New Books Network

Kip Kosek, “Acts of Conscience: Christian Nonviolence and Modern American Democracy” (Columbia UP, 2010)
There’s a quip that goes “Christianity is probably a great religion. Someone should really try it.” The implication, of course, is that most people who call themselves Christians aren’t very Christian at all. And, in truth, it’s hard to be a good Christian, what with all that loving your enemies,... Read More
Elaine Tyler May, “America and the Pill: A History of Promise, Peril, and Liberation” (Basic Books, 2010)
Don’t you find it a bit curious that there are literally thousands of pills that we in the developed world take on a daily basis, but only one of them is called “the Pill?” Actually, you probably don’t find it curious, because you know that the pill has had a... Read More
Valerie Hebert, “Hitler’s Generals on Trial: The Last War Crimes Tribunal at Nuremberg” (University Press of Kansas, 2010)
Clausewitz famously said war was the “continuation of politics by other means.” Had he been unfortunate enough to witness the way the Wehrmacht fought on the Eastern Front in World War II, he might well have said war (or at least that war) was the “continuation of politics by any... Read More
Amanda Podany, “Brotherhood of Kings: How International Relations Shaped the Ancient Near East” (Oxford UP, 2010)
I have a (much beloved) colleague who calls all history about things before AD 1900 “that old stuff.” Of course she means it as a gentle jab at those of us who study said “old stuff.” Gentle, but in some ways telling. Many historians and history readers genuinely have a... Read More
Jeffrey H. Jackson, “Paris Under Water: How the City of Light Survived the Great Flood of 1910” (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2010)
In the late 19th century, French sociologist Emile Durkheim warned the world about spreading “normlessness” (anomie). He claimed that modern society, and particularly life in concentrated urban-industrial areas like Paris, left people without the sense of belonging that characterized “traditional” life. Durkheim was not alone in thinking that there was... Read More
Gary Bruce, “The Firm: The Inside Story of the Stasi” (Oxford UP, 2010)
I have a good friend who grew up in East Germany in the bad old days. The East German authorities suspected that her family would try to immigrate to the West (which they did), so they naturally told the Stasi–the East German secret service–to watch them (which they did). After... Read More
Todd Moye, “Freedom Flyers: The Tuskegee Airmen of World War II” (Oxford UP, 2010)
In the 1940s, the United States military performed an “experiment,” the substance of which was the formation of an all-black aviation unit known to history as the “Tuskegee Airmen.” In light of the honorable service record of countless African Americans, allowing blacks to become fighter and bomber pilots might not... Read More