Page by Page: Book Reviews

Saigon Syndrome

Christian G. Appy argues, unsurprisingly, that the destructive and immoral actions of the United States in Vietnam punctured the myth of American exceptionalism. Yet that same exceptionalism survives largely intact today.

The World’s Civil War

At long last, here is a book specialists in British, French, Spanish, Italian, and, yes, U.S. Civil War history will all find new ideas to explore and new contentions with which to grapple.

Paris Burning

Massacre: The Life and Death of the Paris Commune presents a wonderfully vivid depiction of the Paris Commune that alternates deftly between humor and heartbreak.

Enter the Dragon

Yong Zhao analyzes the origins, strengths, and failures of the Chinese educational system with an emphasis on its authoritarian nature. He may ease the concerns of other countries, who may feel pressured to follow the Chinese model, but he also demonstrates how problematic comparisons can be.

Bird Land

Zink’s narrative raises great questions about the nature and credibility of people on all sides of environmental matters—and the ways that language may be used to cloud rather than to clarify core issues.

Elsewhere, Upside Down

The children’s book Loretta Mason Potts glosses over the emotional and logistical implications of its circumstances for a fantasy story where the impact of events become a very distant second to the events themselves.

The Ripley Effect

Like an amusement park, Believe It or Not was a cheap thrill but it also brought together a community of seekers who sought their faith through the excess of the unusual.

America’s Big Chill

Friedman’s skill in populating her chapters with not only intriguing protagonists but a full cast of supporting characters results in an engrossingly textured account of the early Cold War. Freeing the era from the straightjacket of conformity to which it has been confined by hindsight and historiography, Citizenship in Cold War America reveals a society more fractious than anxious.

Rough And Religious

Rough Country clearly shows the sociological function of religion in Texas and, as a consequence, its political leanings and influence on the rest of the United States.

Cries and Whispers

Lydia Denworth in her book I Can Hear You Whisper restores one’s awe at the amazing feat that is communication. As a scientific journalist, she dissects the process of language acquisition from auditory comprehension to speech production, but her quest for understanding is personal. Denworth’s third son, Alex, was born hearing-impaired.