New Books Network

Benjamin Binstock, “Vermeer’s Family Secrets: Genius, Discovery, and the Unknown Apprentice” (Routledge, 2009)
Ben Binstock‘s Vermeer’s Family Secrets: Genius, Discovery, and the Unknown Apprentice (Routledge, 2009) is one of the most fascinating books I have ever read. It does what all good history books should do–tell you something you thought you knew but in fact don’t–but it does it ON EVERY PAGE. I... Read More
J. Arch Getty, “Ezhov: The Rise of Stalin’s Iron Fist” (Yale UP, 2008)
When you think of the Great Terror, Stalin immediately comes to mind, and rightly so.But what of Nikolai Ezhov, the man who as head of the NKVD prosecuted Stalin reign of terror? We’ve learned a lot about Ezhov’s involvement in the Terror since the opening of Soviet archives in 1991.... Read More
Catherine Epstein, “Model Nazi: Arthur Greiser and the Occupation of Western Poland” (Oxford UP, 2010)
The term “totalitarian” is useful as it well describes the aspirations of polities such as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union (at least under Stalin). Yet it can also be misleading, for it suggests that totalitarian ambitions were in fact achieved. But they were not, as we can see in... Read More
Thomas Weber, “Hitler’s First War: Adolf Hitler, the Men of the List Regiment, and the First World War” (Oxford UP, 2010)
Here’s something interesting. If you search Google Books for “Hitler,” you’ll get 3,090,000 results. What’s that mean? Well, it means that more scholarly attention has probably been paid to Hitler than any other figure in modern history. Napoleon, Lincoln, Lenin and a few others might give him a run for... Read More
Abbott Gleason, “A Liberal Education” (TidePool Press, 2010)
I fear that most people think that “history” is “the past” and that the one and the other live in books. But it just ain’t so. History is a story we tell about the past, or rather some small portion of it. The past itself is gone and cannot, outside... Read More