cover title author rating rating my rating review Down arrow read added
 
Isabella: The Warrior Queen
4.08
did not like it
The book's a comedy of errors and stereotypes.

In the first chapter, I could see what seemed to be some definite Christianist bias and bad-type revisio
...more
Dec 20, 2014
Dec 19, 2014
 
The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789
4.12
it was ok
This might, in reality, be worth a third star, but it's getting so many five star reviews that I had to downrate it.

Ellis is writing primarily pablum
...more
Aug 23, 2015
Aug 23, 2015
 
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse
4.21
it was amazing
Free Leonard Peltier!

Why?

Well, you have to read this book, but here's a synopsis that nobody but the most diehard 1970s FBI defender can try to deny.

M
...more
Feb 2006
Dec 17, 2012
 
Introducing the Ancient Greeks: From Bronze Age Seafarers to Navigators of the Western Mind
3.97
did not like it
This book looked interesting on the shelves; I thought that, if nothing else, I might learn one or two things, at least, about post-Mycenean, pre-clas ...more
Jul 21, 2014
Jul 21, 2014
 
Clouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E. Lee
4.12
did not like it
A horrible, ethically challenged book that's also not that new, not that good

Korda's treatment of the Seven Days campaign is the only good think in th
...more
Aug 20, 2014
Aug 20, 2014
 
The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt
3.92
it was amazing
The Commodore comes alive

It's hard, quite hard, translating 19th century finances to today, or stature.

But, pretend that one person was a pioneer in b
...more
Jun 30, 2010
Nov 26, 2012
 
The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914
4.18
it was amazing
Simply fantastic book about the run-up to World War I.

Things I learned include:
1. The Triple Entente, especially from the British angle, was not exclu
...more
Sep 2013
Aug 27, 2013
 
The Rise of Rome: The Making of the World's Greatest Empire
3.88
really liked it
A solid overview of Republican Rome.

Everitt, especially in looking at the early years of the republic, and the ancient authorial sources, breaks their
...more
Dec 28, 2012
Dec 01, 2012
 
Poorly Made in China: An Insider's Account of the Tactics Behind China's Production Game
4.02
it was amazing
Author Paul Midler, a non-Chinese U.S. native, learned Chinese as an undergrad and eventually got an MBA. Not wanting a stereotypical U.S. finance job ...more
Jul 31, 2010
Nov 26, 2012
 
All In: The Education of General David Petraeus
3.12
it was ok
While there are "sympathetic" biographies in a good sense, like Robert K. Massie's new bio of Catherine the Great, there are sympathetic bios that are ...more
May 09, 2012
May 11, 2012
 
Finks: How the CIA Tricked the World's Best Writers
4.10
it was amazing
A great book on how the CIA was running Paris Review (in part via third-party funding) and other "culture" magazines like Encounter, most of them more ...more
Dec 16, 2016
Dec 16, 2016
 
The Trial of Socrates
3.94
it was amazing
The real Socrates (and Plato, too?) revealed

Socrates was NOT a democrat, of course. His touting of Sparta, and his relations to Alciabiades and other
...more
Mar 18, 2009
Nov 30, 2012
 
The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East
4.40
really liked it
Very good info, but .... needs an editor for organization!

First, let me say that Fisk is a very good journalist, and it shows through in the personal
...more
Aug 18, 2007
Dec 07, 2012
 
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: The Untold Story
3.68
it was amazing
I know that more than a few psychologists and psychiatrists have made a forensic diagnosis of PTSD of Jackie O, and a few writers have discussed it in ...more
Dec 28, 2014
Dec 28, 2014
 
Wilson
3.97
did not like it
At the end of this book, Scott Berg describes what propelled him to undertake this biography. He says he had read a number of biographies, and none of ...more
Dec 26, 2013
Dec 26, 2013
 
The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success
3.95
did not like it
When Stark can make broad-sweeping, but not very accurate statements such as "Capitalism was developed by the great monastic estates," you know to buc ...more
Dec 20, 2005
Dec 18, 2012
 
The Loudest Voice in the Room: How Roger Ailes and Fox News Remade American Politics
3.83
really liked it
This good-but-not-great book tells the detailed story of Roger Ailes first rise in the political world, then second, much larger rise in the world of ...more
Jun 07, 2014
Jun 07, 2014
 
The Tragedy of U.S. Foreign Policy: How America's Civil Religion Betrayed the National Interest
4.05
liked it
GREAT — until Nixon

Seeing it blurbed by Andrew Bacevich was one good sign. Reading the dust cover and the table of contents was another.

I realized I h
...more
not set
Nov 28, 2016
 
The Crusades of Cesar Chavez: A Biography
3.98
it was amazing
This is an in-depth, totally honest must-read, based on thousands of hours of audiotapes, notes and more.

Pawel, in the first "critical" biography of C
...more
Jun 06, 2014
Jun 03, 2014
 
The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America
4.14
it was amazing
This is a powerful, scholarly, well-informed overview of how the pervasive spread not just of slavery, but of slavery of Africans, was importantly con ...more
Jul 28, 2015
Jul 28, 2015
 
A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn - the Last Great Battle of the American West
4.10
it was ok
Stilted writing in a Custer hagiography

First, Donovan's writing style, while not necessarily pedestrian, is definitely stilted at times and also grati
...more
May 13, 2008
Dec 05, 2012
 
The Death of Caesar: The Story of History’s Most Famous Assassination
3.84
liked it
Thought-provoking, but doesn't live up to its hype.

Strauss does good to encourage some speculative new thought about Caesar's assassination, but he ov
...more
Jun 07, 2015
Jun 07, 2015
 
The Last Train to Zona Verde: My Ultimate African Safari
3.83
really liked it
A solid book about some aspects of the present and future of southern Africa.

First, Theroux is a skeptic almost to the point of cynicism about First W
...more
Oct 20, 2013
Oct 25, 2013
 
Roosevelt and Stalin: Portrait of a Partnership
3.63
it was ok
Butler does a yeoman's job of having gathered together all the Roosevelt-Stalin correspondence, then, here, putting it together in a coherent framewor ...more
Apr 05, 2015
Apr 05, 2015
 
The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan
4.11
really liked it
Like with Ronald Reagan himself, there's not quite a "there" there on this book.

Rick Perlstein has trod on conservative sacred ground with this book.
...more
Sep 22, 2014
Sep 22, 2014
 
Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution 1863-1877
4.09
it was amazing
First, Grant was NOT an "unsung hero of Reconstruction." The fact that he signed off on Congressional appropriations that continued to downsize the Ar ...more
Sep 06, 2005
Dec 20, 2012
 
Marie Antoinette: The Journey
3.91
it was amazing
Very good book. I've never read a bio of her before, nor an extended history of France at the end of the ancien regime. I knew that she probably had n ...more
Oct 07, 2012
Oct 09, 2012
 
The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard
3.56
it was amazing
Was Matthew Shepard murdered as the target of an anti-gay hate crime, or rather, was he murdered over drugs, drug money and drug debts?

Stephen Jimenez
...more
Feb 14, 2014
Feb 14, 2014
 
Pagans and Christians
3.88
it was amazing
Late paganism was moribund, decrepit and sclerotic; it had no chance against the rise of Christianity.

Well, so goes the historical myth.

But, not true,
...more
Oct 12, 2006
Dec 11, 2012
 
Embattled Rebel: Jefferson Davis as Commander in Chief
3.51
did not like it
Disappointingly thin.

Like many other 1- and 2- star reviewers, I was very disappointed when actually looking at the book, versus the advance hype. It'
...more
Feb 24, 2015
Feb 24, 2015
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