Sunday, January 16, 2011

War, Politics, Passports, and Haiti in the Book Reviews

THE LONGEST WAR:  The Enduring Conflict Between America and Al-Qaeda by Peter L. Bergen is "a history of our time," writes Thomas E. Ricks in the New York Times, and the first book "to credibly cover the global sweep of events over the last 10 years, exploring not just American views but also Al Qaeda’s."   When it comes to 9/11, the author "relates the events...through the eyes of the intelligence specialists in the American government who had been studying Al Qaeda for years."

The Passport In America: The History of a Document by Craig Robertson is taken up in The New Republic/The Book.  According to Michael Idov, the book "traces the relatively fast and remarkably recent evolution of the American passport from an exotic exception to a common and standardized shorthand for identity itself. Robertson locates this transformation between the 1880s and 1930s."

Also in the New York Times, a review of Haiti Noir, an anthology about Haiti before and after last year's earthquake, edited by Edwidge Danticat.

The Black History of the White House by Clarence Lusane is reviewed in the San Francisco Chronicle.  The book begins by noting that "more than one in four U.S. presidents were involved in human trafficking and slavery."

In the Los Angeles Times, My Father at 100: A Memoir by Ron Reagan, and Revival: The Struggle for Survival Inside the Obama White House by Richard Wolffe.