book reviews

  • Review of “Jewish Resistance Against the Nazis”

    by Murray Polner

    Patrick Henry’s masterly collection of cerebral and quite readable essays in "Jewish Resistance Against the Nazis," proves that Jews fighting the Nazis and their allies, violently and nonviolently, was fairly common.

  • Review of "Stokely: A Life"

    by Ron Briley

    Peniel E. Joseph's new biography restores the voice of Carmichael to the history of the civil rights movement.

  • Luther Spoehr: Review of William J. Reese's “Testing Wars in the Public Schools: A Forgotten History” (Harvard University Press, 2013.)

    When the examiners for the Boston School Committee visited the city’s public schools at the end of the 1845 school year, they brought along a surprise.  Instead of the standard public questioning, recitation, and exhibitions, students were to take written examinations.  This development, says William Reese, was as revolutionary as it was unexpected.  Linked as it was to other reforms advocated by Horace Mann, Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education, and his allies in Boston, it was instrumental in establishing the template for public schooling across the country that still exists today.

  • Jim Cullen: Review of Christopher Clark's "The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914" (Harper, 2013)

    At one point early on in The Sleepwalkers, University of Cambridge Professor Christopher Clark cites a perception -- certainly one I had growing up -- of the First World War taking place on the far side of a historical divide. "It was easy to imagine the disaster of Europe's 'last summer' as an Edwardian costume drama," he writes, attributing this view to Barbara Tuchman books. "The effete rituals and gaudy uniforms, the 'ornamentalism' of a world still largely organized around hereditary monarchy had a distancing effect on present-day recollection. They seemed to signal that the protagonists were people from another, vanished world."