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Vermeer's Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World

This was an interesting and enlightening book, but, imho, it engaged in false advertising.

Timothy Brook, an Oxford scholar, uses five Johannes Vermeer...more
Feb 28, 2008
Dec 28, 2007
Slave Ship
Like many other overwhelming catastrophes -- the Holocaust, AIDS, the persistence of poverty -- America's history as a slave-owning nation is so hard...more
Sep 2007
Aug 29, 2007
Love at Goon Park: Harry Harlow and the Science of Affection

It's hard to believe that less than 100 years ago, psychologists believed that affection between parents and children was unnecessary, and recommended...more
Feb 07, 2009
Feb 23, 2008

I have read many Holocaust memoirs, but somehow had never gotten around to this short, powerful book by Elie Wiesel. It tells of his family's deportat...more
May 2014
May 01, 2014
I was intrigued by Seneca because (a) I knew nothing about him and (b) I noticed his life span overlapped that of Jesus. This short volume was meant a...more
Apr 19, 2008
Apr 03, 2008
The Perfect Summer: England 1911, Just Before the Storm
I loved the subject matter of this book, but about three chapters in, I decided it just had to go back to the library because the writing was driving...more
Nov 2007
Nov 01, 2007
Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War

The standard history of the Civil War is that America fought a bloody war to abolish slavery and the South lost.

As Nicholas Lemann makes so clear in t...more
Sep 21, 2014
Sep 01, 2014
Faces of World War I: The Great War in Words and Pictures

I read this for a project I'm doing on the 100th anniversary of WWI. The photos are mesmerizing and sometimes absolutely gripping, particularly the de...more
Jan 23, 2014
Jan 20, 2014
The Telephone Gambit: Chasing Alexander Graham Bell's Secret
I highly recommend this slim and engaging book.

Seth Shulman is a science journalist who was given a chance to spend a year in residence at MIT's Dibn...more
Feb 15, 2008
Feb 04, 2008
The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War

Cashed it in early on this book. While I enjoyed some of the remembrances by surviving World War I veterans and appreciated Rubin's efforts to tie the...more
Jan 28, 2014
Dec 29, 2013
Council Fires On the Upper Ohio
I read this because, as part of a newspaper project commemorating the 200th anniversary of Lewis and Clark's expedition, my contribution was a story a...more
Jul 2003
Aug 17, 2007
Born Losers: A History of Failure in America
I read this for work on a story ( The theme is fascinating: this Carnegie Mellon history professor explores h...more
Apr 2005
Aug 13, 2007
The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York
Long before Robert Caro, a former Newsday reporter, began his seemingly endless series of Lyndon Johnson biographies (last volume is in production now...more
Jan 1976
Aug 30, 2007
Guests of the Sheik: An Ethnography of an Iraqi Village
I read this strictly to help me get ready to edit some of our Iraq war coverage, wanting something personal about the Iraqi people. This was a mesmeri...more
Apr 2003
Aug 20, 2007
American Presbyterians: A Pictorial History

I read this book for a project I'm doing on Presbyterian history. It is essentially a chronological walk through American Presbyterianism from the ear...more
Jun 05, 2012
Jun 05, 2012
Campaigning with Grant
I really enjoyed this memoir of the Civil War. Horace Porter was an aide to Ulysses Grant, and his account, while almost worshipful of Grant, was high...more
Jul 1997
Aug 23, 2007
The Face of Battle
By examining three different famous battles from three different eras -- Agincourt, Waterloo and the Somme -- military historian Keegan explores the f...more
Mar 2005
Aug 13, 2007
Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010

This is a cheater's review. I read the last three chapters of this book, plus some essays Murray has written to promote it, in preparation for intervi...more
Feb 22, 2012
Feb 16, 2012
Pioneer Life In Western Pennsylvania
Read this to prepare for doing a story on life in Western Pennsylvania when the Lewis & Clark expedition launched in 1803. This was not a great re...more
Jul 2003
Aug 17, 2007
Martin Delany, Frederick Douglass, and the Politics of Representative Identity

This is a fascinating look at the intertwined lives of two of America's most important black abolitionists in the Civil War period.

One, Frederick Dou...more
Jan 27, 2011
Jan 13, 2011
The Metaphysical Club
This is an exploration of America's biggest contribution to world philosophy -- the approach known as pragmatism, told largely through the stories of...more
Jan 2000
Aug 29, 2007
Exodus: How Migration is Changing Our World

I picked this up as part of a project I'm doing on immigration, but it's going back in the maybe someday pile. While it has provocative arguments, I a...more
Jul 2014
Jun 16, 2014
The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary
Simon Winchester seems to specialize in the quirky slices of history, and this is a great one, not only detailing the evolution of the Oxford English...more
Jan 2001
Aug 27, 2007
Shadow on the Land

This book, now long out of print, was written by Franklin Roosevelt's surgeon general, Thomas Parran, in 1937 to promote his lifelong campaign against...more
Jul 21, 2009
Jun 14, 2009
Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist
In 1892, a Russian-born anarchist named Alexander Berkman walked into the office of Carnegie Steel executive Henry Clay Frick in Pittsburgh during the...more
Aug 2004
Aug 15, 2007
The Rise and Fall of Alexandria: Birthplace of the Modern Mind

This very well-written book filled in a major gap in my historical knowledge and introduced me in a systematic way to the city that in some ways was m...more
Feb 04, 2011
Nov 18, 2010
The World of Yesterday

SPOILER ALERT: This review reveals details about the end of Zweig's life.

This wonderful, heartwrenching, elegiac memoir recreates the world of late 19...more
Aug 19, 2009
Jun 21, 2008
Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World
This book is terrific. Written by the great granddaughter of British prime minister David Lloyd-George, who headed the British delegation in the peace...more
Aug 2007
Jul 28, 2007
No Greater Glory: The Four Immortal Chaplains and the Sinking of the Dorchester in World War II

This is an absolutely mesmerizing tale -- the tragedy of the USAT Dorchester, sunk in the North Atlantic by a U-boat 65 years ago, killing hundreds of...more
Jan 2008
Jan 10, 2008
The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts
OK, full disclosure. I was reading this to help with background on an article I finished today, so I won't be finishing it. Nevertheless, I think it d...more
Oct 2007
Sep 24, 2007
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