read More
Norman Stone, “World War One: A Short History” (Basic Books, 2009)
When I was in high school, I really didn’t go in for reading. Until, that is, I somehow encountered Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front. I remember hiding in the back of all my classes reading it while my teachers talked about something I know not what.... Read More
Adrian Goldsworthy, “How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower” (Yale UP, 2009)
It’s the classic historical question: Why did the Roman Empire fall? There are doubtless lots of reasons. One historian has noted 210 of them. No wonder Gibbon said that we should stop “inquiring why the Roman Empire was destroyed,” but rather “be surprised that it lasted so long.” Indeed. But... 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
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