The Disposable American
Louis Uchitelle (Knopf)
Layoffs were supposed to help struggling American companies adjust to a changing world. One catch: they’ve permanently damaged job security, sparked ill-advised mergers, and eroded unions, health care, and pensions—while failing to solve the problems they were meant to address in the first place.
America at the Crossroads
Francis Fukuyama (Yale)
Mugged by reality in Iraq, a prominent neocon breaks with his ideological allies, counseling greater respect for supranational institutions. Having shed the “neoconservative” tag, he pithily declares himself a “realistic Wilsonian.”
Peter Schrag (California)
The Golden State is still beset by demographic, cultural, and economic complexity.
Con Coughlin (Ecco)
A British journalist’s in-depth assessment of Tony Blair’s relationship with George W. Bush during the war on terror yields a verdict somewhere near the middle of the lapdog–lone wolf spectrum.
Kevin Phillips (Viking)
The oracle of the emerging Republican majority examines the fruits of his prophecy and further predicts that an overreliance on oil, excessive debt, and the politicization of religion will lead America to certain doom.
Isabel Kershner (Palgrave)
A look at life on both sides of the wall being built between Israel and the West Bank.
A Nation Among Nations
Thomas Bender (Hill Wang)
Taking exception to exceptionalism, the author argues that the American Revolution was but a sideshow in a long-running French-British grudge match, and that the Civil War was just another eruption of mid-nineteenth-century restlessness in the mold of the European revolutions of 1848.
The Divided Ground
Alan Taylor (Knopf)
A narrative account of the settling of the northern border of what would become the United States. The Indians thought they could preserve some of their land by leasing rather than selling it to the newcomers. The colonists disagreed.
Upon the Altar of the Nation
Harry S. Stout (Viking)
A religious historian asks, Was the Civil War justly fought?
Barry Werth (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday)
A painstaking reconstruction of the period between Richard Nixon’s resignation, in August of 1974, and his pardon a month later. Never has the Ford administration seemed so gripping.
The Great Wall
Julia Lovell (Grove/Atlantic)
A history of the literal and figurative walls that China has raised between itself and the outside world over the past three millennia.
Gustave de Beaumont (Harvard)
Nineteenth-century Ireland gets the Tocqueville treatment.
R. J. B. Bosworth (Penguin Press)
A leading Mussolini biographer describes how Italians’ traditional bonds of tribe and family made Fascism slightly less de facto totalitarian than Nazism. Cold comfort, but still.
Scars of War, Wounds of Peace
Shlomo Ben-Ami (Oxford)
A history of the Arab-Israeli conflisct, written by a former Israeli foreign-affairs minister.
Justin Marozzi (Da Capo)
A British journalist retraces the conquering footsteps of Genghis Khan's successor. After seizing Baghdad, Tamerlane's men built a pyramid using the heads of 90,000 of his enemies--the fifteenth-century version of shock and awe.
Natalie Zemon Davis (FSG)
The exhausting tale of al-Hasan al-Wazzan: born in Spain, captured by pirates, and forcibly converted to Christianity, he won fame as Leo Africanus after publishing the first geography of Africa to appear in Europe.
J. A. Leo Lemay (Pennsylvania)
The first two installments of a projected seven-volume biography of one of the portlier Founding Fathers.
Elaine Feinstein (Knopf)
A biography of Anna Akhmatova, who was born under czar, suffered under Stalin, and died under Brezhnev, yet maintained a poetic sensibility throughout.
Thomas Brothers (Norton)
Armstrong moved away from New Orleans as a young man, but not before the city's social and cultural complexities had left an indelible mark
At Canaan’s Edge
Taylor Branch (Simon & Schuster)
The third volume of Branch's magisterial biography of Martin Luther King Jr. stretches from "bloody Sunday" in Selma to King's assassination, in Memphis, three years later.
Peter Richmond (Holt)
A biography of Peggy Lee.
Paul Johnson (HarperCollins)
The second installment of a projected trilogy—the first being the same author’s Intellectuals—probes the hidden mechanism of human creativity, turning to Chaucer, Austen, Bach, and Disney for insight.