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Articles in OL Weekly

Book Review: The Obelisk and the Englishman

May 21, 2015
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The pioneering English Egyptologist William Bankes gets a smart and vivacious new biography

Book Review: Apologetic Writings

May 20, 2015

In Florence of the 1490s, a ranting Dominican friar picked a fight with the wrong Pope and lost badly. A new I Tatti volume translates the bickering before the bonfire.

Book Review: An Ember in the Ashes

May 19, 2015
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A plucky, unlikely teen heroine and a brooding, idealistic teen hero form an unlikely relationship as they fight the oppression of their world in … well, every single YA novel ever written, including this one.

Book Review: Fracture

May 17, 2015
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In the wake of the First World War, unimaginable energies were unleashed upon the societies of the Western world. A fascinating new book attempts to assess the results.

Book Review: Whirlwind

May 16, 2015
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John Ferling, great historian of 18th century America, here tells the story of the American Revolution itself, in typically riveting fashion

Book Review: The Vorrh

May 14, 2015
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At the heart of this astounding work of fantasy broods a jungle called the Vorrh, a forest so unending that it warps time and steals souls.

Classics Reissued: Onward and Upward in the Garden

May 13, 2015
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The quintessential modern classic of gardening-literature gets a very nice reprint

Book Review: A Buzz in the Meadow

May 13, 2015
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A nature enthusiast looks at the countless little lives taking place on his small rural French meadow-farm

Book Review: Theatre of the Unimpressed

May 12, 2015
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A wunderkind of the Canadian theater world writes an impassioned manifesto about everything that’s wrong with the theater world – with better results than you’d expect

Classics Reissued: Cyriac of Ancona

May 12, 2015
cyriac of ancona

During the Italian Renaissance, one enterprising autodidact took it upon himself to track down and transcribe as many inscriptions from the ancient world as he could find

Book Review: Colossus

May 11, 2015

An Indian driver and his enormous war-elephant experience the treacheries and triumphs of Alexander the Great’s Babylon campaign

Book Review: Cursed Victory

May 11, 2015
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A noted Israeli scholar and ‘refusnik’ writes a reserved and thorough history of the occupied territories

Book Review: Note Book

May 10, 2015
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The popular Facebook-poster Jeff Nunokawa now has a book collecting his highlights

Book Review: Corsair

May 10, 2015
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In the new novel from James Cambias, a space pirate in the near future – and the enforcer hunting him – encounter something neither one expects

Book Review: John Knox

May 9, 2015
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The firebrand preacher and founder of the Presbyterian denomination is the subject of a masterful new biography

Book Review: When the Heavens Fall

May 9, 2015
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When a renegade mage steals a powerful book of sorcery, the world of Marc Turner’s fantasy debut is plunged into a disturbing new form of warfare

Book Review: JFK and LBJ – The Last Two Great Presidents

May 8, 2015
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A former British White House correspondent looks back half a century at the two titans who ruled a now-vanished Washington

Book Review: Faith vs. Fact

May 7, 2015
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Religion and science – the so-called “non-overlapping magisteria” – are actually deeply adversarial, writes “Why Evolution is True” author Jerry Coyne

The 69th Annual Edgar Awards

May 4, 2015

Crime columnist Irma Heldman reports on the winners, the sinners, and the dinner at the 2015 Edgar Awards

Book Review: You Will Never Find Me

May 4, 2015
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Charles Boxer and Mercy Danquah are both kidnap specialists who’ve solved many tough cases. But in their latest, the missing person is their own daughter – and she doesn’t want to be found

Book Review: The Constitution – An Introduction

May 4, 2015
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The US Constitution – the oldest in the world – gets a comprehensive new biography

Book Review: The Death’s Head Chess Club

May 4, 2015
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Two men meet by chance in a 1960s cafe – and remember a time twenty years earlier when they were captor and prisoner at Auschwitz

Book Review: Vanishing

May 4, 2015
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Is the artist painting heath landscapes in England during World War II a mild-mannered hero of military campaigns or a spy? Gerard Woodward’s spellbinding novel starts there and then travels over the whole of an improbable life story

Book Review: Where I’m Reading From

May 3, 2015
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The Tim Parks essays collected in this pretty volume range over the whole landscape of the book-world, from endangered copyright to foreign-lit chic to the inescapability of Jonathan Franzen

Ruth Rendell

May 2, 2015
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Ruth Rendell

Book Review: Lords of the Sith

May 1, 2015
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In the latest Star Wars novel, Darth Vader and his evil Emperor are trapped on a hostile world, being hunted by man and beast

Book Reivew: Planck: Driven by Vision, Broken by War

April 30, 2015
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Max Planck, the great physicist and father of quantum theory, gets a marvelous and empathetic new biography

Book Review: Stalin: New Biography of a Dictator

April 29, 2015
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A new biography takes advantage of recently-opened Soviet archives

Book Review: Infamy

April 28, 2015

In the wake of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States summarily imprisoned thousands of its Japanese citizens for the duration of the war. Richard Reeves’ passionate new book tells the story

Book Review: In These Times

April 27, 2015
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Jenny Uglow’s new book goes into lively detail about how ordinary people in Britain experienced the cataclysmic events of the wars of the Napoleonic era

Book Review: The Last Days of George Armstrong Custer

April 26, 2015
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Author Thom Hatch promises mind-blowing new revelations in his book on the Battle of Little Bighorn. And in other news, Rutherford B. Hayes is rumored to be contemplating a run for president.

In Paperback: Saved by the Sea

April 25, 2015
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In his moving account, now in paperback from New World Library, David Helvarg recounts the wonders and wealth of the world’s oceans

Book Review: Of Noble Family

April 25, 2015
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Mary Robinette Kowal’s sparkling “Glamourist” fantasy series comes to a complex and intriguing conclusion

Book Review: Cuckoo: Cheating by Nature

April 24, 2015
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Cuckoos use other species of birds to raise the young they abandon, and they’ve been doing it for thousands of years without getting arrested. An absorbing new book isn’t precisely rooting for them, but still …

Book Review: The Intimate Bond

April 23, 2015
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An extremely winning new book explores the enormous ways eight particular animal kinds have altered the course of human life on Earth

Book Review: Dead Wake

April 22, 2015

One hundred years ago, a German U-boat sank the RMS Lusitania, with grievous loss of civilian life. The anniversary is observed by one of our best popular historians

Book Review: Princes at War

April 22, 2015
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A chatty, vivacious new book tracks the four sons of the Royal House of Windsor during the years of World War Two

Book Review: Lucky Alan and Other Stories

April 21, 2015
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Jonathan Lethem’s latest book continues his project of combining the literary and the pulpy – Robert Minto reviews.

Book Review: Fortune’s Fool

April 20, 2015
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The latest full-dress biography of John Wilkes Booth seeks to get at the flesh-and-blood man beneath the monster

Book Review: How To Carry Bigfoot Home

April 19, 2015
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Giant eels, dragon-scammers, and of course Sasquatch himself feature in Chris Tarry’s delightfully gonzo debut short story collection

Book Review: The Dream Lover

April 19, 2015
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The passionate, unconventional life of novelist George Sand forms the backdrop for Elizabeth Berg’s new novel

Book Review: Hell from the Heavens

April 18, 2015
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In April of 1945, the destroyer USS Laffey was bombarded by wave after wave of kamikaze fighters – and yet survived. A gripping new book tells the story of a ship that refused to die

Book Review: The Only Words That Are Worth Remembering

April 17, 2015
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In the dystopian future of Jeffrey Rotter’s fantastic novel, Copernican astronomy has been forgotten – but its secrets lie buried under what was once Florida

Book Review: “They Can Live in the Desert but Nowhere Else”

April 16, 2015
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In time for the hundred-year anniversary of the Ottoman killing of over a million Armenians, a gripping new history tells the whole story of the tragedy

Book Review: Lurid & Cute

April 15, 2015
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The main character of Adam Thirlwell’s new novel has no redeeming qualities whatsoever – and he’s sinfully easy to read about

Book Review: Their Last Full Measure

April 14, 2015
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The tense and frantic final months of the American Civil War forms the backdrop for Joseph Wheelan’s lively new book

Book Review: Lincoln’s Autocrat

April 13, 2015
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President Lincoln’s mercurial Secretary of War Edwin Stanton gets a full-dress biography that would have gladdened the heart of anybody who ever wanted to hit him with a shovel

Book Review: James Merrill – Life and Art

April 12, 2015
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The poet James Merrill at long last gets the lavish soup-to-nuts biography he’s always deserved

Book Review: KL

April 11, 2015
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The sprawling system of concentration camps established by the Nazis gets its first comprehensive history

Book Review: The Ransom of the Soul

April 11, 2015
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In his new book, Peter Brown offers a provocative and fascinating new look at the evolution of the Christian idea that you can be helped in the next life by how much moolah you fork over in this one

Book Review: Visions and Revisions

April 10, 2015
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From the novelist, critic, and columnist Dale Peck comes a series of autobiographical essays and reflections about life during the height of the AIDS epidemic

Book Review: Madness in Civilization

April 9, 2015
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A fantastic, important new study traces the history of insanity in human history

Book Review: France 1940

April 8, 2015
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The military collapse of France in 1940 has been a punch line and byword for decades, but a provocative new book argues that the traditional view is too simple

Book Review: One of Us

April 7, 2015
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In 2011, a man detonated a bomb in Oslo and then shot dozens of people on a nearby island before surrendering to police. A vivid new book tells the whole story of the victims – and the killer

Book Review: Bonaparte, 1769-1802

April 6, 2015
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A gigantic new biography chronicles the rise-to-power of Napoleon Bonaparte

Book Review: Hitler’s Shadow Empire

April 5, 2015
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In 1936 Nazi Germany poured money and manpower into backing General Franco in the Spanish Civil War; a new history powerfully re-interprets that fraught relationship

Book Review: Ministers at War

April 4, 2015
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A new book tells the story of the War Cabinet Winston Churchill assembled to fight the Second World War

Book Review: Secret Warriors

April 3, 2015
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Beyond the battles and trenches of the First World War, a dozen less glamorous but no less vital fights were being waged – in laboratories and darkrooms and publishing offices. A vibrant new book tells the story of the other World War I

Book Review: The Last Word

April 2, 2015
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The incestuously-close relationship between a literary biographer and his subject lies at the heart of Hanif Kureishi’s new novel

Book Review: King John and the Road to Magna Carta

April 2, 2015
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800 years ago, King John “Lackland” sealed Magna Carta and unwittingly laid the foundation for some of Western law; a new book takes a fresh look at this much-maligned figure

Book Review: The Baltic

April 1, 2015
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For more than a thousand years, the sprawling area of the Baltic has played host to history, art, and fitful commerce – a new history tells the story.

Book Review: American Burke: The Uncommon Liberalism of Daniel Patrick Moynihan

March 31, 2015
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American senator, author, and statesman Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s complex and constantly-evolving political philosophy is the subject of a pointed new book

Book Review: Washington’s Circle

March 30, 2015
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A fantastic new book tells the story of President Washington and the extraordinary team he assembled to form the new nation’s first administration

Book Review: Galileo’s Telescope

March 29, 2015
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One little spyglass – only four fingers long – changed the world; a sparkling new book tells the story of Galileo’s “recounting of the stars”

Book Review: Ravensbruck

March 28, 2015
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In 1939 the Nazis established their only concentration camp specifically for women; a comprehensive new book tells the history of Ravensbruck

Book Review: We All Looked Up

March 27, 2015
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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

Book Review: The Big Trial

March 26, 2015
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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.

Book Review: The Architect’s Apprentice

March 25, 2015
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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”

Book Review: On Elizabeth Bishop

March 24, 2015
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In the latest Princeton “Writers on Writers” installment, novelist Colm Toibin writes about poet Elizabeth Bishop

Book Review: Duplicity

March 23, 2015
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In N. K. Traver’s exciting debut, a young cyber-hacker finds his life steadily being commandeered – but his own reflection in the mirror.

Book Review: Notes from a Dead House

March 22, 2015
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Dostoevsky’s great semi-fictionalized prison memoir gets a sterling new translation from the superstar team of Pevear and Volokhonsky

Book Review: Young Eliot

March 21, 2015
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A lavishly-detailed new biography shows us Thomas Stearns Eliot in his slightly fussy, slightly feckless pre-fame years

Book Review: The Fortunes of Francis Barber

March 20, 2015
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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

Book Review: Plato’s Wayward Path

March 19, 2015

Plato might be Western philosophy’s first great writer, but a new book argues we’ve mostly been reading him wrong.

Book Review: What Stands in a Storm

March 19, 2015
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A new book details the terrible destruction caused by a record-breaking series of tornadoes that struck the American South in 2011

Book Review: The Fifth Heart

March 18, 2015
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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.

Book Review: The War That Used Up Words

March 17, 2015
the war that used up words

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

Book Review: Akhenaten & The Origins of Monotheism

March 16, 2015
akhenaten & the origins of monotheism

The rebel pharaoh who instituted a radical new monotheism gets a highly-detailed and revisionist investigation

Book Review: The Wide World’s End

March 15, 2015

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

Book Review: Hissing Cousins

March 14, 2015
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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.

Book Review: Those Who Write For Immortality

March 13, 2015
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“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

Book Review: The Red Queen

March 13, 2015

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.”

Book Review: I Hate Myselfie

March 12, 2015

Wildly popular YouTube phenomenon Shane Dawson now has a BOOK!

Book Review: Goldeneye

March 11, 2015
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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

Book Review: Oscar Wilde’s Chatterton

March 10, 2015
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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

Book Review: The Tapestry

March 9, 2015
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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

Book Review: John the Pupil

March 8, 2015
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Three impressionable young 13th-century Franciscans embark on an improbably odyssey to bring a momentous manuscript to the Pope

Book Review: The Violent Century

March 7, 2015

In a world very much like our own, super-powered clandestine operatives vie with each other on missions to save or destroy humanity

Book Review: Rust

March 6, 2015
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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

Book Review: A Great and Terrible King

March 5, 2015
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He established Parliament, hammered the Scots, expelled the Jews, and inspired centuries of biographers – England’s King Edward I gets a lively new biography

Book Review: The Fall of the Ottomans

March 4, 2015
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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

Book Review: The Next Species

March 3, 2015
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Species arrive, thrive, and then go extinct – but after the long and frightful reign of Homo sapiens … what?

Book Review: Lady of the Eternal City

March 2, 2015
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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 …

Book Review: Barbarian Spring

March 1, 2015
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A businessman is on a trip to new-money Tunisia when the world’s economy goes into meltdown…

Book Review: The Girl on the Train

March 1, 2015
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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.

Leonard Nimoy

February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy

Book Review: Killers of the King

February 27, 2015
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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.

Book Review: The Reagan Era

February 25, 2015
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A new book takes an intense look at the presidency of Ronald Reagan

Book Review: Hereward – The End of Days

February 24, 2015

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

Book Review: Peaks on the Horizon

February 23, 2015
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A gripping new book takes readers inside the fabled – and troubled – land of Tibet

Book Review: American Reckoning

February 22, 2015
Book Review: American Reckoning

A harrowing new book looks at the many spaces the Vietnam Was has occupied in the American mental landscape

Book Review: The Accidental Empress

February 21, 2015
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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.

Book Review: The Interstellar Age

February 20, 2015
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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

Book Review: Cold War Modernists

February 19, 2015

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

Book Review: The Just City

February 18, 2015
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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

Book Review: Kings and Emperors

February 18, 2015
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In Dewey Lambdin’s latest rousing Alan Lewrie adventure, our dashing hero sees action off the coast of a Spain imperiled by Napoleon

Book Review: The Summit – Bretton Woods, 1944

February 17, 2015
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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

Book Review: A Darker Shade of Magic

February 16, 2015
A Darker Shade final for Irene

In V. E. Schwab’s new fantasy novel, a young man can travel between a string of alternate-reality Londons

Book Review: Machiavelli

February 15, 2015
Book Review: Machiavelli

An engaging new book looks at that perennial fascination for biographers, Niccolo Machiavelli

Book Review: The Strategist

February 14, 2015
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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

Book Review: Making Nice

February 13, 2015
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In Matt Sumell’s debut, his main character manages to alienate every other person in the book, often by punching them.

Book Review: The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins

February 12, 2015
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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

Book Review: Sartre: A Philosophical Biography

February 11, 2015
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Sartre the man takes a distant back seat to Sartre the thinker in Thomas Flynn’s new intellectual biography

Book Review: Table Talk

February 11, 2015
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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

Book Review: Simply Good News

February 10, 2015
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The latest book from New Testament scholar N. T. Wright presents a passionate new appraisal of the “good news ” of the Christian Gospels

Book Review: Amherst

February 9, 2015
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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

Book Review: The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac

February 8, 2015
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In the very engaging latest from Sharma Shields, one family has a very unusual encounter with the legendary Bigfoot

Book Review: The Great Zoo of China

February 8, 2015
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A small group of Americans visit a super-secret Chinese nature-park with a very unusual star attraction.

Book Review: Gods, Guns, Grits, and Gravy

February 7, 2015
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Former governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee offers a plea for understanding the ‘flyover states’ where, he claims, real people lead real lives

Book Review: Thieves’ Road

February 6, 2015
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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

Book Review: Turtle Face and Beyond

February 5, 2015
turtle face and beyond

The author of “Dogwalker” returns with a new collection of interlinked short stories that revel in their own straight-faced absurdity

Book Review: Unbecoming

February 4, 2015
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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.

Book Review: The Dogs Are Eating Them Now

February 3, 2015
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One of the most experienced reporters to cover the war in Afghanistan writes up his experiences

Book Review: Phantom Terror

February 2, 2015
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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

Book Review: A Superpower Transformed

February 1, 2015
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A paradigm-shifting new book looks at the turbulent decade of the 1970s in United States politics and the re-shaping of the world

Book Review: The extraordinary journey of the fakir who got trapped in an Ikea wardrobe

January 31, 2015
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A slim picaresque novel that was a runaway bestseller in France gets a stylish English-language translation

Book Review: One Nation, Under Gods

January 30, 2015
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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

Book Review: The Age of Consequences

January 29, 2015
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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

Colleen McCullough

January 29, 2015

Colleen McCullough

Book Review: Half-Life

January 28, 2015
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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

Book Review: Like A Bomb Going Off

January 27, 2015
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Revolutionary Russian choreographer Leonid Yakobson fought prejudice, rivals, and the omnipresent Soviet censors to pursue his art, as a magnificent new book narrates

Book Review: Galapagos Regained

January 26, 2015
Galapagos Regained

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

Book Review: Ocean Worlds

January 24, 2015
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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

Book Review: American Passage

January 23, 2015
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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.

Book Review: White Plague

January 22, 2015
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Only one man can possibly save a plague- and fire-stricken sub that’s burning and adrift at the top of the world …

Book Review: Unbreakable

January 21, 2015
unbreakable cover art by stephanie martiniere

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

Book Review: Thieves of State

January 20, 2015
thieves of state cover

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

Book Review: The Whispering Swarm

January 19, 2015
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The legendary fantasy author Michael Moorcock returns after a long absence to the genre he helped to create

Book Review: The Middle Ages

January 18, 2015
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A nimble and tremendously engaging history of the Middle Ages finally gets translated into English

Book Review: Frog

January 17, 2015
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China’s one-child social policy forms the grim backdrop to Nobel Prize-winning novelist Mo Yan’s latest translated novel

Book Review: Blood-Drenched Beard

January 16, 2015
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In this newly-translated hit from Brazil, a young man goes in search of what really happened to his grandfather

Book Review: Medieval Christianity

January 15, 2015
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An accessible new scholarly history looks at the millennium during which Christianity ruled the West

Book Review: Outline

January 14, 2015
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A writing instructor takes a brief trip to Athens in Rachel Cusk’s much-praised new novel

Book Review: Taking on Theodore Roosevelt

January 13, 2015
taking on

A lively, authoritative new book examines one of the darkest stains on the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt

Book Review: Sympathy for the Devil

January 12, 2015
Book Review: Sympathy for the Devil

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.

Book Review: A Pleasure and a Calling

January 12, 2015
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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

Book Review: Schubert’s Winter Journey

January 11, 2015
schubert’s winter journey olweekly 2015

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

Book Review: Black River

January 10, 2015
black river cover

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

Book Review: The Man Who Couldn’t Stop

January 9, 2015
man who couldn’t stop cover

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

Book Review: The Last Warrior

January 8, 2015
last warrior cover

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.

Book Review: Glow

January 7, 2015
glow cover

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

Book Review: Why the Romantics Matter

January 6, 2015
why the romantics matter cover

A new handbook in the Yale series enlists a famous biographer to analyze the appeal of the Romantic movement

Book Review: A Bad Character

January 5, 2015
a bad character cover

A proper young woman in Delhi meets a slightly improper young man – and a tragic, mesmerizing love story is born in this accomplished debut

Book Review: Leonardo, Michelangelo, and the Art of the Figure

January 4, 2015
Ruben’s copy of the Battle of Anghiari

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.

Book Review: The Empty Throne

January 3, 2015
the empty throne cover

Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Tales continue with a lean, gripping tale of blood and armor

Book Review: How to Read the Solar System

January 2, 2015
how to read the solar system cover

A easily-accessible new guidebook to our home solar system

Comics: Action Comics – What Lies Beneath

January 1, 2015
action comics 3

The revamped Man of Steel embarks on a new series of adventures in Action Comics

Book Review: The Revenant

January 1, 2015
revenant cover

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

Book Review: Dublin – The Making of a Capital City

December 28, 2014
dublin us cover

David Dickson’s comprehensively researched, readable book details the long and complicated history of Dublin

Book Review: American Apocalypse

December 26, 2014
amer apoc cover

A new history presents a history of 20th-Century American radical evangelism that will go down very well on the Liberty University campus

Book Review: Snow and Steel

December 23, 2014
snow and steel cover

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

Book Review: Enter Pale Death

December 18, 2014
enter pale death cover

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

Book Review: Renegade Revolutionary

December 15, 2014
renegade revolutionary

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.

Book Review: Chaucer’s Tale

December 13, 2014
chaucer’s tale cover

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.

Book Review: The Life of Roman Republicanism

December 11, 2014
the life of roman republicanism cover

A new book looks at the writings of Cicero, Sallust, and Horace to understand the mind of their times.

Book Review: Massacre

December 5, 2014
massacre cover

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.

Star Trek: Foul Deeds Will Rise

December 1, 2014
conscience of the king

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

Book Review: Chinese Love Poetry

November 26, 2014
chinese love poetry cover

A pretty new anthology dips into the vast Chinese poetic tradition

Book Review: Islam and Nazi Germany’s War

November 24, 2014
islam and nazi germany’s war

A revelatory new book explores the uneasy dealings the Third Reich had with the thousands of Muslims who suddenly found themselves under Nazi rule

Book Review: The War of 1812

November 24, 2014
war of 1812 cover

A fiery new history seeks to reclaim the lost honor of both Andrew Jackson and the Battle of New Orleans

Book Review: A Land of Aching Hearts

November 24, 2014
a land of aching hearts

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

Book Review: Married to the Viscount

November 23, 2014
married to the viscount old cover

She’s convinced they’re married; he’s adamant they’re not. Let the Regency games begin!

Book Review: The Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane

November 23, 2014
viscount stepback

What an unruly, monstrous house cat hath joined together, let no man put asunder!

Book Review: To Save a Viscount

November 23, 2014
to save a viscount cover

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

Book Review: Ataturk in the Nazi Imagination

November 20, 2014
ataturk in the nazi imagination cover

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.

Book Review: Fear City

November 17, 2014
fear city cover

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.

Book Review: The Good War

November 16, 2014
the good war us cover

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

Book Review: Ardor

November 15, 2014
ardor cover

Intellectual polymath Roberto Calasso’s latest translated work is an exploration of the ancient hymns and verses of the Vedas

Book Review: Chain of Events

November 13, 2014
chain of events cover

In this thriller, two specialists discover an unbelievable revelation written into the genetic code of all living things

Book Review: Chief Executive to Chief Justice

November 12, 2014
chief executive to chief justice

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

Book Review: America’s Pastor

November 11, 2014
america’s pastor cover

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

Book Review: WWII – A Chronicle of Soldiering

November 10, 2014
james jones wwii cover

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

Book Review: Captive Paradise

November 8, 2014
captive paradise cover

James Haley’s new history takes up the oft-told story of the Hawaiian Islands

Book Review: Fire and Movement

November 6, 2014
fire and movement cover

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

Book Review: Bee Time

November 3, 2014

An enjoyable new book draws some unexpected parallels between human society and the world of bees

Book Review: The Slow Regard of Silent Things

November 2, 2014

The bestselling author of the “Kingkiller Chronicles” turns in a short novella devoted to one of his fan-favorite characters

Book Review: Eugene O’Neill – A Life in Four Acts

November 1, 2014
eugene o’neill cover

A punchy and intensely readable new biography of America’s greatest playwright

Book Review: Rebellion

October 31, 2014
rebellion cover

Veteran popularizer Peter Ackroyd gives his readers a rattling good yarn of kings, decapitations, interregnums, frivolities, and depositions

Book Review: The Marquis

October 28, 2014
the marquis cover

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

Book Review: Imprudent King

October 26, 2014
imprudent king cover

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

Book Review: Joan of Arc – A Life Transfigured

October 23, 2014
joan cover

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.

Ben Bradlee

October 21, 2014
ben bradlee

Rest in Peace

Book Review: Isabella, the Warrior Queen

October 21, 2014
isabella big cover

Biographer Kirstin Downey frees Queen Isabella from the shadow of her husband Ferdinand and sets her center-stage in her own incredible life

Book Review: George Whitefield – America’s Spiritual Founding Father

October 21, 2014

In colonial America, a strange, otherworldly English preacher set off a tidal wave of fundamentalist revivalism that shaped an entire generation.

Book Review: The Collapse

October 19, 2014
the collapse cover

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

Book Review: Desert God

October 19, 2014
desert god cover

Wilbur Smith continues the adventures of his super-eunuch Taita in his latest novel set in ancient Egypt

Classics Reissued: The Wars of Justinian

October 18, 2014
the wars of justinian

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.

Book Review: The Woman Who Would Be King

October 18, 2014
woman who would be king cover

3000 years ago, a capable, enigmatic woman named Hatshepsut ruled Egypt for over twenty years; a spirited new biography tells her story

Book Review: The Georgetown Set

October 16, 2014
georgetown set cover

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

Book Review: New York Mid-Century, 1945-1965

October 13, 2014
new york mid-century cover

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

Classics Reissued: The Annotated Wuthering Heights

October 13, 2014
magnum easy eye wuthering heights

New from the Belknap Press: a lavish new annotated edition of “Wuthering Heights”

Book Review: Autumn, All the Cats Return

October 13, 2014
autumn all the cats cover

Lieutenant Sebag returns in the second installment of Philippe Georget’s top-notch murder-thriller series set in southern France

Book Review: Political Order and Political Decay

October 11, 2014
political order cover

The author of “The End of History and the Last Man” completes his massive study of the life-cycles of human governmental systems

Book Review: The Ugly Renaissance

October 11, 2014
ugly renaissance cover

The age of Michelangelo and Leonardo was also the age of plague and pestilence; a new book finds this fact fascinating

Book Review: 1381- The Year of the Peasants’ Revolt

October 11, 2014
england, arise cover

A fascinating new book uncovers new depths and complexities in the much-studied events of Wat Tyler’s Rebellion

Carolyn Kizer

October 10, 2014
carolyn kizer

Rest in Peace

Book Review: The Wars of the Roses

October 10, 2014
wars of the roses cover

The protracted dynastic struggle of York and Lancaster is the dramatic subject of the new book by historian Dan Jones

Book Review: The Paleoart of Julius Csotonyi

October 10, 2014

An attractive new book collects the vibrant dinosaur artwork of Julius Csotonyi

Book Review: Forging Capitalism

October 10, 2014
ian klaus

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.

Book Review: The Unsubstantial Air

October 8, 2014
unsubstantial air cover

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.

Book Review: The Walls of Delhi

October 7, 2014
walls of delhi cover

The worlds of India comes alive in the recently-translated fiction of one of the great Hindi writers of our time

Comics: Batman 75th Anniversary Commemorative Collection

October 3, 2014
Comics: Batman 75th Anniversary Commemorative Collection

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

Book Review: Nation Builder

October 2, 2014
nation builder cover

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

Book Review: Ring of Steel

October 1, 2014
ring of steel cover

An exemplary new history tells the story of the First World War from the viewpoints of the aggressors

Book Review: Embattled Rebel

October 1, 2014
embattled rebel cover

Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, gets a new biography by the popular Civil War historian James McPherson

Book Review: Goodhouse

October 1, 2014
goodhouse cover

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 …

Book Review: Reading Lucretius in the Renaissance

September 28, 2014
reading lucretius in the renaissance cover

A lively new book traces the fascinating second life of Lucretius’s poem “On the Nature of Things”

Book Review: The Boy Who Drew Monsters

September 28, 2014
the boy who drew monsters cover

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?

In Paperback: Rhett Butler’s People

September 28, 2014
rhett butler’s people cover

Donald McCaig’s energetic retelling of Margaret Mitchell’s beloved “Gone with the Wind” gets a new paperback reprint

Book Review: The ‘Penny Dreadful’ Dracula

September 28, 2014
martin stiff 1

Bram Stoker’s undying classic gets a new makeover to correspond with a popular TV series

Christopher Hogwood

September 24, 2014
christopher hogwood

Rest in Peace

The Duchess of Devonshire

September 24, 2014

Rest in Peace

Book Review: The Golden Princess

September 23, 2014
golden princess use

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

Book Review: Founders as Fathers

September 21, 2014
founders as fathers cover

A new book looks at the family lives of five Virginian grandees during the American Revolution era

Book Review: To Make Men Free

September 21, 2014
to make men free cover

From Lincoln to Roosevelt to Eisenhower to Reagan and beyond – a new book tells the raucous and problematic history of the American Republican Party

Book Review: Welcome to Subirdia

September 21, 2014
jack delap illustration

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

Book Review: Italian Venice

September 21, 2014
italian venice use

An engrossing new history takes readers past the modern Disney version of Venice

Book Review: The Lagoon

September 21, 2014
the lagoon cover

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.

Book Review: Relicts of a Beautiful Sea

September 21, 2014
relicts of a beautiful sea

A paradox lies at the heart of Christopher Norment’s eloquent new book: the sea life of Death Valley

Book Review: Reynolds – Portraiture in Action

September 21, 2014

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

Book Review: An Empire on the Edge

September 21, 2014
an empire on the edge cover

A spry new history re-examines all the forces that converged to compel the separation between the British Empire and the American colonies

Book Review: Juliet’s Nurse

September 19, 2014
juliet’s nurse us

The Nurse in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” takes center stage in a new historical novel by Lois Leveen

Book Review: Hate Crimes in Cyberspace

September 18, 2014
hate crimes in cyberspace cover

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.

Book Review: A Century of Sea Travel

September 15, 2014
elder dempster lines

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

Book Review: A Deadly Wandering

September 13, 2014
a deadly wandering cover

A gripping new book uses a tragedy in Utah to examine the growing menace of texting while driving

Book Review: Dark Forces

September 10, 2014
dark forces cover

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

Book Review: 13 Hours in Benghazi

September 10, 2014
13 hours in benghazi cover

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

Book Review: The Accidental Abduction

September 10, 2014
the accidental abduction cover

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.

Book Review: The Accidental Duchess

September 10, 2014
the accidental duchess cover

What does a headstrong gambler do when she makes an all-or-nothing bet with an imperious lord – and loses?

Book Review: The King’s Curse

September 9, 2014
king’s curse cover

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.

Book Review: Rebel Yell

September 8, 2014
rebel yell cover

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

Book Review: Band of Giants

September 8, 2014
band of giants cover

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

Book Review: The Birds of Pandemonium

September 8, 2014
birds of pandemonium cover

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.

Book Review: Edge of Eternity

September 7, 2014
edge of eternity cover

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

Book Review: No Man’s Land

September 7, 2014
no man’s land cover

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

Book Review: A Path Appears

September 6, 2014
a path appears cover

A compendium of uplifting stories of ordinary people making extraordinary efforts to find ways to help the poor and disadvantaged of the world

Book Review: Sword of the Bright Lady

September 4, 2014
sword of the bright lady cover

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

Book Review: Wolf in White Van

September 3, 2014
wolf in white van cover

A tightly-controlled kaleidoscopic debut novel from the lyricist for the Mountain Goats

Book Review: The Emerald Light in the Air

September 3, 2014
emerald light cover

“It’s not your fault.” “What’s not my fault?” “Nothing. Everything. I don’t know.”

Book Review: Dodging Extinction

September 2, 2014
Book Review: Dodging Extinction

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

Book Review: The Rise of the Seleukid Empire, 323-223 BC

September 1, 2014
the rise of the seleukid empire cover

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

Book Review: Demon’s Brood

August 30, 2014
demon’s brood cover

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

Book Review: The Organized Mind

August 28, 2014
the organized mind cover

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

Book Review: Star Trek Seekers 1

August 25, 2014
Book Review: Star Trek Seekers 1

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?

Book Review: The Loeb Augustine’s Confessions

August 24, 2014
Book Review: The Loeb Augustine’s Confessions

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

Book Review: A Message from Martha

August 22, 2014
message from martha cover

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

Book Review: The Poet and the Vampyre

August 20, 2014
the poet and the vampyre cover

Lord Byron’s personal physician was a prolific writer in his own right, and he’s the subject of a pleasingly lurid new account

Capturing the Unphotographable: Mira Jacob’s The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing

August 19, 2014
Capturing the Unphotographable: Mira Jacob’s <em>The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing</em>

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.

Book Review: Hiroshima Nagasaki

August 17, 2014
hiroshima nagasaki cover

A sweeping new history looks back half a century to the only wartime use of atomic weapons

Book Review: The Nixon Tapes

August 15, 2014
the nixon tapes cover

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

Book Review: Mona Lisa – A Life Discovered

August 14, 2014
mona lisa discovered cover

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.

Lauren Bacall

August 12, 2014

Rest in Peace

Book Review: In the Kingdom of Ice

August 10, 2014
in the kingdom of ice cover

Best-selling historian Hampton Sides takes as the subject of his new book a brave and failed 19th-century Arctic expedition

Book Review: Beethoven – Anguish and Triumph

August 7, 2014
beethoven cover

A massive new biography chronicles the fascinating life of one of the greatest composers of all time

Book Review: The Dog

August 2, 2014
the dog cover

A fascinating debut collection of short stories set in modern China

Book Review: Robert the Bruce

August 1, 2014
Book Review: Robert the Bruce

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 …

Book Review: The Black Hour

July 29, 2014
the black hour cover

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 …

Book Review: The Quick

July 27, 2014
the quick cover

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

Book Review: Taken at the Flood

July 27, 2014
taken at the flood cover

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

Book Review: Tudor Adventurers

July 27, 2014
tudor adventurers cover

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

Book Review: The Spanish Armada

July 27, 2014
Book Review: The Spanish Armada

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

Book Review: The Cougar

July 27, 2014
The Cougar

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

Book Review: Wayfaring Stranger

July 25, 2014
wayfaring stranger cover

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

Book Review: Watching Them Be

July 22, 2014
watching them be cover

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

Book Review: The Emperor Far Away

July 22, 2014
the emperor far away cover

A veteran reporter journeys deep into the heart of modern China and brings back predictably exotic stories

Thomas Berger

July 21, 2014
Thomas Berger

Thomas Berger

Book Review: You’re Not Much Use To Anyone

July 21, 2014
you’re not much use cover

If a feckless young hipster writes an autobiographical novel about a feckless young hipster, does it make a sound?

Book Review: Michelangelo – A Life in Six Masterpieces

July 20, 2014
michelangelo cover

A new biography looks at the long life of one of mankind’s greatest artists through six of his greatest works

Book Review: Tower Lord

July 20, 2014
tower lord cover

Anthony Ryan follows up his much-praised debut “Blood Song” with a much more ambitious sequel

Book Review: Travels with Casey

July 20, 2014
travels with casey cover

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

Book Review: A Possibility of Violence

July 20, 2014
a possibility of violence cover

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.

Book Review: The Year’s Best Science Fiction, 31st Collection

July 20, 2014
year’s best science fiction cover

The legendary science fiction anthology series by Gardner Dozois reaches its thirty-first incarnation, with 700 pages of standout stories

Book Review: The Weight of a Human Heart

July 19, 2014
weight of a human heart

A debut short story collection spans the world for its settings and marks the appearance of a notable talent

Book Review: Sisters of Treason

July 19, 2014
sisters of treason cover

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.

Book Review: Alias Hook

July 17, 2014
alias cook cover

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

Elaine Stritch

July 17, 2014
elaine stritch

Rest in Peace

Book Review: California

July 14, 2014

After a handily vague apocalypse, a forlorn hipster couple bickers in the woods in Edan Lepucki’s much-hyped debut novel

Book Review: The Great War for Peace

July 14, 2014
the great war for peace cover

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

Book Review: Landline

July 13, 2014
Book Review: Landline

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?

Book Review: War of Attrition

July 12, 2014
war of attrition cover

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

Book Review: A Mad Catastrophe

July 11, 2014
mad catastrophe cover

A gripping account of the final days of the inept, tottering Austro-Hungarian empire – and the military apocalypse it helped to usher in

Classics Reissued: Richard III

July 7, 2014
richard iii cover

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

Book Review: Season to Taste

July 6, 2014
season to taste cover

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

Book Review: On the World and Religious Life

July 5, 2014
i tatti salutati

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.

Book Review: The Visitors

July 5, 2014
the visitors cover

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 …

Book Review: Facts and Inventions

July 4, 2014
facts and inventions

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

Book Review: The Unknown Lloyd George

July 3, 2014
the unknown lloyd george cover

One of the greatest British Prime Ministers of them all gets an authoritative new biography

Book Review: Price of Fame

June 30, 2014
price of fame cover

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

In Paperback: How’s the Pain?

June 29, 2014
how’s the pain cover

A new translation of a bleak and edgy work by one of France’s best-regarded crime novelists

Book Review: A Literary Education and Other Essays

June 29, 2014
literary education cover

A generous new collection of essays by the legendary Joseph Epstein