New Books Network

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
Aram Goudsouzian, “King of the Court: Bill Russell and the Basketball Revolution” (University of California, 2010)
I imagine the guys who first faced Bill Russell felt like I did when I had to guard Antoine Carr in high school. I “held” Carr to 32 points. But no dunks! Russell’s opponents in college and the NBA rarely fared any better. Sports talk is full of hyperbole, but... Read More
Thomas Kessner, “The Flight of the Century: Charles Lindbergh & the Rise of American Aviation” (Oxford UP, 2010)
Try to imagine having never seen an airplane. It’s hard. Aircraft are an ordinary part of our daily experience. Just look up and you’ll probably see one, or at least its vapor trails. Go to your local airport and you can fly in one pretty inexpensively. Heck, if you like,... Read More
Ruth Harris, “Dreyfus: Politics, Emotion, and the Scandal of the Century” (Henry Holt, 2010)
If you’re like me (and I hope you aren’t), the “Trial of the Century” involved a washed-up football star, a slowly moving white Bronco, an ill-fitting glove, and charges of racism. I watched every bit of it and remember exactly where I was when the verdict was announced. But if... Read More
Nicholas Thompson, “The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War” (Henry Holt, 2010)
I met George Kennan twice, once in 1982 and again in about 1998. On both occasions, I found him tough to read. He was a very dignified man–I want to write “correct”–but also quite distant, even cerebral. Now that I’ve read Nicholas Thompson‘s very writerly and engaging The Hawk and... Read More