Grant by Ron Chernow (Historical Biography, 2017). Chernow, an award-winning biographer, tackles another key figure in American history in this, his latest book. He produces a richly detailed and forthright account of the man known to us as US Grant. With obvious sympathy and appreciation of his subject’s often underrated abilities, Chernow nonetheless doesn’t shy away […]Read more "REVIEWED: Grant"
Endurance by Scott Kelly (and Margaret Lazarus Dean) (Memoir, 2017). In this book, veteran astronaut Scott Kelly tells his life story, with particular focus on his final space mission—-in which he and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko spent a record 340 days on the International Space Station. This was designed as a test of how such an […]Read more "REVIEWED: Endurance"
The Mysterious Private Thompson by Laura Leedy Gansler (Civil War History, 2017). This true story is a carefully researched and capably written book from the author of an earlier book acclaimed by the LA Times as a Best book of 2002. It’s the latest (and the most even-handed) effort to tell the life of Sarah Emma Edmonds, the […]Read more "REVIEWED: The Mysterious Private Thompson"
The Great Rescue by Peter Hernon (War History, 2017). This book ably tells of an important but today little-known facet of America’s involvement in the First World War. When the massive struggle broke out, a number of civilian German ships found themselves stranded in ports around the then-neutral United States. This included the nearly-new luxury ocean […]Read more "REVIEWED: The Great Rescue"
Thunder at the Gates by Douglas R. Egerton (Civil War History, 2016). This is a very well-written, compelling and thorough account of the three pioneering regiments of African-American soldiers raised in Massachusetts during the Civil War (though the men came from all over the country and even several foreign lands). The 54th Massachusetts Infantry was the […]Read more "REVIEWED:Thunder at the Gates"
The Swamp Fox by John Oller (Historical Biography, 2016). This is a refreshingly honest and well-written account of a genuine American hero. It’s probably a (moderate) exaggeration to claim that Francis Marion “saved the American Revolution.” But the fact that he was a important and outstanding figure in the War of Independence is beyond debate. A smart, […]Read more "REVIEWED: The Swamp Fox"
North Men by John Haywood. (History, 2016). I don’t want to be snotty about it, but honesty demands that I say this straight out: In this book, John Haywood has managed the dubious and improbable feat of turning the story of the sprawling and dramatic, violent and complex heyday of the bold raiders we commonly call […]Read more "REVIEWED: The Northmen"