Book Review: Imagine There’s No Heaven by Mitchell Stephens

Everyone knows curiosity killed the proverbial cat. Yet it likely also is responsible for the death of God, at least in many people. Although that death may not have been premeditated, it is the result of a natural human tendency to seek explanations. Moreover, Mitchell Stephens suggests, were it not for atheist thought, Western civilization [...]

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Book Review: Eastern Europe! by Tomek Jankowski

History, even American history, doesn’t seem to be one of our strong suits. One recent assessment showed that 20 percent of fourth graders, 17 percent of eighth graders and only 12 percent of high school seniors demonstrated proficiency in U.S. history. And that’s history that actually matters to us. As anything outside that is likely [...]

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March missteps — and milestones

I am a bit disappointed in myself with this month’s misstep. Enough so that I feel some need to make amends. Therefore, rather than simply identify the books that fail me in a month, I will add those that surprise me or are better than anticipated.

Why am I disappointed about the one book I [...]

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What I’m Reading: Russia

Yes, Russia is a broad topic but it’s true. Entirely by coincidence both books I’m reading right now deal solely with Russian history.

A couple months ago I saw Martin Sixsmith’s Russia: A 1000-Year Chronicle of the Wild East on the shelves at the local B&N. Although I remain doubtful anyone can really tell a [...]

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Microreview: Red Plenty by Francis Spufford

Francis Spufford’s Red Plenty may be the most fascinating book I’ve read in a long, long time. It’s the rare book where you think about the subject and have a hard time believing you are so involved with it.

On the surface, Red Plenty is, for lack of a better term, a literary history of [...]

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Recommending a “worst” book?

Several years ago I blogged about how I thought some of Amazon’s music recommendations for me were a bit wacky. Now its got me wondering about the general emails it sends out recommending books in various subjects.

Yesterday I received an Amazon email suggesting some history books I “might be interested in.” Listed twice — [...]

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