Page by Page: Book Reviews

The Unbelievers

From the plethora of images that grace its pages to the careful and precise analysis of the lives of the men and women in the text, Village Atheists is the necessary counterweight to an intellectual world that frantically publishes on secularism today.

Winning One for the Gipper

The story of the rise of Reagan is the story of the successful rise of movement conservatism through rebranding the Republican Party. As Shirley writes astutely, if somewhat glowingly, in Reagan Rising: “In fact, the party was broadening the base by narrowing the appeal. Instead of trying to be all things to all people, the GOP, with Reagan’s gutsy leadership, was becoming one thing to all people.”

Hidden Servitude

By the mid-19th century, most Americans on the East Cost had forgotten their ancestors’ participation in enslaving Natives and were surprised to find it still in operation in the West. Andrés Reséndez powerfully argues what the field has been slowly coming to realize over the past decade: Native American slavery in the Americas was more central, pervasive, and numerically significant than we have previously realized.

Civil War Success

Engineering Victory is as much about wartime logistics—the movement, supply, and support of forces—as it is actual engineering. While Army’s book may not provide much that is new, its synthesizing under one cover the leading influences impacting the war’s logistical challenges and accomplishments is a valuable contribution to Civil War literature.

Racism Runs Dry

The New Deal gave Americans a weak welfare state. Prohibition, Lisa McGirr argues, produced a strong and enduring police state.

The Jesus of Islam

Mustafa Akyol’s book is not intended primarily to be a work of religious history. Rather, it is an exercise in comparative theology and interreligious apologetics, in which history has a subsidiary role.

Courting Discrimination

Through ten legal cases, Because of Sex illuminates not only the significance of the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s Title VII in the progress and setbacks of women in the workplace, but also how individuals subsequently shaped and defined the struggle for equality in the workplace over time.

Pandemics’ Pathways

For readers curious about the various ways contagious disease take root and spread, Sonia Shah’s Pandemic provides a persuasive set of explanations. It is an excellent introduction for academics teaching contagion globally, and for experts and administrators seeking to effect lasting public health impact on the ground.

The Culture of Autism

Books of this scope have been written on other medical topics, but this type of book is a first for autism, reading more like a compelling documentary script rather than a history book.

Fueling the American Decline

In the story of the 1970s’ energy criris, historians have so far acknowledged the twin oil shocks of 1973 and 1979 as important events during the decade, but have not made them central to their analysis. Now Meg Jacobs argues that the politics of energy was in fact critical, as “the failure of the nation’s politicians to address the energy crisis contributed to the erosion of faith that Americans had in their government to solve their problems.”