New Books Network

Michael A. Reynolds, “Shattering Empires: The Clash and Collapse of the Ottoman and Russian Empires, 1908-1918” (Cambridge UP, 2011)
Most of us live in a world of nations. If you were born and live in the Republic of X, then you probably speak X-ian, are a citizen of X, and would gladly fight and die for your X-ian brothers and sisters. If, however, you were born and live in... Read More
Giancarlo Casale, “The Ottoman Age of Exploration” (Oxford UP, 2010)
You’ve probably heard of the “Age of Exploration.” You know, Henry the Navigator, Vasco da Gama, Columbus, etc., etc. But actually that was the European Age of Exploration (and really it wasn’t even that, because the people who lived in what we now call “Europe” didn’t think of themselves as... Read More
W. Taylor Fain, “American Ascendance and British Retreat in the Persian Gulf Region” (Palgrave-McMillan, 2008)
If you ask most Americans when the U.S. became heavily involved in the Persian Gulf, they might cite the Iranian Hostage Crisis of 1981 or, more probably, the First Gulf War of 1990. Of course the roots of American entanglement in the region run much deeper, as W. Taylor Fain... Read More
Lesley Hazleton, “After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split” (Doubleday, 2009)
Sometimes a shallow explanation, the kind you read in newspapers and hear on television, is enough. “The home team was beaten at the buzzer” is probably all you need to know. Sometimes, however, it’s not. The intermittent conflict between the Shias and Sunnis in Iraq (and elsewhere) provides a good... Read More
Amanda Podany, “Brotherhood of Kings: How International Relations Shaped the Ancient Near East” (Oxford UP, 2010)
I have a (much beloved) colleague who calls all history about things before AD 1900 “that old stuff.” Of course she means it as a gentle jab at those of us who study said “old stuff.” Gentle, but in some ways telling. Many historians and history readers genuinely have a... Read More