New Books Network

Benjamin Carp, “Rebels Rising: Cities in the American Revolution” (Oxford UP, 2007)
When I was in college about a million years ago, we used to sit in bars and talk about the Revolution. Actually, it was this bar and something like this “Revolution.” Clearly nothing ever came of our planning (or drinking). But it wasn’t always so, as you can learn in... Read More
James Banner, Jr. and John Gillis, “Becoming Historians” (University of Chicago Press, 2009)
When I was young, I remember going to my high school library (not to study, mind you) and thinking “Who the hell reads all these books? And who writes them?” Just a few years later I found myself enrolling in a graduate program in history to do both. I’d always... Read More
Matthew Algeo, “Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure: The True Story of a Great American Road Trip” (Chicago Review Press, 2009)
Memorial day is coming up, and maybe you are going to take a little car trip. It might even be a “road trip,” one of the great American enterprises (which isn’t to say other folks don’t take them, but Americans can rightly say they invented this genre of fun). In... Read More
Norman Stone, “World War One: A Short History” (Basic Books, 2009)
When I was in high school, I really didn’t go in for reading. Until, that is, I somehow encountered Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front. I remember hiding in the back of all my classes reading it while my teachers talked about something I know not what.... Read More
William Beezley, “Mexicans in Revolution, 1910-1946” (University of Nebraska Press, 2009)
It’s shocking and embarrassing how little I, as an American, know about Mexican history. Mexico shares a 2,000 mile long border with the United States. Mexico is America’s third largest trading partner (behind Canada–about which I also know nothing–and China). Over 20 million people in the U.S. say they are... Read More
Adrian Goldsworthy, “How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower” (Yale UP, 2009)
It’s the classic historical question: Why did the Roman Empire fall? There are doubtless lots of reasons. One historian has noted 210 of them. No wonder Gibbon said that we should stop “inquiring why the Roman Empire was destroyed,” but rather “be surprised that it lasted so long.” Indeed. But... Read More
Godfrey Hodgson, “The Myth of American Exceptionalism” (Yale UP, 2009)
How different is the United States from other nations? American leaders and common folk have often said it’s very different. The Founding Fathers said it, Abraham Lincoln said it, Woodrow Wilson said it, Franklin Roosevelt said it, Bill Clinton said it, and George W. Bush said it–and they were hardly... Read More