Blogroll

Book Review: Death of an Assassin by Ann Marie Ackerman

For the second time in a year, I’ve had book encounters with 19th century European assassins who eventually fled to the United States and began new lives under different names. The first was Sergei Degaev, who assassinated the chief of Tsar Nicholas’s security organization in 1883. Sixteen years later he would become a popular professor […]

Book Review: The Irrationalist by Andrew Pessin

Historical fiction is unique in several ways. In particular, while all fiction — at least good fiction — requires imagination and intelligence, historical fiction, according to bestselling author Alexander Chee, deals with “the plausibly hypothetical” and describes “what might have happened within what happened.” The constraints of real events, people and ways of life often […]

Book Review: The Trial of Prisoner 043 by Terry Jastrow

A popular bit of humor about Trump’s presidency is that George W. Bush is thrilled he’ll no longer be the worst president in U.S. history. Bush, in fact, was ranked the worst of our presidents by 61 percent of historians responding to a 2008 informal poll, in significant part because of the 2003 invasion of […]

Book Review: Samaritans by Jonathan Lynn

Political satire has changed over the last 10 to 20 years thanks to programs like The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. Shows such as these go beyond amusing entertainment. They’ve become sources of news and information, vehicles that actually increase political knowledge. Jonathan […]

Book Review: Crowns in Conflict by Theo Aronson

While reading Theo Aronson’s Crowns in Conflict: The Triumph and Tragedy of European Monarchy 1910-1918, an essentially biographic approach to World War I’s effect on Europe’s monarchies, I often thought of another book I read years ago. The Fall of Eagles, C.L.Suzberger’s account of the fall of the Habsburg, Hohenzollern, and Romanov dynasties, was on […]

Book Review: Red Fire by Wei Yang Chao

While the American Revolution is central to the Fourth of July, America also seemed to encounter a revolutionary temperament in 1968. We weren’t alone; revolution also seemed to be in the air in Europe. Even the counterculture symbol The Beatles would record their first politically explicit song, “Revolution.” Yet you’ve got to wonder how much […]