New Books Network

Mark R. Cheathem, “Andrew Jackson, Southerner” (Louisiana State University Press, 2013)
What do most Americans know about Andrew Jackson, apart from that he’s on the $20 bill and that he apparently had great hair? Probably not much. Maybe that he was a two-term president who pioneered the aggressive use of the powers of that office, and that he steadfastly opposed the... Read More
Jeremy Dauber, “The Worlds of Sholem Aleichem” (Schocken, 2013)
The first comprehensive biography of famed Yiddish novelist, story writer and playwright Sholem Aleichem, Jeremy Dauber‘s welcome new book The Worlds of Sholem Aleichem: The Remarkable Life and Afterlife of the Man Who Created Tevye (Schocken, 2013) offers readers an encounter with the great Yiddish author himself. Dauber writes in the rhythm... Read More
Elizabeth Winder, “Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953” (Harper, 2013)
It is a struggle sometimes in biography to find new ways to write about subjects about whom many biographies have been written. This is particularly pronounced in the case of iconic figures of the 20th century (think: Marilyn Monroe, Jacqueline Onassis, Elvis Presley, F. Scott Fitzgerald), and an area in... Read More
Steven Usitalo, “The Invention of Mikhail Lomonosov: A Russian National Myth” (Academic Studies Press, 2013)
Mikhail Lomonosov is a well known Russian figure. As poet, geographer, and physicist, Lomonosov enjoyed access to the best resources that 18th century Russia had to offer. As a result, his contributions to Russian arts and sciences were immeasurable. The source and shape of his celebrity, however, is as interesting... Read More
Sarah Churchwell, “Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and the Invention of the Great Gatsby” (Virago, 2013)
One phenomenon of movies made of classic novels is that the movie often says a lot more about the time of its making than about the time of the novel. And so Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby is more a depiction of a 2012 idea of the 1920s than a... Read More
Kees Boterbloem, “Moderniser of Russia: Andrei Vinius, 1641-1716” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)
As you can read in any Russian history textbook, a series of seventeenth-century tsars culminating in Peter the Great attempted to “modernize” Russia. This is not false: the Romanovs did initiate a great wave of “Europeanizing” reforms. But it’s not exactly true either in the sense that they–the tsars themselves–didn’t... Read More
Reza Aslan, “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” (Random House, 2013)
Christians in the United States and around the world have varying images of Jesus, from one who turns the other cheek to one who brings the sword. Reza Aslan, in his highly popular and beautifully written new book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth (Random House, 2013),... Read More
Charlene M. Boyer Lewis, “Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte: An American Aristocrat in the Early Republic” (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012)
What is a celebrity? And how has the definition of celebrity changed over the course of American history? Those questions are central to Charlene M. Boyer Lewis‘s book Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte: An American Aristocrat in the Early Republic (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012). Patterson, a beautiful and brilliant young woman from Baltimore, married... Read More