Page by Page: Book Reviews

King Lear

Does a man ever get over his father? Born into a Jewish family in New Haven in the summer of 1922, the second child and only boy, Norman Lear developed toward H.K. a reverence that withstood a great deal before souring, which it never did completely. Like Archie, H.K. was a large personality whose faults were proportional to the rest of him.

Curatives And Correctives

“Let Me Heal” chronicles the history of graduate medical education in the United States, from its origins in 19th-century apprenticeships to its birth at Johns Hopkins to its changing character in the late 20th century and the challenges it faces today. It is the definitive account on the topic. This book has obvious appeal for historians of medicine and physicians interested in their past as well as to the lay public curious about the training of their doctors. It also has pressing relevance for policy makers shaping the future of residency.

Harlem Nights

“Harlem Nocturne” departs from conventional narratives of great artists by insisting that the cultural and political currents of their time encouraged and enriched their creativity. New York City, the people and places that made it a progressive, dynamic site for political and cultural expression during the 1940s made it possible for three young black women artists to imagine themselves as “makers and doers” of the essential social, political and aesthetic work of their time.

Cash And Carry

“Hilburn is heavy on facts, but light on interpretation. He doesn’t explain how a shy family man went off the rails so quickly or why Cash, who showed tremendous public empathy, could be so harmful to himself and others. At moments the text begs for analysis, but Hilburn refuses to answer even the questions he poses.”

Causes At War

“It may be important for historians to shift more attention to eastern Europe and to increase the Russian share of the collective responsibility for the war, but one cannot allow this to outweigh Germany’s primary guilt for converting a Balkan War into a “world war” rather than a regional war. McMeekin still disagrees: “Important as the German violation of Belgium was, it did not cause the First World War.” (The House of Commons would have been fascinated to learn this.)”

To Be Like Mike

“Ultimately, Lazenby is content to define Jordan by his pathological competitiveness, as reified publicly in his 2009 Hall of Fame induction speech. In it, “Jordan chose to unburden himself and reveal his competitive heart, to address all of the things, real or imagined, that had driven him.” The result was a speech that seemed so bitter as to be “surprising, and even disappointing” to those who knew Jordan, and “shocking” to the public. For Lazenby, it merely affirms that “the things that had spurred Jordan on in his life were hugely negative,” that this man who brought billions of people joy was in fact defined by anger and hurt feelings.”

Doctored By Details

“Pasternak remarked in late 1957, ‘Everybody’s writing about it, but who in fact has read it?’ This seems the crucial question never pursued. What would have happened if more people in power had actually read ‘Doctor Zhivago’? Could much, if not all, of the persecution of Pasternak have been avoided? The question of whether or not the book, when read, stands up as a piece of anti-Soviet propaganda comes up a few times in the text, but never as anything more than a superficial thought.”

Do The Right Thing

“Most blacks, without question, would rather be successful capitalists, however “exploitative” of land and labor, than wards in an egalitarian socialist state because, in the end, even members of a persecuted group, the dream is to have power, not justice. Or put another way, the acquisition of power becomes its own form of justice. The problem with Riley’s book is not its conservative message, but that the message is not sufficiently framed to appeal to black folk’s sense of racial destiny and pride. In short, it is insufficiently chauvinistic, less chauvinistic than the title promises.”

Building For Race

Hayward recommends shifting political authority away from local communities where powerful private interests exert control over zoning decisions to regional or metropolitan levels of governance, which could facilitate coalition-building and more inclusive urban planning initiatives.


“Rosengren constantly nudges readers to realize both men do not exist in a vaccum—void of any connection to other people, traditions, or social factors. Thus, chapter five is titled “Summer of Fury” to make the reader privy to the Watts Riots that erupted a few weeks earlier and to serve as a reminder that the 1960s was an intense, unique decade in American history, fraught with declarations of redefinition that created social turbulence that forged dramatic social reforms in the United States. This is a story of heroism, cowardice, miscommunication, racism, the 1960s, and reconciliation. It is about much more than a fight.”