January 20, 2018

Book Review | The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal by David E. Hoffman

Adolf Tolkachev’s story is one of brilliant courage and heroism. That it ends in tragedy and betrayal only seems to accentuate the stakes that he faced in his struggle to tear down the totalitarian tyranny of the Soviet state. David Hoffman’s telling of Tolkachev’s story in The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold […]

Book Review | Jerusalem: The Biography by Simon Sebag Montefiore

Oh, Jerusalem. There is no other place on Earth quite as tragic, drenched in both blood and history. And it makes for reading that cannot be put down. Here’s the short version of why you should read Simon Sebag Montefiore’s history of Jerusalem: In just under seven hundred pages, Jerusalem: The Biography is a satisfying, narrative-based […]

Book Review | The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932 by William Manchester

There are few political leaders that have captured my imagination like Winston Churchill does. William Manchester not only tells the story of what is perhaps Britain’s greatest prime minister, he does it in fantastic detail. I’ve read complaints that Manchester uses perhaps too much detail, but I could not have enjoyed it more. Manchester paints […]

5 Minute Review | Medieval Machine: The Industrial Revolution of the Middle Ages by Jean Gimpel

The medieval ages were far more like our modern age than we often think. The only thing that came to my mind prior to reading this book was knights and castles. Hardly a dark age as often portrayed, the period was full of industrial innovation, and Jean Gimpel makes an interesting survey of some of […]

Book Review | Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956 by Anne Applebaum

Perhaps what is most fascinating about the strange episode of human history under which the communist oppression of Eastern Europe falls is that it has gone so long without a comprehensive history of how it occurred. Anne Applebaum‘s Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956 appears to step into that gap, providing in-depth research and a […]

Review | The Emperor of all Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

In the author’s note to The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, Siddhartha Mukherjee  notes that “Cancer is not one disease, but many diseases.” It anticipates Mukherjee’s history, a look at cancer starting in the ages and proceeding forward to the modern-day. It’s a 4,000 year history, and Mukherjee tells it well. The tale, […]

For Lincoln’s birthday, a book recommendation: Crisis of the House Divided by Harry Jaffa

Today is Lincoln’s birthday. Might I suggest a book on the man who may have been our greatest president? It might be said of Abraham Lincoln, born on this day in 1809, that if he had not existed, we would have needed to invent him. With very rare exception, no person in American political history […]