New Books Network

Gavin Mortimer, “The Great Swim” (Walker Books, 2008)
I have the habit of reacting audibly when reading good works of non-fiction. Members of my household and strangers on airplanes have been startled by my hmms and huhs of surprise, my ews and ughs of disgust, and my wows of disbelief. I put my whole vocabulary of interjections to... Read More
Adam Hochschild, “To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918” (Houghton Mifflin, 2011)
Today is Memorial Day here in the United States, the day on which we remember those who have fought and died in the service of our country. It’s fitting, then, that we are talking to Adam Hochschild about his To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918... Read More
Chuck Korr, “More Than Just a Game–Soccer vs. Apartheid: The Greatest Soccer Story Ever Told” (Thomas Dunne Books, 2010)
Chances are, if you were one of the 700 million people who watched the 2010 World Cup, you likely heard mention of the soccer games that prisoners on Robben Island played during the decades of apartheid rule. The stories of these soccer matches on the barren island, played by political... Read More
Jonathan Steinberg, “Bismarck: A Life” (Oxford UP, 2011)
What is the role of personality in shaping history? Shortly before the beginning of the First World War, the German sociologist Max Weber puzzled over this question. He was sure that there was a kind of authority that drew strength from character itself. He called this authority “charismatic,” a type... Read More
Kurt Kemper, “College Football and American Culture in the Cold War Era” (University of Illinois Press, 2009)
When we think of sports and the Cold War, what typically comes to mind are steroid-fueled East German swimmers, or the Soviets’ controversial basketball win at the Munich games, or Mike Eruzione’s game-winning goal in 1980 (or Paul Henderson’s goal in 1972, if you’re so inclined). What we don’t think... Read More
Blair Ruble, “Washington’s U Street: A Biography” (Johns Hopkins UP, 2010)
I used to live in Washington DC, not far from a place I learned to call the “U Street Corridor.” I really had no idea why it was a “corridor” (most places in DC are just “streets”) or why a lot of folks seemed to make a big deal out... Read More
Douglas Rogers, “The Old Faith and the Russian Land: A Historical Ethnography of Ethics in the Urals” (Cornell UP, 2009)
What are ethics? What are morals? How are they constituted, practiced, and regulated? How do they change over time? My own research is informed by these question; so is Douglas Rogers‘. So it was only natural that I would be drawn to Rogers’ new book The Old Faith and the... Read More