Edwin Burrows, “Forgotten Patriots: The Untold Story of American Prisoners During the Revolutionary War” (Basic Books, 2008)
While researching his Pulitzer-Prize-winning Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 (with Mike Wallace; Oxford UP 1999), Edwin Burrows uncovered the story of thousands of American soldiers who had been held prisoner by the British during the Revolutionary War in and around New York. Now he’s back to... Read More
Richard Fogarty, “Race and War in France: Colonial Subjects in the French Army,  1914-1918” (Johns Hopkins UP, 2008)
The thing about empire building is that when you’re done building one, you’ve got to figure out what to do with it. This generally involves the “extraction of resources.” We tend to think of this in terms of things like gold, oil, or rubber. But people can be “extracted” as... Read More
Mark Mazower, “Hitler’s Empire: Nazi Rule in Occupied Europe” (Penguin, 2008)
It’s curious how historical images become stereotyped over time. One hears the word “Nazi,” and immediately the Holocaust springs to mind. This reflexive association is probably a good thing, as it reminds us of the dangers of ethnic hatred in an era that knows it too well.  But in another... Read More
James Willbanks, “Abandoning Vietnam: How America Left and South Vietnam Lost Its War” (University of Kansas Press, 2008)
U.S. forces invade a distant country in order to disarm an international threat to American security. They fight well, and win every major battle decisively. They become occupiers, and find themselves engaged in a low-level guerrilla war against a determined though shadowy enemy. The American-backed government has a tenuous hold... Read More
Howard Jones, “The Bay of Pigs” (Oxford UP, 2008)
There is just something about Fidel Castro that American presidents don’t like very much. Maybe it’s the long-winded anti-American diatribes. Maybe it’s the strident communism (to which he came rather late, truth be told ). Maybe it’s the beard. In any event, it’s clear that Eisenhower, JFK, and Johnson held... Read More
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