Sunday, February 26, 2012

Freedom, Jazz, Cities, and more: This Week in the Book Pages

In the book pages of the Wall Street Journal, you'll find lots of history this week, including reviews of:
  • On an Irish Island (Knopf), by Robert Kanigel. According to the review, the book is "a richly researched collective biography of the men and women who crossed paths on Great Blasket Island—a small, isolated community off the Dingle Peninsula on Ireland's Atlantic Coast—from around 1905 to the final evacuation of the island in 1953." Another review, from Salon, is here.

The New York Times offers a review of Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America (Twelve), by Christopher Bram. The author "uses a small cast of writers to draw a “large-scale cultural narrative” in which literature played a uniquely transformative role."

Also from the NYT: Fans of the historical fiction thriller The Dante Club (in which Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., plays a starring role) may be interested to know that author Matthew Pearl has published a new book, The Technologists (Random House). Be forewarned, however -- the review may deter you from picking it up ("Pearl appears to be using his 19th-century setting as a license to write extra-badly.")

The March 8 edition of the New York Review of Books is rich. "Will the Tea Get Cold?" Sam Tanenhaus asks, in his review of three books on the Tea Party (open access, here). Taking up another hot topic, Bill McKibben covers two books and a documentary on fracking (open access, here). Follow the link for much more, including books on slang, Downton Abbey, and Africa's dirty wars.

The New Republic: The Book covers, here, Fictions of the Cosmos: Science and Literature in the Seventeenth Century (University of Chicago Press), by Frédérique Aït-Touati, translated by Susan Emanuel). TNR also takes a turn reviewing Charles Murray's controversial Coming Apart (here).

Subscribers to the Chronicle of Higher Ed may read a review of Robin D.G. Kelley's latest: Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times (Harvard University Press), here.

Last, be sure to check out historian Michael B. Katz's Rorotoko interview on his new book Why Don't American Cities Burn? (University of Pennsylvania Press). In a nutshell, the book "is about the collision between urban transformation and rightward moving social politics."