New Books Network

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
Andrew Donson, “Youth in the Fatherless Land: War Pedagogy, Nationalism, and Authority in Germany, 1914-1918” (Harvard UP, 2010)
I was a little kid during the Vietnam War. It was on the news all the time, and besides my uncle was fighting there. I followed it closely, or as closely as a little kid can. I never thought for a moment that “we” could lose. “We” were a great... Read More
Ben Kiernan, “Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur” (Yale UP, 2007)
Chimps, our closest relatives, kill each other. But chimps do not engage in anything close to mass slaughter of their own kind. Why is this? There are two possible explanations for the difference. The first is this: chimps are not programmed, so to say, to commit mass slaughter, while humans... Read More
Julian E. Zelizer, “Arsenal of Democracy: The Politics of National Security From WWII to the War on Terrorism” (Basic Books, 2010)
Historians are by their nature public intellectuals because they are intellectuals who write about, well, the public. Alas, many historians seem to forget the “public” part and concentrate on the “intellectual” part. Our guest today–sponsored by the National History Center–is not among them. Julian Zelizer has used his historical research... Read More
Rebecca Manley, “To the Tashkent Station: Evacuation and Survival in the Soviet Union at War” (Cornell UP, 2009)
By the time the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, the Bolshevik Party had already amassed a considerable amount of expertise in moving masses of people around. Large population transfers (to put it mildly) were part and parcel of building socialism. Certain “elements” needed to be sent... Read More
Alexander Watson, “Enduring the Great War: Combat, Morale and Collapse in the German and British Armies, 1914-1918” (Cambridge UP, 2008)
It’s a question I’ve long asked myself: Why and how did common soldiers fight for so long in the First World War? The conditions were awful, death was all around, and there was no real hope of a “breakthrough” that might bring victory. It was simply one long hard slog... Read More
Susan Brewer, “Why America Fights: Patriotism and War Propaganda from the Philippines to Iraq” (Oxford UP, 2009)
Like it or not, governments need to mobilize their populations in times of crisis and one of the ways they do it is to disseminate propaganda. Now this is uncomplicated if you are, say, Stalin and claim to know what’s best for everyone and control the media (and most everything... Read More