New Books Network

David Day, “Conquest: How Societies Overwhelm Others” (Oxford UP, 2008)
People will often say that “this land”–wherever this land happens to be–is theirs because their ancestors “have always lived there.” But you can be pretty sure that’s not true. It’s probably the case that somebody else’s ancestors once lived on “this land,” and somebody else’s before that. From the very... Read More
Mark Bradley, “Vietnam at War” (Oxford UP, 2009)
My uncle fought in Vietnam. He flew F-105 Thundercheifs, or “Thuds.” He bombed the heck out of an area north of Hanoi called “Thud Ridge.” He’d come home on leave and tell us that it was okay “over there” and not to worry. I didn’t because I was sure “we”... Read More
Mark Bradley and Marilyn Young, “Making Sense of the Vietnam Wars” (Oxford UP, 2008)
What to think about the Vietnam War? A righteous struggle against global Communist tyranny? An episode in American imperialism? A civil war into which the United States blindly stumbled? And what of the Vietnamese perspective? How did they–both North and South–understand the war? Mark Bradley and Marilyn Young have assembled... Read More
W. Taylor Fain, “American Ascendance and British Retreat in the Persian Gulf Region” (Palgrave-McMillan, 2008)
If you ask most Americans when the U.S. became heavily involved in the Persian Gulf, they might cite the Iranian Hostage Crisis of 1981 or, more probably, the First Gulf War of 1990. Of course the roots of American entanglement in the region run much deeper, as W. Taylor Fain... Read More
Hans Kundnani, “Utopia or Auschwitz: Germany’s 1968 Generation and the Holocaust” (Columbia UP, 2010)
It’s pretty common in American political discourse to call someone a “fascist.” Everyone knows, however, that this is just name-calling: supposed fascists are never really fascists–they are just people you don’t like very much. Not so in post-War West Germany. There, too, it was common to call people “fascists. But... Read More
Charles Lane, “The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court, and the Betrayal of Reconstruction” (Henry Holt, 2008)
Why did Reconstruction fail? Why didn’t the post-war Federal government protect the civil rights of the newly freed slaves? And why did it take Washington almost a century to intercede on the behalf of beleaguered, oppressed African Americans in the South? In a terrific new book, Charles Lane explains why.... Read More
Kenneth Moss, “Jewish Renaissance in the Russian Revolution” (Harvard UP, 2010)
For us, every “nation” has and has always had a “culture,” meaning a defining set of folkways, customs, and styles that is different from every other. But like the modern understanding of the word “nation,” this idea of “culture” or “a culture” is not very old. According to the OED,... Read More