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The Thirty Years War: Europe's Tragedy
This is a difficult book. Peter Wilson clearly has provided us with a detailed volume that is a major resource on the Thirty Years War. However, it is ...more
Feb 2010
Feb 11, 2010
Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era
If you want detailed discussion of battles, this is not the book for you. If you want detailed descriptions of key actors during the Civil War, this w ...more
Jan 1995
Nov 09, 2009
First, a confession. I am a professional political scientist. And Woodrow Wilson was one of the more influential early political scientists in America ...more
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Aug 02, 2013
The Sunne in Splendour
Historical fiction can be done well--or badly. This novel is in the former category. Sharon Kay Penman's book traces the story of Edward IV and Richar ...more
Jan 2010
Jan 16, 2010
Hitler's Hangman: The Life of Heydrich
How does one write a biography of a butcher, someone who committed atrocities? The author notes at the beginning that it is a difficult task, but one ...more
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Dec 21, 2011
Gettysburg: The Last Invasion
When I saw that this book came out, I asked: Do we need yet one more book on Gettysburg? From Coddington (a magisterial treatment) on, there have been ...more
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Jun 15, 2013
I have read other biographies of U. S. Grant, but this ranks very high. The most important difference between this version and others is the more nuan ...more
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Apr 01, 2012
Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph
This is a rich and nuanced biography of Ludwig van Beethoven--warts and all. The book does not romanticize him; it does not take a critical orientatio ...more
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Jul 13, 2014
The Children of Henry VIII
The title of this book is a bit misleading. While Weir does her usual fine job of elucidating characters and their times, calling this "The Children o ...more
Feb 2010
Feb 11, 2010
The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire
This is a fascinating work on the American Revolution. It is told as a tale of English leaders--political (George III, Lord North, Lord Germain, the E ...more
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Jun 30, 2013
Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East
This is a fascinating book, for the most part well written. While the key character is T. E. Lawrence, the book is formally structured as an examinati ...more
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Jul 21, 2013
A Blaze of Glory (Civil War: 1861-1865, Western Theater, #1)
This is another in a series of works by Jeff Shaara, whose father authored the well acclaimed work "The Killer Angels" (a novel of the battle at Getty ...more
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May 18, 2012
A Mad Catastrophe: The Outbreak of World War I and the Collapse of the Habsburg Empire
The title says a great deal about the book--"A Mad Catastrophe." The book tells a tale of a once major power having in the process of disintegrating i ...more
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Apr 27, 2014
How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of the Modern City
I did not know quite what to expect when I ordered this book. But the blurbs made this volume sound intriguing.

Before the late 1500s, Paris was, as th
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Jun 28, 2014
The Republic of Plato
The Cornford translation of Plato is still one of the standards, even though other translations might well be better in this age. It is also the versi ...more
Jun 1968
May 24, 2009
Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy
Alison Weir is renowned for her historical fiction and her historical works. One of the problems I have when perusing her works is keeping the players ...more
Mar 2010
Mar 03, 2010
John Quincy Adams: American Visionary
I have read (and reviewed) one brief biography of John Quincy Adams (JQA). While it was satisfying for what it did, this volume is much more fulfillin ...more
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Feb 01, 2014
Walter Isaacson, who has written esteemed biographies of Benjamin Franklin, The Wise Men, and Einstein, tackles the complex character of Henry Kissing ...more
Jun 2007
Nov 23, 2009
Erik Larson has done it again. His new "Thunderstruck" is another of his works that ties together separate narratives into a compelling story. His ear ...more
Nov 2006
Jan 28, 2010
Inequality, Democracy, and Economic Development
Manus Midlarsky has edited a book based upon a conference on the impact of inequality on democracy. There are 12 chapters in this book (plus an introd ...more
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Dec 15, 2013
The Smoke at Dawn (Civil War: 1861-1865, Western Theater, #3)
Shaara pere et fils have authored a number of historical novels, extending from early American history to more contemporary wars. Jeff Shaara has writ ...more
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Jun 28, 2014
Napoleon: A Life
A magnificent biography. The author notes that he has access to thousands of previously unavailable letters of Napoleon. These letters add a great ric ...more
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Dec 16, 2014
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
This is the fourth book written by Erik Larson that I have read. In my view, this quartet is a pretty powerful body of work: The Devil in the White Ci ...more
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Mar 26, 2011
Three essential hallmarks of the Hobbesian system are important: the war of each against all, the role of human rationality in ending this; the use of ...more
Mar 1970
May 31, 2009
Manstein: Hitler's Greatest General
This is a fine biography of German General Erich von Manstein. The author, Major General Mungo Melvin, does a nice job of tracing the trajectory of Ma ...more
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Dec 04, 2011
Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and the War Years
This is a biography of Lincoln by the esteemed poet Carl Sandburg. I was born just up the road, US Route 34 (in Kewanee), from his home town of Galesb ...more
Mar 2007
Dec 11, 2009
Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty
This book explores why some nations fail and others do not. The authors lay out their thesis early on (Pages 3-4): "Countries such as Great Britain an ...more
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Jun 29, 2013
The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln
Sean Wilentz provides an excellent commentary on the tensions bedeviling the republic--and wrecking the parties--from the origins until Lincoln's elec ...more
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Feb 07, 2011
The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature
Pinker takes on a perspective regarding human nature that tended to dominate the social sciences in the 20th century (with many adherents of the posit ...more
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Dec 18, 2010
Tarnished Victory: Finishing Lincoln's War
"Tarnished Victory" is a work with a provocative thesis: Lincoln's vision for the war and its aftermath came up short. Many analyses speak to the virt ...more
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Dec 20, 2011
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