New Books Network

Matthew Algeo, “Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure: The True Story of a Great American Road Trip” (Chicago Review Press, 2009)
Memorial day is coming up, and maybe you are going to take a little car trip. It might even be a “road trip,” one of the great American enterprises (which isn’t to say other folks don’t take them, but Americans can rightly say they invented this genre of fun). In... 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
William Beezley, “Mexicans in Revolution, 1910-1946” (University of Nebraska Press, 2009)
It’s shocking and embarrassing how little I, as an American, know about Mexican history. Mexico shares a 2,000 mile long border with the United States. Mexico is America’s third largest trading partner (behind Canada–about which I also know nothing–and China). Over 20 million people in the U.S. say they are... 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
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