Page by Page: Book Reviews

The Black Conservative Lion in Winter

Those familiar with Sowell’s major works will find little here that has not been argued in his other books. For his fans, this consistency gives his arguments greater validity and provides greater comfort.

An Origin Story of the Black Elite

What we have in Black Fortune is not just a proto-black version of the Rich and the Famous, although it is on some level precisely that, but also another kind of origin story of the black elite or of a black economic elite or leisure class and how it saw its racial duties, this last being a major obsession with successful blacks.

What Price Victory?

Abrams may be the greatest First Amendment lawyer we have ever known. Abrams’s book, however, delivers only brief snippets of the fascinating war stories he must have to tell. Instead, as its title suggests, The Soul of the First Amendment deals in big, broad ideas.

The Great American Film

Isenberg has assembled an all-star cast of film critics, filmmakers, families of crew members, and fans from all walks of life to share their analysis, anecdotes and nostalgia for a film that Umberto Ecco has characterized as “‘not one movie; it is ‘movies.’”

The Man Behind The Prince

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.

The American Debate Over Whether to be an Empire

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’s Relentless Curiosity

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.

Of Medicine and Desegregation

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.

Refugees of Redoubt

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.

Tales of Fortress America

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.