New Books Network

Tom Chaffin, “Revolutionary Brothers” (St. Martins, 2019)
Of the many thousands who participated in the American and French revolutions in the late 18th century, only a handful played roles in both events. Among that select number were Thomas Jefferson and Gilbert du Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette, two men who enjoyed a friendship that stretched across five... Read More
Alexander Mikaberidze, “The Napoleonic Wars: A Global History” (Oxford UP, 2020)
Austerlitz, Wagram, Borodino, Trafalgar, Leipzig, Waterloo: these are the battles most closely associated with the Napoleonic Wars. But how did this period of nearly continuous warfare affect the world beyond Europe? The immensity of the fighting waged by France against England, Prussia, Austria, and Russia, and the immediate consequences of... Read More
Arthur Asseraf, “Electric News in Colonial Algeria” (Oxford UP, 2019)
Arthur Asseraf’s Electric News in Colonial Algeria (Oxford University Press, 2019) examines the workings of the “news ecosystem” in Algeria from the 1880s to the beginning of the Second World War. The study of a society divided between a dominant (European) settler minority and an Algerian Muslim majority, the book... Read More
Sophie White, “Voices of the Enslaved: Love, Labor, and Longing in French Louisiana” (UNC Press, 2019)
In eighteenth-century New Orleans, the legal testimony of some 150 enslaved women and men–like the testimony of free colonists–was meticulously recorded and preserved. Questioned in criminal trials as defendants, victims, and witnesses about attacks, murders, robberies, and escapes, they answered with stories about themselves, stories that rebutted the premise on... Read More
John Hardman, “Marie-Antoinette: The Making of a French Queen” (Yale UP, 2019)
Who was the real Marie-Antoinette? She was mistrusted and reviled in her own time, and today she is portrayed as a lightweight incapable of understanding the events that engulfed her. In this new account, Marie-Antoinette: The Making of a French Queen (Yale University Press, 2019), acclaimed historian of 18th-century French... Read More
Jeffrey James Byrne, “Mecca of Revolution: Algeria, Decolonization, and the Third World Order” (Oxford UP, 2016)
In his brilliant, category-smashing book, Mecca of Revolution: Algeria, Decolonization, and the Third World Order (Oxford University Press, 2016), Jeffrey James Byrne places Algeria at the center of many of the twentieth-century’s international dynamics: decolonization, the Cold War, détente, Third Worldism, the Non-Aligned Movement, and postcolonial state-making. The book is... Read More
Todd Shepard, “Sex, France, and Arab Men, 1962-1979” (U Chicago Press, 2017)
Departing from the bold and compelling claim that we cannot fully understand the histories of decolonization and the so-called “sexual revolution” apart from one another, Todd Shepard’s Sex, France, and Arab Men, 1962-1979 (University of Chicago Press, 2017) is a complex analysis of the lasting impact of the Algerian Revolution... Read More
Great Books: Catherine Stimpson on de Beauvior’s “The Second Sex”
“Woman is not born but made.” This is only one of the powerful sentences in Simone de Beauvoir’s magisterial The Second Sex (1949). It means that there’s nothing natural about the fact that 50% of humanity has been oppressed by the other half for millennia. There’s nothing natural about the... Read More
Jennifer Cazenave, “An Archive of the Catastrophe: The Unused Footage of Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah” (SUNY Press, 2019)
Jennifer Cazenave’s An Archive of the Catastrophe: The Unused Footage of Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah (SUNY Press, 2019) is a fascinating analysis of the 220 hours of outtakes edited out of the final nine and a half-hour 1985 film with which listeners and readers might be familiar. Well known around the... Read More
Jessica Lynne Pearson, “The Colonial Politics of Global Health: France and the United Nations in Postwar Africa” (Harvard UP, 2018)
International organizations throw up several obstacles—their immense scale, their dry bureaucratic language—to the historian trying to piece together their past. In her book, The Colonial Politics of Global Health: France and the United Nations in Postwar Africa (Harvard University Press, 2018), Jessica Lynne Pearson steers clear of these obstacles and... Read More