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Books


  • When Did America Stop Being Great?

    by Nick Bryant

    Nick Bryant began observing America as a 16 year old at the patriotic spectacle of the 1984 Olympics. His book traces the path from "Morning in America" to "American Carnage," fixing some blame but also seeking a way through. 


  • Neal Gabler's "Catching the Wind: Edward Kennedy and the Liberal Hour"

    by James Thornton Harris

    Neal Gabler's first volume of a biography of Ted Kennedy praises the long-serving senator as the driving force of a hugely consequential period of liberal legislative success. Those looking for gossip or consideration of his personal failures may be disappointed.


  • Notre Dame: The Soul of France (Review)

    by Jeff Roquen

    Agnès Poirier's book describes the central place of the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris in the city and in French history both religious and secular, and the angst provoked by its threatened destruction by fire in 2019.


  • How Hudson Stuck's Ascent of Denali Boosted Recognition of Indigenous Alaskans

    by Patrick Dean

    Hudson Stuck came to America from England in 1885 and lived a life that echoed the era's adventure books, with one important twist. He leveraged his fame from summitting North America's highest peak to advocate for the rights of native Alaskans, beginning with insisting that the mountain he climbed be known by its indigenous name, Denali. 


  • Reflections on Fredrik Logevall's "JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956"

    by Sheldon M. Stern

    Fredrik Logevall's new JFK biography is one of the first by a historian who did not personally experience the Kennedy years. Longtime JFK Library historian says this is all to the good, as Logevall makes extensive use of available primary sources to place Kennedy's political and diplomatic views in the context of his formative experiences in wartime. 


  • How Venetians Invented Health Care

    by Meredith F. Small

    It's been widely discussed during this pandemic year that Venetians invented the quarantine. But the author of a new book on Venice's history of innovation argues that it was just one of the public health measures for which we can thank them.


  • Is There Anything Left to Learn about Hitler?

    by James Thornton Harris

    Volker Ullrich presents a picture of a leader whose "egocentrism... inability to self-criticize…tendency to overestimate himself... contempt for others and lack of empathy" made him willing to destroy his nation along with himself, but warns that the Third Reich was "a dictatorship of consent." 


  • How Two French Introverts Quietly Fought the Nazis

    by Jeffrey H. Jackson

    Two introverted French Lesbian artists conducted a campaign of subversion against the Nazis occupying the Island of Jersey that a trial judge called "more dangerous than soldiers." A new book explains how.