John H. Summers, “Every Fury on Earth” (Davies Group, 2008)
The vast majority of historians write history. Perhaps that’s good, as one should stick to what one knows. But there are historians who braves the waters of social and political criticism. One thinks of Arthur Schelsinger Jr., Richard Hofstadter, Christopher Lasch, Robert Conquest, Richard Pipes, Eric Hobsbawm, E. P. Thompson,... Read More
Vicki Ruiz, “From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth-Century America” (Oxford UP, 2008)
There was a time when “history” was the history of powerful people. Shakespeare captures this notion of history in the prologue to Henry V: O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend The brightest heaven of invention, A kingdom for a stage, princes to act And monarchs to behold... Read More
Donald Worster, “A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir” (Oxford UP, 2008)
If you study pre-modern history in any depth, one of the most startling things you will discover is that “traditional” societies usually had an adversarial relationship with “nature.” They fought the wild tooth and nail in a never-ending effort to bring it under human control. It never really occurred to... Read More
Katherine Jellison, “It’s Our Day: America’s Love Affair with the White Wedding” (University of Kansas Press, 2008)
If you ask me, the “white wedding” is the oddest thing. I’m a modern guy and my wife is a modern woman. We’re feminists. We have an equal partnership. But when it came to getting married we both agreed that I would play the role of Prince Charming and she... Read More
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
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