Page by Page: Book Reviews

Tsiang of China

Hsu’s thoughtful and beautifully written account of H.T. Tsiang’s efforts to add to the China experts’ conversation about his native land is a brilliant study of “what ifs?”

Town Without Pity

In Putin Country shows that—in the midst of change, instability, and loss of international standing—the average Russian is still looking for someone to restore Russia to its former greatness.

The Misery of Terrorism

The strength of The Terror Years is its candid portrayal of societal and personal shortcomings and strivings from areas as diverse as the meeting rooms of Washington, D.C., the heat of southern Arabia, and the hinterlands of Afghanistan.

Tales of Russia’s Politics of Darkness

Charles Clover catalogs each of Putin’s references to Eurasianism and, in so doing, draws a picture of Putin’s policies that pose an existential threat to Russian democracy, the Ukraine and other former Soviet republics, to Crimea, to European unity, NATO, and liberal and democratic institutions everywhere.

The Mystic’s Fight Against Injustice

Marmur elucidates Heschel’s theological and social contributions through a systematic study of his use of quotes, footnotes, and citations. The result, a coherent, succinct, and systematic portrayal of Heschel’s work, is an important and impressive contribution to the critical study of one of the 20th century’s leading theologians.

Greek Hebrew, Roman Hebrew

Visotzky offers us a gift in his animated and multi-dimensional study of the interface of Jewish and Greco-Roman cultures. He highlights how Jews creatively engaged with another civilization, creating a Jewish culture that was, and is, fluid, innovative, and diverse.

Remembering Diem and the Tragedy of South Vietnam

Readers who share a “revisionist” desire to understand the American intervention in Vietnam as a “lost victory” (as the CIA’s William Colby described it) will find a lot to like in Shaw’s book. But those looking for a more historical and contextual reading of Ngo Dinh Diem and the South Vietnam state he led may have to wait a while longer.

A Great Poet Writes About the Making of Poetry

Glück’s essays in American Originality contain many occasional pieces, such as the introductions to collections she picked for first book prizes, but the strongest pieces move outward and inward at the same time, drawing on autobiographical material to better identify and evaluate the characteristics of our milieu.

Don’t Fence Me In

The Working Class Republican is thesis-ridden, repetitive, and does what any “Gospel According to … ” book does: it gives all the best lines to the Messiah-figure, in this case, Reagan.