New Books Network

Lawrence Wittner, “Confronting the Bomb: A Short History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement” (Stanford UP, 2009)
In 1983, when I was in college, I participated in something called a “Die-In.” A group of us set up crosses on the commons and threw ourselves on the ground as if we were dead. The idea, such as it was, was to suggest that nuclear weapons were bad and... Read More
Peter Mancall, “Fatal Journey: The Final Expedition of Henry Hudson” (Basic Books, 2009)
You’ve probably heard of the Hudson River, and you may have even heard of Hudson Bay. But have you ever heard of Henry Hudson? Well you should, and now thanks to Peter Mancall‘s page-turning Fatal Journey: The Final Expedition of Henry Hudson (Basic Books, 2009) you can. And very pleasurably... Read More
Kevin Kenny, “Peaceable Kingdom Lost: The Paxton Boys and the Destruction of William Penn’s Holy Experiment” (Oxford UP, 2009)
It’s hard to be a Christian. It’s even harder to be a good Christian. But being a good Christian on the frontier of Pennsylvania in the eighteenth century seems to have been next to impossible. That’s one possible gloss of Kevin Kenny‘s eye-opening new book Peaceable Kingdom Lost. The Paxton... Read More
Nick Reding, “Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town” (Bloomsbury, 2009)
In 1980 I left Kansas to go to college in Iowa. A lot of things caught my attention about Iowa, for example, that the people really are very nice. I also noticed that there were a lot of drugs. One of them was “crystal methamphetamine,” or “crystal meth” for short.... 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
Leslie Schwalm, “Emancipation’s Diaspora: Race and Reconstruction in the Upper Midwest” (University of North Carolina Press, 2009)
You’ve heard of “Reconstruction,” that is, the reform of the South after the Civil War. But have you heard of “Northern Reconstruction?” Probably not. I hadn’t either until I read Leslie Schwalm’s superb new book Emancipation’s Diaspora: Race and Reconstruction in the Upper Midwest (University of North Carolina Press, 2009).... Read More
Charles Postel, “The Populist Vision” (Oxford UP, 2007)
Ever wonder where the term “populist” came from? It came from “Populism,” a nineteenth/early twentieth-century American political movement. Of course the Populists weren’t really the “Populists,” they were the “People’s Party.” But even that isn’t a very good description. It would be better to call them the “Farmers’ Party,” because... Read More