This book is a magnificent, honest and heartfelt triumph. Kershaw, a best-selling history writer, presents the stories of an array of common soldiers and their field officers whose individual courage, smarts and determination enabled the vast invasion of Nazi-dominated Europe to secure the footholds allowing the rest of the Allied armies to flood into northern […]Read more "BOOK REVIEW: The First Wave"
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"