Category — Book Review
If you’re a naval history buff or a Patrick O’Brian fan, put this book at the top of your list. Tim McGrath’s biography of John Barry is excellent. McGrath gives a wealth of detail without being tedious.
December 5, 2013 No Comments
Mang’s second book is a delightful break from the dreary news of the day. Sometimes it’s better just to laugh.
December 3, 2013 No Comments
Daughan tells the story of American Navy Captain David Porter in a way that takes the reader from admiration to, if not disdain, disappointment in the foibles of a man obsessed with reputation. Porter’s story is sad in some ways. He had many virtues and talents, but these were ultimately cast in the shadow of overwhelming ego, ambition, and a convoluted sense of entitlement. But for all that, Porter was an American hero who left a legacy that included his adopted son David Farragut, Civil War admiral David Dixon Porter and commodore William D. Porter.
November 11, 2013 No Comments
The book jacket describes the contents as “A World War II story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption.” It is all of that and more. The protagonist is Louis Zamperini who, at the hands of his Japanese captors, survived torture, starvation and sadism that plumb the depths of human evil. It is also the story of the men who endured those horrific conditions with him.
October 30, 2013 1 Comment
“Mr. President”: George Washington and the Making of the Nation’s Highest Office by Harlow Giles Unger
Mr. President is Unger’s best book to date. Unger doesn’t make a single faulty step in his project to show how Washington framed the office of the president. His research shows through in his writing and he supports his contentions with footnotes as well as logic. Unger credits Dr. John P. Kaminsky at the onset, for his help on the project. Kaminsky is a scholar of some considerable renown that this reviewer had the honor of interviewing a few years ago. In any case, this, like each of the last several of Unger’s books has been better than the last.
October 28, 2013 No Comments
Stahr‘s extensively researched biography is also a sweeping history of the years before and after the Civil War. It could not be otherwise. William Henry Seward, helped shape, not only those tumultuous years, but also our own time.
This book belongs in the library of anyone seriously interested in American history in general, and the Civil War period in particular. Walter Stahr is both an astute biographer and a gifted writer. It’s a cliché to say that he makes history come alive, but it is the truth.
October 22, 2013 No Comments
Sons of The Father is a collection of essays written mostly by academic historians. The scholarship of the authors is readily apparent in the quality of the writing. But the essays were not the dry academic prose one might expect from snooty academics. They were uniformly interesting and each culminated in a very useful bibliography tied to the footnotes that the writers used to support their various theses.
October 17, 2013 No Comments
A good book with a disappointing conclusion. It is not possible to know how history might have been different had Lincoln lived and his less punitive plan for the South implemented. Arguably, an alternative conclusion to the author’s is that Radical reconstruction, far from deserving applause, prolonged and intensified the rancor between the races in the South, delayed economic recovery for the region and impeded civil rights for black Americans.
October 8, 2013 No Comments
WWTFT doesn’t review a lot of novels. But, there’s always an exception. J. Mark Bertrand’s debut novel, Back on Murder introduces ex-homicide detective Roland March. March.
September 10, 2013 No Comments
Puleo has done a masterful job of evoking the color, politics and passions of the six years preceding the Civil War. Within the book’s covers are many familiar personages, among them, L.Q.C. Lamar, William Seward, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Roger B Taney. In addition, are others who have faded into the shadows of history. One of those is the South Carolina congressman who delivered The Caning.
September 9, 2013 No Comments