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Articles in OL Weekly

Book Review: The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins

February 12th, 2015
cultural lives of whales and dolphins cover

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 11th, 2015
sartre cover

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

Book Review: Table Talk

February 11th, 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 10th, 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 9th, 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 8th, 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 8th, 2015
the great china zoo cover

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 7th, 2015
gods guns cover

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 6th, 2015
thieves road cover

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 5th, 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 4th, 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 3rd, 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 2nd, 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 1st, 2015
superpower transformed cover

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 31st, 2015
extraordinary journe cover

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

Book Review: One Nation, Under Gods

January 30th, 2015
one nation cover

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 29th, 2015
age of consequences cover

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 29th, 2015

Colleen McCullough

Book Review: Half-Life

January 28th, 2015
half-life cover

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 27th, 2015
like a bomb going off cover

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 26th, 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 24th, 2015
ocean worlds

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 23rd, 2015
american passage cover

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 22nd, 2015
whtie plague cover

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 21st, 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 20th, 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 19th, 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 18th, 2015
the middle ages cover

A nimble and tremendously engaging history of the Middle Ages finally gets translated into English

Book Review: Frog

January 17th, 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 16th, 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 15th, 2015
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An accessible new scholarly history looks at the millennium during which Christianity ruled the West

Book Review: Outline

January 14th, 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 13th, 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 12th, 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 12th, 2015
pleasure and calling cover

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 11th, 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 10th, 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 9th, 2015
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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 8th, 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 7th, 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 6th, 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 5th, 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 4th, 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 3rd, 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 2nd, 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 1st, 2015
action comics 3

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

Book Review: The Revenant

January 1st, 2015
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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 28th, 2014
dublin us cover

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

Book Review: American Apocalypse

December 26th, 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 23rd, 2014
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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 18th, 2014
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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 15th, 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 13th, 2014
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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 11th, 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 5th, 2014
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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 1st, 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 26th, 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 24th, 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 24th, 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 24th, 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 23rd, 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 23rd, 2014
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What an unruly, monstrous house cat hath joined together, let no man put asunder!

Book Review: To Save a Viscount

November 23rd, 2014
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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 20th, 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 17th, 2014
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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 16th, 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 15th, 2014
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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 13th, 2014
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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 12th, 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 11th, 2014
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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 10th, 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 8th, 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 6th, 2014
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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 3rd, 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 2nd, 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 1st, 2014
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A punchy and intensely readable new biography of America’s greatest playwright

Book Review: Rebellion

October 31st, 2014
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Veteran popularizer Peter Ackroyd gives his readers a rattling good yarn of kings, decapitations, interregnums, frivolities, and depositions

Book Review: The Marquis

October 28th, 2014
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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 26th, 2014
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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 23rd, 2014
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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 21st, 2014
ben bradlee

Rest in Peace

Book Review: Isabella, the Warrior Queen

October 21st, 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 21st, 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 19th, 2014
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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 19th, 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 18th, 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 18th, 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 16th, 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 13th, 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 13th, 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 13th, 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 11th, 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 11th, 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 11th, 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 10th, 2014
carolyn kizer

Rest in Peace

Book Review: The Wars of the Roses

October 10th, 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 10th, 2014

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

Book Review: Forging Capitalism

October 10th, 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 8th, 2014
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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 7th, 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 3rd, 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 2nd, 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 1st, 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 1st, 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 1st, 2014
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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 28th, 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 28th, 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 28th, 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 28th, 2014
martin stiff 1

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

Christopher Hogwood

September 24th, 2014
christopher hogwood

Rest in Peace

The Duchess of Devonshire

September 24th, 2014

Rest in Peace

Book Review: The Golden Princess

September 23rd, 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 21st, 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 21st, 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 21st, 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 21st, 2014
italian venice use

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

Book Review: The Lagoon

September 21st, 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 21st, 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 21st, 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 21st, 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 19th, 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 18th, 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 15th, 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 13th, 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 10th, 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 10th, 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 10th, 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 10th, 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 9th, 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 8th, 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 8th, 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 8th, 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 7th, 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 7th, 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 6th, 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 4th, 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 3rd, 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 3rd, 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 2nd, 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 1st, 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 30th, 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 28th, 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 25th, 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 24th, 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 22nd, 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 20th, 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 19th, 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 17th, 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 15th, 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 14th, 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 12th, 2014

Rest in Peace

Book Review: In the Kingdom of Ice

August 10th, 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 7th, 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 2nd, 2014
the dog cover

A fascinating debut collection of short stories set in modern China

Book Review: Robert the Bruce

August 1st, 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 29th, 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 27th, 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 27th, 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 27th, 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 27th, 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 27th, 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 25th, 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 22nd, 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 22nd, 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 21st, 2014
Thomas Berger

Thomas Berger

Book Review: You’re Not Much Use To Anyone

July 21st, 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 20th, 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 20th, 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 20th, 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 20th, 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 20th, 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 19th, 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 19th, 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 17th, 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 17th, 2014
elaine stritch

Rest in Peace

Book Review: California

July 14th, 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 14th, 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 13th, 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 12th, 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 11th, 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 7th, 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 6th, 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 5th, 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 5th, 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 4th, 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 3rd, 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 30th, 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 29th, 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 29th, 2014
literary education cover

A generous new collection of essays by the legendary Joseph Epstein

Book Review: Queen Anne – Patroness of Arts

June 27th, 2014
queen anne patroness cover

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

Book Review: The Land of the Elephant Kings

June 26th, 2014
land kings cover

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

Movie Review: Jersey Boys

June 25th, 2014
jersey boys still2

Director Clint Eastwood brings the beloved Broadway musical to the big screen

Comics: The Legacy of Thanos

June 25th, 2014
avengers cover

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

Book Review: Down the Shore

June 24th, 2014
stan parish

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

Book Review: The Nile

June 23rd, 2014
the nile cover

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

Book Review: Independence

June 21st, 2014
independence cover

The complicated history of the American Revolution gets its best examination in a generation in Thomas Slaughter’s new book

Book Review: Stephen Crane – A Life of Fire

June 20th, 2014
stephen crane cover

The young author of “The Red Badge of Courage” is the subject of a lively and very readable new biography

Book Review: The Explorers

June 19th, 2014
the explorers cover

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

Book Review: The Battle of Lepanto

June 18th, 2014
the battle of lepanto

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

Book Review: No Country

June 17th, 2014
no country cover

Two friends flee famine-parched Ireland for opposite ends of the world in this big new historical novel

Book Review: The Owl Who Liked Sitting on Caesar

June 16th, 2014

A man adopts a smart, fussy owl – and the relationship completely changes his life

Book Review: The Novel – A Biography

June 14th, 2014
the novel cover

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

Book Review: The Bombers and the Bombed

June 13th, 2014
bombers and the bombed cover

Even in its truncated US edition, Richard Overy’s great new history of aerial bombing during WWII has much to offer its readers

Book Review: The Literary Churchill

June 10th, 2014
the literary churchill cover

The man we think of as the quintessential politician was first and foremost a working author, as an amazing new assessment makes clear

Book Review: My Lady Viper

June 9th, 2014
my lady viper cover

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

Book Review: The Poisoner

June 7th, 2014
the poisoner cover

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

Book Review: Pagan Britain

June 4th, 2014
pagan britain cover

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

Book Review: Tarzan and the City of Gold

June 1st, 2014
hogarth tarzan 1

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

Book Review: A World Without Jews

May 29th, 2014
a world without jews cover

A stunning portrait of a people driven by fear and then consumed by hate

Book Review: Why the Germans? Why the Jews?

May 29th, 2014
why the germans why the jews cover

A modern classic – now in an English-language translation – examines the roots of prewar German anti-Semitism

Book Review: A Replacement Life

May 27th, 2014
a replacement life cover

Remembering stories about the Holocaust shades into inventing stories about the Holocaust in Boris Fishman’s fantastic debut

Book Review: The Possibilities

May 27th, 2014
nat wolff

A mother in Colorado, grieving for her young son, confronts the fact that he might have been leading a life she never imagined

Book Review: Invisible Ellen

May 27th, 2014
shari shattuck 2

A reclusive young woman meets a high-spirited blind girl whose enthusiasm for life opens a new world

In Paperback: Dark Omens

May 26th, 2014
dark omens cover

Dauntless mosaic-layer Libertus returns for another side-job of crime-solving in Rosemary Rowe’s latest gripping murder mystery set in Roman Britain

The Battle for Justice in Palestine

May 23rd, 2014
Layout 1

A controversial author’s latest and most devastating indictment of Israel’s policies toward its Palestinian citizens and neighbors

Book Review: Bumble Bees of North America

May 21st, 2014
bobmus vosnesenski

A lavishly-illustrated guide book to the bumble bees of North America, in all their busy glory

Book Review: The Steady Running of the Hour

May 21st, 2014
the steady running of the hour cover

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

Book Review: The Marathon Conspiracy

May 19th, 2014
the marathon conspiracy cover

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

Book Review: Arctic Summer

May 17th, 2014
arctic summer cover

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”

Book Review: Young God

May 17th, 2014
young god cover

In this spare and violent debut, a 13-year-old girl from Appalachia enters a lawless life

Book Review: The Norman Conquest

May 13th, 2014
the norman conquest cover

That same old grand story – William of Normandy’s daring capture of England in 1066 – gets a spiffy new history

Book Review: Philology

May 11th, 2014
philology cover

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

The 68th Annual Edgar Awards

May 5th, 2014

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).

Book Review: Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well

May 5th, 2014
Book Review: Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well

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

Book Review: Athens

May 4th, 2014
athens cover

A slim and jam-packed new history of the city of Athens

Book Review: The Homing Instinct

May 3rd, 2014
the homing instinct  cover

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.

Book Review: The Chance

May 2nd, 2014
the chance cover

The scenic seacoast town of Thunder Point plays host to more than its fair share of romantic drama in Robyn Carr’s popular series

Book Review: Midnight Pursuits

May 2nd, 2014

An elite mercenary and an elite thief cross paths – with wonderfully predictable results – in Elle Kennedy’s latest “Killer Instincts” novel

Book Review: Risky Game

May 2nd, 2014
risky game

A muscular NFL demigod is stalked by a spunky blogger in Tracy Solheim’s latest “Out of Bounds” novel

Book Review: Hope Ignites

May 2nd, 2014
hope ignites

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

Book Review: Willing Sacrifice

May 2nd, 2014
willing sacrifice cover

A battle-hardened warrior must fight for the very memory of the woman he loves in Shannon Butcher’s latest ‘Sentinel Wars’ novel

Book Review: The Sweetheart Rules

May 2nd, 2014

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”

Book Review: The Transformation of the World

May 1st, 2014
the transformation of the world cover

A sprawling new history of the world during the ‘long’ 19th century

Book Review: From Pompeii

April 30th, 2014
from pompeii cover

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

Book Review: The Fights on the Little Horn

April 30th, 2014
fights on the little horn cover

The darkly iconic Last Stand of George Armstrong Custer receives an exuberantly detailed new account

Book Review: Destroying Angel

April 28th, 2014
destroyer angel cover

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

Book Review: Hummingbirds

April 23rd, 2014
male thorntail

The world’s smallest and busiest birds are the subject of a pretty new book

Book Review: The Sea House

April 20th, 2014
the sea house cover

In Elisabeth Gifford’s impressive debut, two couples, separated by a century, each confront Scotland’s legends of the seal-folk.

Book Review: Strange Glory

April 20th, 2014
strange glory cover

The famous clerical martyr to the Nazi regime is the subject of a powerful new biography

Book Review: The Price of Silence

April 20th, 2014
the price of silence cover

The notorious Duke Lacrosse rape case – and its tawdry aftermath – is the subject of a veteran journalist’s big new book

Book Review: A Great & Wretched City

April 20th, 2014
a great and wretched city cover

A fascinating new book looks at the long political and historical writings of the author of “The Prince”

Book Review: The Intellectual Life of Edmund Burke

April 16th, 2014
the intellectual life of edmund burke cover

A splendidly brainy new intellectual biography gives us the mind-life of the great orator, writer, and parliamentarian Edmund Burke

Book Review: The Annotated Northanger Abbey

April 15th, 2014
annotated northanger abbey cover

Jane Austen’s posthumous send-up of Gothic novels (and their breathless readers) gets a lavish annotated edition

Book Review: The Medici Boy

April 14th, 2014
Book Review: The Medici Boy

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

Book Review: Prayers for the Stolen

April 12th, 2014
prayers for the stolen cover

The plight of young girls in slavery-blighted Mexico is the crux of a harrowing novel

Book Review: The Galapagos

April 11th, 2014
the galapagos cover

The beautiful Galapagos islands – home to finches, tortoises, and active magma – are the subject of a delightful new study

Book Review: Jack the Ripper – The Forgotten Victims

April 10th, 2014
jack the ripper cover

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

Book Review: The Double-Crested Cormorant

April 9th, 2014
the double-breasted cormorant cover

That sleek and elegant diving-bird, the double-crested cormorant, faces deep-seated prejudices – and disastrous legal measures – in North America, its ancestral home

Book Review: Lord Dismiss Us

April 9th, 2014
lord dismiss us cover

A fantastic British boarding-school novel from another age gets a pretty reprint

Book Review: Louisa Catherine – The Other Mrs. Adams

April 5th, 2014
louisa catherine cover

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

Book Review: Wilfred Owen

April 5th, 2014
wilfred owen cover

Robert Graves lived to be 90.

Book Review: Roosevelt’s Beast

April 4th, 2014
roosevelt’s beast cover

Deep in the Brazilian wilderness, Theodore Roosevelt and his son encounter a mysterious beast who kills without leaving any tracks

Book Review: The Red Lily Crown

April 2nd, 2014
the red lily crown

A bookseller’s daughter, a mad alchemist Medici prince, and a heroic Cornishman move the plot of Elizabeth Loupas’s hugely enjoyable new historical novel

Book Review: Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter

April 1st, 2014
queen elizabeth’s daughter

Idealistic young Mary Shelton finds love at the Tudor Court – but it’s not the love her Queen has chosen for her

Book Review: The Cemetery of Swallows

March 31st, 2014
the cemetery of swallows cover

A morose misanthrope police superintendent investigates a killing in which the murderer traveled half-way around the world in order to murder a total stranger

Book Review: The Time Traveler’s Almanac

March 28th, 2014
time traveler’s almanac

A key element of science fiction DNA is the whole concept of time travel, and a gigantic new anthology assembles all the greatest time travel stories ever told

Book Review: Queen Caroline

March 26th, 2014
queen caroline cover

The wife of England’s King George II has been largely forgotten by history, but she was complimented by Swift, Pope, and Voltaire in her own day – and a new book brings her marvelously to life

Book Review: The Sixth Extinction

March 25th, 2014
the sixth extinction

Will the latest age of man – dubbed the Anthropocene – be the last? A new book looks at the tremendous toll the human race has taken on its home planet

Book Review: The Lady of Sorrows

March 24th, 2014
the lady of sorrows cover

On a laid-back little Greek island, a sacred icon is forged, a local painter is dead … and a fat man is on the case

Book Review: Hyde

March 23rd, 2014
hyde cover

A hugely enjoyable new novel tells the familiar story of Dr. Jekyll from Mr. Hyde’s point of view – and will have its readers questioning who the real monster really is

Book Review: The Pilgrims

March 22nd, 2014
the pilgrims cover

When two London friends find a doorway leading to a magical realm, they think they’re in luck – but Will Elliott’s raucous new novel has some nasty surprises in store for them

Book Review: Lockstep

March 20th, 2014
lockstep cover

When a tech-savvy young man wakes up fourteen thousand years after entering suspended animation, he finds the galaxy radically altered – and his brother firmly in charge

Book Review: The Barrow

March 19th, 2014
the barrow cover

Ancient magic talismans are almost always more trouble than they’re worth, but that doesn’t deter the rag-tag group of anti-heroes in Mark Smylie’s energetically readable debut novel

Book Review: A King’s Ransom

March 18th, 2014
king’s ransom cover

The larger-than-life story of captivity and struggles of King Richard the Lionheart

Book Review: The Day of the Dead

March 17th, 2014
day of the dead cover

A dead street-boy haunts the latest adventure of Commissario Ricciardi in this series set in 1930s Naples

Book Review: The Land of Steady Habits

March 16th, 2014
Book Review: The Land of Steady Habits

An affluent suburban family breaks apart and re-forms in this remarkably assured debut novel

Book Review: The Headmaster’s Wife

March 16th, 2014
the headmaster’s wife cover

The confession of a man found wandering naked in Central Park grows more and more problematic as it unfolds

Book Review: Cambridge

March 16th, 2014
cambridge cover

A precocious young girl and her family travel far and wide from her beloved home of Cambridge, Massachusetts

Book Review: Words of Radiance

March 11th, 2014
words of radiance cover

Brandon Sanderson’s epic fantasy series set on a storm-raked world continues

Book Review: Road to Reckoning

March 11th, 2014
road to reckoning cover

A twelve-year-old boy gains the assistance of a weathered ex-ranger in this tale of a rapidly-vanishing Old West

Book Review: Murder at Cape Three Points

March 10th, 2014
murder at cape three points

A dogged police inspector investigates two gruesome murders at the heart of Ghana’s booming new oil economy

Policy Papers: Ukraine and the Left

March 8th, 2014

Russia and the West, talking past each other, have blundered into conflict over Ukraine. Some commentators on the American left aren’t behaving much differently.

Book Review: From the Tree to the Labyrinth

March 7th, 2014
from the tree to the labyrinth

If the idea of a big collection of writings about socio-linguistics by the author of “The Name of the Rose” strikes you as a winning way to spend a weekend, Harvard University Press has some good news for you.

Book Review: A Darkling Sea

March 6th, 2014
a darkling sea cover

A murder at the bottom of an alien ocean looks likely to spark an interstellar war

Book Review: An Explorer’s Notebook

March 5th, 2014
an explorer’s notebook

An exuberant collection of essays and reviews by trailblazing natural historian Tim Flannery

Book Review: A Burnable Book

March 4th, 2014
a burnable book cover

14th century court poet John Gower is brought in by his friend Geoffrey Chaucer to solve the mystery of a book whose very existence threatens the realm

Book Review: Why Kings Confess

March 3rd, 2014
why kings confess cover

A seemingly random murder leads our hero Sebastian St. Cyr into the dark and dangerous world of international espionage in C. S. Harris’s latest novel

Book Review: The Medicean Succession

March 2nd, 2014
the medicean succession cover

In 1537, teenager Cosimo dei Medici became the first citizen of Florence, and in the following decades, he set about fashioning a ‘sacral’ rulership for himself – a complicated process at the heart of this fascinating new study

Book Review: The Queen’s Dwarf

February 27th, 2014
The Queen’s Dwarf

A quick-witted and bilingual dwarf is planted in the household of England’s foreign queen in order to spy on her – but he comes to esteem her, outcast to outcast

Book Review: Girl on the Golden Coin

February 26th, 2014
girl on the golden coin

An exceptional beauty entices King Charles II and ascends to the heights of the Merry Monarch’s court

Book Review: The Waking Engine

February 25th, 2014
the waking engine cover

In an amazing science fiction debut, a New Yorker awakens in a strange new world

Book Review: The Counterfeit Agent

February 24th, 2014
alex berenson

CIA super-agent John Wells needs to get back in the field and feel the old adrenaline pumping again – but will his latest adventure (featuring a dastardly nuclear plot and a shadowy female operative with a Biblical code-name) be more than he bargained for?

Book Review: Faisal I of Iraq

February 23rd, 2014
faisal i of iraq

A key figure in the founding of the modern Middle East finally gets his definitive English-language biography

Book Review: The Dream of the Great American Novel

February 22nd, 2014
the dream of the great american novel cover

The Scarlet Letter? Moby-Dick? Gone with the Wind? Gravity’s Rainbow? Just what IS the “Great American Novel” anyway?

Book Review: The Depths

February 21st, 2014
the depths cover

Jonathan Rottenberg’s new book contends that the modern world’s epidemic of depression is made all the worse by society’s tendency to stigmatize the victims themselves

Book Review: Dancing Fish and Ammonites

February 19th, 2014
dancing fish and ammonites cover

Long-time novelist Penelope Lively turns 80 – and turns to memoir-writing

Second Glance: The Wit and Woe of Mavis Gallant

February 18th, 2014

We mourn the death of the great Canadian short story writer Mavis Gallant and are re-running Karen Vanuska’s moving appreciation from 2009 in tribute.

Book Review: Raiders of the Nile

February 17th, 2014
raiders of the nile cover

In Alexandria as a young man, Gordianus the Finder gets caught up in an elaborate scheme to steal the corpse of Alexander the Great!

Book Review: The Martian

February 16th, 2014

An unassuming botanist gets separated from his exploration team and finds himself stranded alone on Mars – and his survival rests entirely in his own hands.

Book Review: Hundred Days

February 15th, 2014
the hundred days cover

The vivid story of the months when the long, slogging stalemate of the First World War exploded into violence

In Paperback: On Reading “The Grapes of Wrath”

February 15th, 2014
on reading grapes cover

John Steinbeck’s bestselling and universally-lauded novel gets a passionate and persuasive reading by a renowned Steinbeck scholar

Book Review: Must Love Dukes

February 14th, 2014
must love dukes cover

The lovers in Elizabeth Michels’ new novel get off to a rapturous, then a rocky start – and when next they meet, a year later, the real games begin

Book Review: Much Ado About Jack

February 14th, 2014
papp Paul!

A strong-willed countess and a dynamic sailor become Shakespearean-style star-crossed lovers in Christy English’s latest novel

Book Review: Romancing the Duke

February 14th, 2014
romancing the duke inset

The daughter of a famous novelist has her own life take on a decidedly fairy-tale twist in Tessa Dare’s new novel

Classics Reissued: The Homesman

February 12th, 2014
homesman cover

A strong woman and a weak man must make a perilous journey from the Western frontier to the East Coast in Glendon Swarthout’s newly-reissued classic novel

Book Review: Like a Mighty Army

February 11th, 2014
like a mighty army cover

Armies clash and the technological stakes are raised in the latest installment in David Weber’s rip-roaring “Safehold” series

Book Review: The Deliverance of Evil

February 10th, 2014
the deliverance of evil cover

A young woman is murdered on the eve of Italy’s tumultuous win in the 1982 World Cup – and then 24 years later, on the eve of another World Cup victory, more bodies start turning up, and it’s up to one haunted, damaged cop to piece the mystery together (hint: it’s not hooligans)

Book Review: My Name is Resolute

February 8th, 2014
my name is resolute

The life of one remarkable woman – told against the backdrop of American colonies boiling toward revolution – forms the narrative of Nancy Turner’s sumptuously old-fashioned new historical novel

Book Review: James & Dolley Madison

February 8th, 2014
JamesandDolley cover

A new dual-biography of James Madison and his wife Dolley sees them through some of fledgling America’s most trying times

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – The Westminster Legacy

February 7th, 2014

An extraordinary 40 CD box-set compiles the uncollected glories of the great classical label Westminster Records