Page by Page: Book Reviews

How Much Does Putin Matter?

Angela Stent’s book is a good and solid general review for those of us who have been monitoring Soviet and Russian affairs over the years, perhaps somewhat inconsistently and sporadically.

The Literary Works of the Rasta Man

As artistic profile, Dread Poetry and Freedom is successful. In fact, it also succeeds in constructing a worthwhile rubric through which political art can be viewed. Though this may be accidental, it also unveils a broader problem, albeit one well beyond the scope of the book. That is, if poetry can play a role in “informing our understanding of political possibilities,” can it play a role in widening those possibilities?

“Dump the Rest of Those Chumps, and Vote for Donald Trump”¹

Black women, as a group, are not known for their conservatism. They are, in fact, more likely to vote Democratic and along progressive lines than Black men. So, Uprising and Blackout are worth thinking about in this context. Why are some Black women openly, even aggressively as in the cases of Owens and Diamond and Silk, identifying as conservative?

The Rise and Fall of St. Louis and The Broken Heart of America

Because it is about our nation as much as it is about one city, and because Johnson frames it as “the two-hundred-year history of removal, racism, and resistance that flowed through the two minutes of confrontation on August 9, 2014”—the killing of Michael Brown, in Ferguson, which touched off Black Lives Matter—the book is for all of us and for now.

A Heinous Murder, A Sensational Trial, And How It Lives on in American Memory

Cara Robertson compellingly documents the known facts of the Borden case, and because she strategically avoids participating in a long tradition of sensationalizing the events of the murder and its aftermath, she is simultaneously able to tell the equally captivating story of the many ways that journalists, writers, and historians have shaped the mythology of Borden murders, beginning in the hours after the crime.

Musicals, Known and Unknown

In different ways, the books under review offer alternative perspectives on what is arguably the most polarizing of film genres. All three are by established film historians who have written extensively on specific eras and themes. Yet of the three texts only Hollywood Musicals You Missed opens up fresh lines of inquiry.

The Spy Who Helped Stop the Nazis

Madame Fourcades’s Secret War: The Daring Young Woman Who Led France’s Largest Spy Network Against Hitler reads like a well-written thriller about the most interesting French woman since Eleanor of Aquitaine. It stars an unlikely heroine who fought autocrats throughout her life.