Articles in OL Weekly
For more than a thousand years, the spawling area of the Baltic has played host to history, art, and fitful commerce – a new history tells the story
American senator, author, and statesman Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s complex and constantly-evolving political philosophy is the subject of a pointed new book
A fantastic new book tells the story of President Washington and the extraordinary team he assembled to form the new nation’s first administration
One little spyglass – only four fingers long – changed the world; a sparkling new book tells the story of Galileo’s “recounting of the stars”
In 1939 the Nazis established their only concentration camp specifically for women; a comprehensive new book tells the history of Ravensbruck
The high school students in Tommy Wallach’s fantastic debut face more than graduation and an uncertain job market: they face an honest-to-gosh killer asteroid
From Lizzie Borden to O. J. Simpson, big public show-trials have fascinated the American people. In his new book, renowned legal historian Lawrence Friedman tries to dissect why that is.
A young boy and his gorgeous white elephant become apprenticed to the greatest architect of the Ottoman Empire in this stunning new novel by the author of “The Bastard of Istanbul”
In the latest Princeton “Writers on Writers” installment, novelist Colm Toibin writes about poet Elizabeth Bishop
In N. K. Traver’s exciting debut, a young cyber-hacker finds his life steadily being commandeered – but his own reflection in the mirror.
Dostoevsky’s great semi-fictionalized prison memoir gets a sterling new translation from the superstar team of Pevear and Volokhonsky
A lavishly-detailed new biography shows us Thomas Stearns Eliot in his slightly fussy, slightly feckless pre-fame years
One of the only two people at the deathbed of Samuel Johnson was a young ex-slave to whom Johnson was, in his testy way, devoted. A new book finally gives Francis Barber the biography he’s always deserved
Plato might be Western philosophy’s first great writer, but a new book argues we’ve mostly been reading him wrong.
A new book details the terrible destruction caused by a record-breaking series of tornadoes that struck the American South in 2011
In Dan Simmons’ latest fantastic novel, Henry James finds himself teamed up with fiction’s most famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, in order to solve a very real – and very heartbreaking – mystery.
At the outbreak of the First World War, American writers flocked to Europe and headed for the Western Front in order to find their Muse – and to make some quick cash. A new book follows a handful of these earliest chroniclers
The rebel pharaoh who instituted a radical new monotheism gets a highly-detailed and revisionist investigation
In the concluding volume of James Enge’s gripping fantasy trilogy, a band of unlikely heroes is caught between warring godlike beings in a world quickly tearing itself apart
The daughter of the first President Roosevelt and the wife of the second President Roosevelt had a long and sometimes cross-purposed relationship. A new book dishes the old dirt.
“I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work,” Woody Allen famously quipped; “I want to achieve immortality through not dying.” Robert Minto reviews a new book on what it takes to make it big in the literary afterlife
In a dystopian future, a plucky young woman from a poor village suddenly finds herself at the heart of the corrupt power system and the focal point of a rebellion in “The Hunger Ga-” um, in Victoria Aveyard’s “The Red Queen.”
Wildly popular YouTube phenomenon Shane Dawson now has a BOOK!
Ian Fleming bought a run-down villa in Jamaica and used it as the workshop – and backdrop – for his world-famous James Bond novels. A new book takes us inside the world of Goldeneye
For over a century, Oscar Wilde’s notebook on Thomas Chatterton has been regarded as a ‘smoking gun’ of Wilde’s plagiaristic tendencies. A new book radically re-examines the issue
Joanna Stafford – niece of an executed man and distant cousin to King Henry VIII – is called to court, where she immediately becomes the focal point of deadly intrigues
Three impressionable young 13th-century Franciscans embark on an improbably odyssey to bring a momentous manuscript to the Pope
In a world very much like our own, super-powered clandestine operatives vie with each other on missions to save or destroy humanity
Every day, all around us, everything solid is inexorably corroding into powder. A game new book takes readers inside the surprisingly fascinating world of rust
He established Parliament, hammered the Scots, expelled the Jews, and inspired centuries of biographers – England’s King Edward I gets a lively new biography
The Ottoman Empire joined the fighting of the First World War deeply misunderstood by both sides; a charismatic new book seeks to clarify the story of that odd meeting of East and West
Species arrive, thrive, and then go extinct – but after the long and frightful reign of Homo sapiens … what?
Sabina, the wife of the enigmatic Roman emperor Hadrian, is beset by enemies in Rome – and safeguards a secret they’d all kill to know …
A businessman is on a trip to new-money Tunisia when the world’s economy goes into meltdown…
In this New York Times bestseller, a hapless woman spots a mysterious event from the window of her commuter train and is soon caught up in a police investigation.
Under the direction of Oliver Cromwell, dozens of men deliberated to execute the captive King Charles I, and when Charles II came to power a decade later, those men were suddenly in the gravest danger. A fascinating new book tells their stories.
A new book takes an intense look at the presidency of Ronald Reagan
Driven into hiding by the victorious forces of William the Conqueror, the heroic Hereward the Wake and his band of freedom fighters must struggle to survive
A gripping new book takes readers inside the fabled – and troubled – land of Tibet
A harrowing new book looks at the many spaces the Vietnam Was has occupied in the American mental landscape
A strong-willed Bavarian princess captures the eye of the young Austro-Hungarian emperor in Allison Pataki’s opulent new historical novel. Steve Donoghue reviews.
Nearly 40 years ago, the Voyager spacecraft left Earth bearing cameras to photograph the solar system – and messages of greetings to the wider galaxy. A terrific new book tells the story of a great human adventure
The clashes of the Cold War weren’t just matters of missiles and border guards; they also enlisted honey-voiced broadcasters, drunken novelists, and bookish magazine editors, as a fascinating new book makes clear
In Jo Walton’s latest novel, the “just city” of Plato’s Republic is brought to life via Greek gods, robots, and a little discreet time travel
In Dewey Lambdin’s latest rousing Alan Lewrie adventure, our dashing hero sees action off the coast of a Spain imperiled by Napoleon
In 1944 a contentious group of delegates gathered in New Hampshire in order to lay out a blueprint for the postwar world economy; a great new history tells the story of Bretton Woods
In V. E. Schwab’s new fantasy novel, a young man can travel between a string of alternate-reality Londons
An engaging new book looks at that perennial fascination for biographers, Niccolo Machiavelli
Two-time National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft kept a low profile (and a negligible paper trail) throughout a lifetime in Washington power-dealing; a compelling new book profiles the ultimate Oval Office insider
In Matt Sumell’s debut, his main character manages to alienate every other person in the book, often by punching them.
In the vastness of the world’s oceans, some mammals have evolved brains and language … and culture? A fascinating new book looks at the inner lives of whales and dolphins
Sartre the man takes a distant back seat to Sartre the thinker in Thomas Flynn’s new intellectual biography
For twenty-five years, the “Table Talk” feature of The Threepenny Review has offered occasional musings on a wide range of topics by some of the best freelance writers and critics in the business. A new hardcover collects a generous helping of highlights
The latest book from New Testament scholar N. T. Wright presents a passionate new appraisal of the “good news ” of the Christian Gospels
When a 21st-century woman travels to the hometown of Emily Dickinson, she finds herself caught between a passionate present and a past far more human than she imagined
In the very engaging latest from Sharma Shields, one family has a very unusual encounter with the legendary Bigfoot
A small group of Americans visit a super-secret Chinese nature-park with a very unusual star attraction.
Former governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee offers a plea for understanding the ‘flyover states’ where, he claims, real people lead real lives
Two years before he gained fame in the most painful way imaginable at the Battle of Little Bighorn, George Armstrong Custer led a large expedition into the Black Hills sacred to the Sioux – in search of gold
The author of “Dogwalker” returns with a new collection of interlinked short stories that revel in their own straight-faced absurdity
In this arresting debut, a young woman working in Paris is hiding from her past – and she worries that the old friends she betrayed are hunting her.
One of the most experienced reporters to cover the war in Afghanistan writes up his experiences
In his new book, historian Adam Zamoyski paints a picture of a Europe convulsed with fear of upheavals like the French Revolution and the tyranny of Bonaparte – and willing to do anything to prevent them
A paradigm-shifting new book looks at the turbulent decade of the 1970s in United States politics and the re-shaping of the world
A slim picaresque novel that was a runaway bestseller in France gets a stylish English-language translation
From the Puritans and their city on a hill to the Mormons to modern-day charlatans, the story of the United States is the story of competing faiths; a lively new book looks at that complicated tapestry
An environmentalist writes an energetic and – despite everything – optimistic clarion call to better and smarter thinking about how mankind can ease its disastrous impact on nature
In 1950 a prominent Western nuclear physicist disappeared – and re-surfaced years later in the Soviet Union, helping the Russians to develop their atomic arsenal. A gripping new book tells the story of a traitor who was also a genius
Revolutionary Russian choreographer Leonid Yakobson fought prejudice, rivals, and the omnipresent Soviet censors to pursue his art, as a magnificent new book narrates
A true believer in the tenets of Darwinism in the 19th Century goes on what amounts to a pilgrimage to that great Darwinian destination, the Galapagos Islands, in James Morrow’s glowing new novel
World after world detected by powerful long-range telescopes are being shown to possess oceans – probably radically different from those of Earth; a new book looks at water worlds, our own and others
For the earliest New England settlers, there were no roads through the wilderness – only the pathways used by suspicious and distrustful natives. And yet, the desire to share news was as strong as ever – a fascinating new book looks at the ways gossip travels in the woods.
Only one man can possibly save a plague- and fire-stricken sub that’s burning and adrift at the top of the world …
When young Promise’s family is killed on their peaceful frontier planet, she signs up with the space-Marines – as one tends to do in such circumstances
When states engage in corruption – and condone it in other states – they fuel exactly the kind of tensions that, short of war, are the only things that can threaten those states; a stunning new book examines the kinetics of wrongdoing
The legendary fantasy author Michael Moorcock returns after a long absence to the genre he helped to create
A nimble and tremendously engaging history of the Middle Ages finally gets translated into English
China’s one-child social policy forms the grim backdrop to Nobel Prize-winning novelist Mo Yan’s latest translated novel
In this newly-translated hit from Brazil, a young man goes in search of what really happened to his grandfather
An accessible new scholarly history looks at the millennium during which Christianity ruled the West
A writing instructor takes a brief trip to Athens in Rachel Cusk’s much-praised new novel
A lively, authoritative new book examines one of the darkest stains on the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt
Michael Mewshaw comes not to praise Gore Vidal but to bury him in this new memoir of a friendship that did not outlast Mr. Vidal’s funeral.
A small-town’s mild-mannered real estate agent isn’t done with your house after he’s sold it to you – in Phil Hogan’s new novel, he keeps a spare key, and he snoops around while you’re away
Schubert’s haunting song-cycle “Winterreise,” composed while he was mortally ill, was a mystery to his friends upon its first hearing. He assured them they’d grow to love it, and, in his latest book, Ian Bostridge certainly has
In S. M. Hulse’s debut novel, a former prison guard in small-town Montana is traumatized by the events of a riot the happened years ago
According to modern medical diagnostics, thousands of people suffer (to varying degrees of severity) from OCD, and yet the science of understanding the condition is maddeningly vague – as science writer David Adam reports
Decade after decade, one man has worked at the heart of the Pentagon, advising a long string of presidents and cabinet ministers about the role of American power in the world. A new book brings his story out of the shadows.
Ned Beauman’s new novel takes readers on a wild ride from London drug-raves to international conspiracies, with some extra-intelligent foxes thrown in along the way
A new handbook in the Yale series enlists a famous biographer to analyze the appeal of the Romantic movement
A proper young woman in Delhi meets a slightly improper young man – and a tragic, mesmerizing love story is born in this accomplished debut
In 1503, the city of Florence commissioned two artists to paint the walls of their city hall – two men named Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. A new book assesses the after-effects of this greatest of all artistic competitions.
Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Tales continue with a lean, gripping tale of blood and armor
A easily-accessible new guidebook to our home solar system
The revamped Man of Steel embarks on a new series of adventures in Action Comics
The scout for a fur-trapping party in 1823 is mauled by a bear and left for dead – but he doesn’t die, which is very bad news for the fur-trapping company in Michael Punke’s super-effective novel
David Dickson’s comprehensively researched, readable book details the long and complicated history of Dublin
A new history presents a history of 20th-Century American radical evangelism that will go down very well on the Liberty University campus
The bloodiest American encounter of the Second World War took place in a vast and icebound forest; a sprawling new history tells the story of the Battle of the Bulge
An enormous, bad-tempered horse tramples to death the wife of its aristocratic owner – but Joe Sandilands of Scotland Yard comes to suspect foul play in Barbara Cleverly’s new mystery
He was ugly, ill-dressed, and eccentrically fond of dogs – but he was also the most experienced military man in the American colonies, restlessly chaffing under the command of George Washington. He was General Charles Lee, and a wonderful new book tells his story.
Long before he would be venerated as the father of English poetry, Geoffrey Chaucer had a really, really bad year. An engaging new book tells the story of how he coped – and the great work that followed.
A new book looks at the writings of Cicero, Sallust, and Horace to understand the mind of their times.
In 1871, thousands of aggrieved Parisians banded together to create an independent socialist community lodged inside their home city, and it functioned as a living dream – until it was brutally destroyed. A new book tells the story of the Paris Commune.
An older Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise-A voyage to the edge of the Federation to help two warring planets make peace – and there they encounter a long-lost figure from their past
A pretty new anthology dips into the vast Chinese poetic tradition
A revelatory new book explores the uneasy dealings the Third Reich had with the thousands of Muslims who suddenly found themselves under Nazi rule
A fiery new history seeks to reclaim the lost honor of both Andrew Jackson and the Battle of New Orleans
When the chaos of the First World War swept over the Middle East, it disrupted patterns of life that had been steady for centuries – and left conflicts that roil still today
She’s convinced they’re married; he’s adamant they’re not. Let the Regency games begin!
What an unruly, monstrous house cat hath joined together, let no man put asunder!
England’s newest viscount has an assassin’s target pinned to his new title, and the spies who accidentally put it there now have a nobleman to protect
It’s well known that Hitler looked to Mussolini’s success in Italy as a model for his own fascism, but a fascinating new book details the lesser-known fact that Hitler had another model as well – an earlier and more exotic one.
F. Paul Wilson’s supremely capable action-hero, “Repairman” Jack, wasn’t always the kneecap-crushing arm-breaking, bad guy-defenestrating paragon his legions of fans know and love; once upon a time, he was a kneecap-crushing, arm-breaking, bad guy-defenestrating neophyte with a dream. “Fear City” takes us back to 1993.
The war in Afghanistan began promisingly – and then dragged on, fell apart, and limped to a quasi-ending. A lively new book narrates the story
Intellectual polymath Roberto Calasso’s latest translated work is an exploration of the ancient hymns and verses of the Vedas
In this thriller, two specialists discover an unbelievable revelation written into the genetic code of all living things
William Howard Taft was the only man to be both President of the United States and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and a new book tells the story of the overlooked years in between
For half a century, preacher Billy Graham was an unofficial spiritual advisor to presidents and rock stars; a new biography attempts to assess his impact on mainstream American religious thought
Fifty years ago, the author of “From Here to Eternity” wrote a vivid, impressionistic account of the Second World War, and that fascinating book now enjoys a new edition
James Haley’s new history takes up the oft-told story of the Hawaiian Islands
The British Expeditionary Force in the First World War has accrued a great many legends over the last century; Peter Hart’s new account aims to delete the mythology – and still preserve the heroism
An enjoyable new book draws some unexpected parallels between human society and the world of bees
The bestselling author of the “Kingkiller Chronicles” turns in a short novella devoted to one of his fan-favorite characters
A punchy and intensely readable new biography of America’s greatest playwright
Veteran popularizer Peter Ackroyd gives his readers a rattling good yarn of kings, decapitations, interregnums, frivolities, and depositions
The boyish hero of the American Revolution who became a more problematic and complicated figure in the political upheavals of his native France, the celebrated Marquis de Lafayette gets a sparkling new biography
He ruled an empire on which, it was famously said, the sun never set – and he did all the paperwork himself! It’s a new life of King Philip II of Spain
The mighty Maid who led medieval France’s armies to a string of improbable victories before being burned at the stake for witchcraft has been immortalized in song, on stage, on film – and in countless books. A new biography is the latest to tell the tale.
Rest in Peace
Biographer Kirstin Downey frees Queen Isabella from the shadow of her husband Ferdinand and sets her center-stage in her own incredible life
In colonial America, a strange, otherworldly English preacher set off a tidal wave of fundamentalist revivalism that shaped an entire generation.
Twenty-five years ago, the Berlin Wall came down and the structure of European politics changed literally overnight. A fantastic new book dissects a turning point in modern history
Wilbur Smith continues the adventures of his super-eunuch Taita in his latest novel set in ancient Egypt
Everybody knows Procopius as the author of the scandalous “Secret History” – but he wrote a long and fascinating work of straightforward history as well, and that work finally gets a great one-volume English edition.
3000 years ago, a capable, enigmatic woman named Hatshepsut ruled Egypt for over twenty years; a spirited new biography tells her story
In postwar Washington, a group of smart, well-placed and high-powered friends helped to set national policy over after-dinner conversation – a sparkling new book tells their story
A new and raucous (and sometimes destructive) dawn of art, architecture, and nightlife broke over New York City in the decades after the Second World War; a gorgeous new book traces the major upheavals
New from the Belknap Press: a lavish new annotated edition of “Wuthering Heights”
Lieutenant Sebag returns in the second installment of Philippe Georget’s top-notch murder-thriller series set in southern France
The author of “The End of History and the Last Man” completes his massive study of the life-cycles of human governmental systems
The age of Michelangelo and Leonardo was also the age of plague and pestilence; a new book finds this fact fascinating
A fascinating new book uncovers new depths and complexities in the much-studied events of Wat Tyler’s Rebellion
Rest in Peace
The protracted dynastic struggle of York and Lancaster is the dramatic subject of the new book by historian Dan Jones
An attractive new book collects the vibrant dinosaur artwork of Julius Csotonyi
A lean and very readable history of the swindling, extrapolating, gambling, and cheating in Victorian England that gave rise to the financial world we have today.
Even before America entered the First World War, daring young Americans were taking to the skies over France, and during the war some of their exploits became legendary; a gripping new history tells the story of America’s first air war.
The worlds of India comes alive in the recently-translated fiction of one of the great Hindi writers of our time
It’s been 75 years since Batman first darkened the nightmares of comic-book villains in Gotham City and around the world; a deluxe new anthology presents three of the Caped Crusader’s most popular graphic novels
John Quincy Adams dreamed of an America very different from the chaotic and largely agrarian new nation he served for the whole of his life, and the details of that dream are laid out in a fine new study
An exemplary new history tells the story of the First World War from the viewpoints of the aggressors
Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, gets a new biography by the popular Civil War historian James McPherson
by Peyton Marshall
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014
The undergirding premise of Peyton Marshall’s debut novel Goodhouse is stated fairly plainly by young James, an orphan in the late 21st century who’s been transferred to something called …
A lively new book traces the fascinating second life of Lucretius’s poem “On the Nature of Things”
After a harrowing near-death experience, a boy begins feverishly drawing monsters – but are his pictures mysteriously bringing them to life, or preventing them from coming to life?
Donald McCaig’s energetic retelling of Margaret Mitchell’s beloved “Gone with the Wind” gets a new paperback reprint
Bram Stoker’s undying classic gets a new makeover to correspond with a popular TV series
Rest in Peace
Rest in Peace
The latest of S. M. Stirling’s novels of the post-technology “Change” takes up the adventures of a new generation in a strange new (and yet old) world
A new book looks at the family lives of five Virginian grandees during the American Revolution era
From Lincoln to Roosevelt to Eisenhower to Reagan and beyond – a new book tells the raucous and problematic history of the American Republican Party
In cities and suburbs all over the developed world, dozens of species of birds are making sometimes uneasy adaptations to the yards and neighborhoods and suburbs of human habitations – this is “subirdia,” and a spirited new book takes readers on a tour of it
An engrossing new history takes readers past the modern Disney version of Venice
We think of Aristotle as the premiere ancient philosopher, but Armand Marie Leroi’s witty, masterful new book urges us to remember that the philosopher was first and foremost a naturalist.
A paradox lies at the heart of Christopher Norment’s eloquent new book: the sea life of Death Valley
He painted writers, explorers, kings, princes … and Doctor Johnson, and his portraits made him immortal. A gorgeous new book looks at the work of Joshua Reynolds
A spry new history re-examines all the forces that converged to compel the separation between the British Empire and the American colonies
The Nurse in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” takes center stage in a new historical novel by Lois Leveen
There’s an entire Internet sub-strata that caters to cyber-attacks and “revenge porn,” and a sharply-reasoned new book urges that this sub-strata be brought under the rule of law, for the good of all.
Before the age of commercial aviation, travelers of all sorts spent time on passenger vessels, some of which were very humble and others famously grand. New from Seaforth Publishing is a beautiful book documenting that lost era
A gripping new book uses a tragedy in Utah to examine the growing menace of texting while driving
What really happened that night in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, when four US citizens lost their lives when a large group of gunmen attacked the US compound? What were the forces that set the tragedy in motion, and could it have been prevented? A new book asks the hard questions
The events of September 11, 2012 at the American compound in Benghazi have proven extremely politically divisive, but Mitchell Zuckoff’s new book strives to stay focused on the men doing the fighting and dying
When a headstrong young woman jumps in a coach in order flee Mr. Wrong, she never guesses she’s got a passenger in the back who might just be Mr. Right.
What does a headstrong gambler do when she makes an all-or-nothing bet with an imperious lord – and loses?
King Henry VII’s victory at Bosworth transferred the crown of England to the new Tudor dynasty – but it also left many Plantagenets hanging around making Henry VII anxious. His son Henry VIII shared that anxiety, and his gradually-increasing persecution of the last remaining Plantagenets is the heart of Philippa Gregory’s new novel.
Historian S. C. Gwynne has written an immense – and immensely readable – biography of one of the most enduringly enigmatic figures of the American Civil War, Stonewall Jackson
We all know the names of Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and Adams, but a terrifically engaging new book reminds us that the American Revolution’s supporting cast was no less fascinating
Spurred by a chance encounter with a wounded bird, Michele Raffin steadily grew her hobby into one of the world’s most successful sanctuaries for rare and threatened birds in need of rehabilitation.
Ken Follett’s enormous “Century Trilogy” comes to its conclusion against the backdrop of the Cold War, the civil rights struggle, and all the other trials of the 20th century
The First World War provided the dark inspiration for an entire generation of great writing, and a big new anthology assembles a stunning variety of that work, from the familiar to the obscure
A compendium of uplifting stories of ordinary people making extraordinary efforts to find ways to help the poor and disadvantaged of the world
A mild-mannered engineer goes out walking in Arizona and suddenly finds himself transported to a strange and violent alien world in M. C. Planck’s fantastic latest novel
A tightly-controlled kaleidoscopic debut novel from the lyricist for the Mountain Goats
“It’s not your fault.” “What’s not my fault?” “Nothing. Everything. I don’t know.”
In the face of a black wall of facts about environmental degradation and mass extinction, a scientist and teacher offers a much-needed note of hope
In the wake of Alexander the Great’s death, many voracious sub-kingdoms sprang up along the routes of his famous conquests. One of these would go on to become the Seleucid Empire, and a new book details its first century of existence
Before the headline-grabbing Tudor dynasty, England was ramped from end to end by an even greater and more terrible family of kings and queens. They were the mighty Plantagenets, and a new book tells their story
More and more information bombards us every day in what seems like an unbeatable torrent – and a new book attempts to separate the signal from the noise and help its readers to do a little mental triage
Back in the heyday of pre-reboot “Star Trek,” Captain Kirk and his crew had countless adventures – but what about all the other starships in the fleet? Didn’t any of them have adventures?
For centuries, the Confessions of Saint Augustine has been considered one of the greatest spiritual autobiographies ever written; the text’s first eight chapters gets a new translation in the venerable Loeb Classical Library
2014 marks the sad centenary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon, whose vast flocks had once darkened the skies of a young America; a new book sounds out the messages of that melancholy anniversary
Lord Byron’s personal physician was a prolific writer in his own right, and he’s the subject of a pleasingly lurid new account
Mira Jacob’s stunning debut A Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing spans continents and generations while exploring the enigmas of art, love, and neurochemistry. Amelia Glaser reviews.
A sweeping new history looks back half a century to the only wartime use of atomic weapons
President Nixon secretly tape-recorded his White House conversations for years – it was a habit that would help to destroy his administration, but before it did that, it created a huge archive of recorded conversations, which form the underpinning of a big new book
Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is the most famous painting in the world – but who was the young woman in the painting? A new book narrates the life of the best-known face of them all.
Rest in Peace
Best-selling historian Hampton Sides takes as the subject of his new book a brave and failed 19th-century Arctic expedition
A massive new biography chronicles the fascinating life of one of the greatest composers of all time
A fascinating debut collection of short stories set in modern China
Robert the Bruce: King of the Scots
by Michael Penman
Yale University Press, 2014
This summer marks the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, the epic confrontation in June 1314 between the English troops of Edward II …
The Black Hour
By Lori Rader-Day
Seventh Street Books, 2014
Lori Rader-Day’s thrillingly good debut mystery novel, The Black Hour, turns on a dolefully touchstone issue in the 21st century: school shootings. The school in question is Chicago’s …
A young man from the Victorian provinces comes to London to meet new kinds of people – and hoo boy, does he – in Lauren Owen’s lavish and, yes, seductive debut novel
Poe’s neat pairing of “the glory that was Greece” and “the grandeur that was Rome” belies the complexity of Republican Rome’s rapid expansion into the greater Mediterranean world and Asia Minor, the fascinating subject of Robin Waterfield’s new book
In 1553, an audacious expedition set sail from England headed east in search of a passage to China – a young historians debut work tells the story of that expedition in all its high drama
In 1588 the greatest war-fleet since the Trojan War was launched against the England of Elizabeth I. A gripping new history tells the familiar story for a new generation
A great new book of natural history focuses on the history, ecology, and behavior of the mountain lion, the fourth largest cat on the planet
When WWII army buddies go into the oil business in postwar Texas in James Lee Burke’s new novel, they encounter an enigmatic businessman who might make or break them
A long-time movie critic assembles some of his most passionate and fascinating essays on the great directors and actors of cinema’s golden age
A veteran reporter journeys deep into the heart of modern China and brings back predictably exotic stories
If a feckless young hipster writes an autobiographical novel about a feckless young hipster, does it make a sound?
A new biography looks at the long life of one of mankind’s greatest artists through six of his greatest works
Anthony Ryan follows up his much-praised debut “Blood Song” with a much more ambitious sequel
An enterprising young writer takes his dog on a road-trip around America in search of all the dog-crazy people the country can provide
Tel Aviv writer D. A. Mishani’s police detective Avraham Avraham returns to his old precinct and is immediately embroiled in black markets, plots, and counter-plots.
The legendary science fiction anthology series by Gardner Dozois reaches its thirty-first incarnation, with 700 pages of standout stories
A debut short story collection spans the world for its settings and marks the appearance of a notable talent
Lady Jane Grey was famously Queen of England for less than a fortnight before being executed by Queen Mary I; Elizabeth Fremantle’s new book takes us into the world of Lady Jane’s two sisters, adrift in a royal court that can’t afford to trust them.
The villainous Captain Cook from “Peter Pan” stars in Lisa Jensen’s new novel – but it’s a far more complex and sympathetic version of the character than Neverland fans will remember
Rest in Peace
After a handily vague apocalypse, a forlorn hipster couple bickers in the woods in Edan Lepucki’s much-hyped debut novel
Did the cataclysmic First World War actually have a hidden peace-dividend? Did it change the vocabulary of rapprochement forever? A vigorous new study makes a daring case
If you found a phone that could make calls to your own past, how would you use it? Or would you use it at all?
One of the foremost historians of the First World War offers a comprehensive and brutal overview of the conflict that gave birth to the modern world
A gripping account of the final days of the inept, tottering Austro-Hungarian empire – and the military apocalypse it helped to usher in
The discovery of Richard III’s skeleton in 2012 has flushed a number of books about the legendary dark monarch back into print – and none more welcome than this snappy volume by veteran biographer Desmond Seward
A discontented English housewife impulsively kills her husband and is then faced with the logistical problem of what to do with his body. In Natalie Young’s chillingly readable new novel, that housewife does what comes naturally
A great Renaissance humanist and city chancellor bucked up a friend entering holy orders by writing a stirring pamphlet condemning the joys of the secular world – and then the great humanist put down his pen and enjoyed an excellent supper of lemon-basted chicken, fresh salad, iced creams, and a fine Rhenish red wine, then perhaps a romp in bed with his pretty wife.
In Sally Beauman’s new novel, a young girl sent to Egypt for her health becomes entangled in dramatic events surrounding Howard Carter’s discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb …
The boozy, gossipy author of “The Life of Johnson” was a working journalist-hack for the whole of his life, but hardly any of that material has been cleaned up and presented to the modern reader – until now, in a groundbreaking new volume from Yale University Press
One of the greatest British Prime Ministers of them all gets an authoritative new biography
Diplomat, author, congresswoman, power broker, playwright – Clare Boothe Luce crammed an enormous amount of living into her life, and the concluding volume of Sylvia Jukes Morris’s essential biography gives it all the sparkling narration it deserves
A new translation of a bleak and edgy work by one of France’s best-regarded crime novelists
A generous new collection of essays by the legendary Joseph Epstein
John Anderson Winn’s thumpingly good new book studies the life and reign of Queen Anne through the least likely focus of them all – and succeeds wonderfully on all counts
One of the hard-chancing successors of Alexander the Great grabbed most of Asia when Alexander died – and then that successor and his successors worked desperately hard to hold onto it all
Director Clint Eastwood brings the beloved Broadway musical to the big screen
The super-villain glimpsed at the end of the mega-hit “Avengers” movie casts a long shadow in the comic books where he was born – a new Marvel Comics graphic novel fills in some of the blanks
A debut novel follows a charismatic young man’s partying days from New Jersey all the way to Scotland and back and charts his downfall as well
The entire vast and vivid history of Egypt is outlined to the reader as Toby Wilkinson’s charming new book makes its way down the Nile
The complicated history of the American Revolution gets its best examination in a generation in Thomas Slaughter’s new book
The young author of “The Red Badge of Courage” is the subject of a lively and very readable new biography
Popular writer Martin Dugard offers a new book about history’s great explorers, men and women who thought outside the box, pushed the envelope, lived every day as if it were their last, ate their vegetables, and voted three times for Ronald Reagan
In 1571 the Christian West and the Muslim East clashed in an epic sea-battle, and when it was over, painters, writers, and poets echoed it in their works. The latest I Tatti volume collects a bounty of those responses
Two friends flee famine-parched Ireland for opposite ends of the world in this big new historical novel
A man adopts a smart, fussy owl – and the relationship completely changes his life
A luminous – and enormous – new account of the novel’s colorful history takes readers on a fun and fast-paced tour of fiction from Fielding to Diaz, with innumerable stops in between
Even in its truncated US edition, Richard Overy’s great new history of aerial bombing during WWII has much to offer its readers
The man we think of as the quintessential politician was first and foremost a working author, as an amazing new assessment makes clear
King Henry VIII’s last wife referred to her as “Hell,” and the Court universally despised her coarse ambition – she was Anne Seymour, and she’s the unlikely subject of a nifty new novel
1856 London rang from one end to the other with the celebrated murder trial of Dr. William Palmer. A delightful new history presents the story for a new generation
For hundreds of thousands of years, humans lived and thrived and worshipped in what is now the British Isles, raising massive monuments and scorching the very ground in the long ages before the arrival of Christianity; a magisterial new history recounts as much as we now know about those lost centuries
When one comics legend stepped down from the “Tarzan” newspaper comic strip nearly a century ago, another comics legend – Burne Hogarth – took over, and “Tarzan in the City of Gold” is Titan Books’ first lavish reprint of Hogarth’s run on the title
A stunning portrait of a people driven by fear and then consumed by hate
A modern classic – now in an English-language translation – examines the roots of prewar German anti-Semitism
Remembering stories about the Holocaust shades into inventing stories about the Holocaust in Boris Fishman’s fantastic debut
A mother in Colorado, grieving for her young son, confronts the fact that he might have been leading a life she never imagined
A reclusive young woman meets a high-spirited blind girl whose enthusiasm for life opens a new world
Dauntless mosaic-layer Libertus returns for another side-job of crime-solving in Rosemary Rowe’s latest gripping murder mystery set in Roman Britain
A lavishly-illustrated guide book to the bumble bees of North America, in all their busy glory
The life and great loves of a legendary 1920s mountain-climber reach out from the past to grab the life of a young 1990s man in Justin Go’s hugely ambitious debut novel
Two missing girls, a very dead tyrant, and the possibility of a rampaging bear are only a few of the plot-twists in Gary Corby’s latest murder mystery set in the Athens of Pericles
The fateful trip E. M. Forster took to India in 1912 was the inspiration for his greatest novel – and it’s likewise the inspiration for a new novel from the author of “The Good Doctor”
In this spare and violent debut, a 13-year-old girl from Appalachia enters a lawless life
That same old grand story – William of Normandy’s daring capture of England in 1066 – gets a spiffy new history
The complicated and far-reaching intellectual endeavor of philology is the subject of a magnificent new history that has an angry edge of its own
Irma Heldman, Open Letters’ resident mystery expert, attended this year’s Edgar Awards. She reports back on the highlights (and the banquet’s best themed desserts).
In Nancy Atherton’s latest “Aunt Dimity” novel, a handsome young stranger comes to the little village of Finch – and he’s chaos follows in his wake
A slim and jam-packed new history of the city of Athens
Birds, turtles, bees, fish, whales … vast armies of living things traverse vast swatches of distance every year in their migrations. But how do they find their way? And WHY do they find their way? Bernd Heinrich’s new book explores the homing instinct.
The scenic seacoast town of Thunder Point plays host to more than its fair share of romantic drama in Robyn Carr’s popular series
An elite mercenary and an elite thief cross paths – with wonderfully predictable results – in Elle Kennedy’s latest “Killer Instincts” novel
A muscular NFL demigod is stalked by a spunky blogger in Tracy Solheim’s latest “Out of Bounds” novel
A hard-hearted cattle rancher is intrigued by the young Hollywood movie star filming shoot on his property in Jaci Burton’s latest “Hope” novel
A battle-hardened warrior must fight for the very memory of the woman he loves in Shannon Butcher’s latest ‘Sentinel Wars’ novel
Three old ladies watch over a town in Florida where broken hearts go to mend in Shirley Jump’s follow-up to “The Sweetheart Bargain”
A sprawling new history of the world during the ‘long’ 19th century
Pompeii and Herculaneum, the two most famous lost cities of the ancient world, had a long and vivid afterlife in culture and literature, as Ingrid Rowland’s insightful new book describes
The darkly iconic Last Stand of George Armstrong Custer receives an exuberantly detailed new account
In Nevada Barr’s latest thriller, her indefatigable main character must track a group of hired killers through the wilderness in order to save their hostages
The world’s smallest and busiest birds are the subject of a pretty new book
In Elisabeth Gifford’s impressive debut, two couples, separated by a century, each confront Scotland’s legends of the seal-folk.
The famous clerical martyr to the Nazi regime is the subject of a powerful new biography
The notorious Duke Lacrosse rape case – and its tawdry aftermath – is the subject of a veteran journalist’s big new book
A fascinating new book looks at the long political and historical writings of the author of “The Prince”
A splendidly brainy new intellectual biography gives us the mind-life of the great orator, writer, and parliamentarian Edmund Burke
Jane Austen’s posthumous send-up of Gothic novels (and their breathless readers) gets a lavish annotated edition
Through the eyes of an assistant, a new novel by an American master shows us the life and torturous loves of the great Renaissance artist Donatello
The plight of young girls in slavery-blighted Mexico is the crux of a harrowing novel
The beautiful Galapagos islands – home to finches, tortoises, and active magma – are the subject of a delightful new study
The first and most famous serial killer of the modern era killed five women in 1888 London – but did Jack the Ripper’s crimes start there? And did they end there? The two greatest “Ripperologists” make the case for a killer’s forgotten victims
That sleek and elegant diving-bird, the double-crested cormorant, faces deep-seated prejudices – and disastrous legal measures – in North America, its ancestral home
A fantastic British boarding-school novel from another age gets a pretty reprint
Cultured, erudite, and passionate, Louisa Catherine Adams had a long and fascinating life as wife to John Quincy Adams on the road to the presidency, and that life at long last has a superb biography