New Books Network

Kees Boterbloem, “The Fiction and Reality of Jan Struys: A Seventeenth-Century Dutch Globetrotter” (Palgrave-McMillan, 2008)
When we speak of the “Age of Discovery,” we usually mean the later fifteenth and sixteenth century. You know, Columbus, Magellan and all that. But the “Age of Discovery” continued well into the seventeenth century as Europeans continued to travel the globe in search of riches, fame and adventure. And... Read More
Simon Morrison, “The People’s Artist: Prokofiev’s Soviet Years” (Oxford UP, 2009)
In the Soviet Union, artists lived lives that were at once charmed and cursed. Though relatively poor, the USSR poured resources into the arts. The Party created a large, well-funded cultural elite of which only two things were expected. First, that they practice their art. Second–and here’s the rub–that they... Read More
Donald Worster, “A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir” (Oxford UP, 2008)
If you study pre-modern history in any depth, one of the most startling things you will discover is that “traditional” societies usually had an adversarial relationship with “nature.” They fought the wild tooth and nail in a never-ending effort to bring it under human control. It never really occurred to... Read More
Joyce Tyldesley, “Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt” (Basic Books, 2008)
“Swords and Sandals” movies always amaze me. You know the ones I’m talking about: “Spartacus,” “Ben-Hur,” “Gladiator,” and the rest. These movies are so rich in detail–both narrative and physical–that you feel like you are “there.” But the fact is that we don’t and really can’t know much about “there”... Read More
Timothy Snyder, “The Red Prince: The Secret Lives of A Habsburg Archduke” (Basic Books, 2008)
Tim Snyder has written a great book. It’s called The Red Prince: The Secret Lives of A Habsburg Archduke (Basic, 2008). Of course it’s thoroughly researched. Tim’s read all the literature and visited all the archives. Of course it’s historically revealing. Tim’s told a story that no one has told... 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
Abigail Foerstner, “James Van Allen: The First Eight Billion Miles” (University of Iowa Press, 2007)
This week we feature an interview with Abigail Foerstner about her new book, James Van Allen: The First Eight Billion Miles (University of Iowa Press, 2007). Dr. Foerstner teaches news writing and science writing at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. In addition, Dr. Foerstner served as a staff reporter... Read More