New Books Network

Lian Xi, “Blood Letters: The Untold Story of Lin Zhao, a Martyr in Mao’s China” (Basic Books, 2018)
In 1960, a poet and journalist named Lin Zhao was arrested by the Communist Party of China and sent to prison for re-education. Years before, she had –at approximately the same time– converted to both Christianity and to Maoism. In prison she lost the second faith but clung to the... Read More
Charles Halperin, “Ivan the Terrible: Free to Reward and Free to Punish” (U Pittsburgh Press, 2019)
In Ivan the Terrible: Free to Reward and Free to Punish (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019, Dr. Charles Halperin provides a new analysis of Ivan’s reign, as well as valuable syntheses of previous scholarship on one of Russian’s most infamous rulers. Halperin argues that we should move beyond old questions about... Read More
Roland De Wolk, “American Disruptor: The Scandalous Life of Leland Stanford” (U California Press, 2019)
With a name associated with the famous university in Palo Alto, Leland Stanford is among the best-known of the famous “robber barons” of the 19th century. Yet as Roland De Wolk explains in American Disruptor: The Scandalous Life of Leland Stanford (University of California Press, 2019), much of his fascinating... Read More
Serhii Plokhy, “Forgotten Bastards of the Eastern Front” (Oxford UP, 2019)
What happened when Americans and Soviets fought alongside one another against Hitler? How did relations at Poltava airbase reveal cracks in the Grand Alliance? Serhii Plokhy tells the story of personal relationships and high geopolitics in his new book Forgotten Bastards of the Eastern Front: American Airmen behind the Soviet Lines... Read More
Daniel Schwartz, “Ghetto: The History of a Word” (Harvard UP, 2019)
The word “ghetto” has taken on different meanings since its coinage in the 16th century. The uses of this term have varied considerably, from its original understanding as a compulsory Jewish quarter in Venice to its appropriation by black Americans to describe racial segregation in the United States. Daniel Schwartz... Read More
Mike Duncan, “The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic” (PublicAffairs, 2017)
The Roman Republic was one of the most remarkable achievements in the history of civilization. Beginning as a small city-state in central Italy, Rome gradually expanded into a wider world filled with petty tyrants, barbarian chieftains, and despotic kings. Through the centuries, Rome’s model of cooperative and participatory government remained... Read More
Michael Khodarkovsky, “Russia’s 20th Century: A Journey in 100 Histories” (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019)
Dissecting and digesting the history of the Soviet “experiment” can be a frustrating exercise for academics and a Sisyphean task for laymen; the endeavor demands scrutiny of the facts — and they are legion — but we must also grapple with the dystopian atmosphere and cruel indifference to human life, which... Read More