Context is all when it comes to Machiavelli, and Benner does a thorough job of providing it, including many of the lesser-known elements of his life story: the difficult missions on behalf of the Florentine government, the project of a citizen militia, his limited success in re-entering public service after the Medici restoration in 1512.
Page by Page: Book Reviews
Stephen Kinzer must be credited for producing an eminently readable account of the debate surrounding U.S. imperialism, which he characterizes—never shy of superlatives—as the “farthest-reaching debate in our history” and “the mother of all debates” on foreign policy.
Leonardo can be a slippery subject. He was a multi-faceted artist/scientist, inventor/visionary difficult to grasp in his protean totality. Walter Isaacson, however, is a reliable and voluble guide. This is a good read.
The Power to Heal tells how federal health officials—with backing from President Lyndon Johnson and other federal officials—mobilized to achieve a startlingly rapid transformation of U.S. hospitals.
The New Odyssey is, in both style and analysis, the work of a tireless and fast-paced reporter rather than that of an academic scholar.
Corrigan’s book is well-conceived and well-executed, written with a polemical chip on its shoulder, to be sure, but with an earnest intelligence that makes it a compelling and at times even absorbing read, revealing a striking self-awareness of the stakes and the drama of the psy-war that prison custodians and their prisoners engage in.
White Trash: the 400-Year Untold History of Class in America is laced from beginning to end with a persistent and urgent consciousness of topical debates about race and politics, and a sensitivity to the ideals, desires, and fears of “lubbers,” “clay-eaters” and “crackers.”
Craig Shirley makes a solid case for the importance of Gingrich in revamping both the Republican Party and American conservatism.
Please Touch is a handsome coffee table book, the kind that invites casual examination but typically poses no real intellectual challenges to its readers. Or so one might initially think.
Hertzman’s book on samba illuminates a common struggle for music scholars and cultural historians: how can musical sounds inform our cultural histories?