Joanna Levin, “Bohemia in America, 1858-1920” (Stanford UP, 2010)
You’ve probably heard of hipsters. Heck, you may even be a hipster. If you don’t know what a hipster is, you might spend some time on this sometimes entertaining website. Where do hipsters come from? Let’s work backwards. Before hipsters (1990s), there were slackers (1980s): middle-class, college-going, white kids into... Read More
Heather Cox Richardson, “Wounded Knee: Party Politics and the Road to an American Massacre” (Basic Books, 2010)
Of all the events in American history, two are far and away the most troubling: slavery and the near-genocidal war against native Americans. In truth, we’ve dealt much better with the former than the latter. The slaves were emancipated. After a long and painful struggle, their descendants won their full... Read More
Audrey Kurth Cronin, “How Terrorism Ends: Understanding the Decline and Demise of Terrorist Campaigns” (Princeton UP, 2010)
It’s one thing to say that the study of history is “relevant” to contemporary problems; it’s another to demonstrate it. In How Terrorism Ends: Understanding the Decline and Demise of Terrorist Campaigns(Princeton UP, 2009), Audrey Kurth Cronin does so in splendid fashion. She poses a common and very important question:... Read More
Fearghal McGarry, “The Rising: Ireland, Easter 1916” (Oxford UP, 2010)
Sometimes when you win you lose. That’s called a Pyrrhic victory. But sometimes when you lose you win. We don’t have a name for that (at least as far as I know). But we might call it an “Easter Rising victory” after the Irish Republican revolt of 1916. The Republicans... Read More
Jeffrey Reznick, “John Galsworthy and the Disabled Soldiers of the Great War” (Manchester UP, 2009)
You may not know who John Galsworthy is, but you probably know his work. Who hasn’t seen some production of The Forsyte Saga? Galsworthy was one of the most popular and famous British writers of the early 20th century (the Edwardian Era). He left an enormous body of work, for... Read More