Sunday, June 3, 2012

Winning the War, Losing the Narrative: This Week in the Book Pages

This week in the New York Times: a review of Freedom's Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II (Random House), by Arthur Herman. Here's a taste:
Dr. Herman, a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute and a writer of popular histories, says he believes that American business has never gotten its due. He contends that it won the war but lost “the narrative.” Business was denigrated by envious New Dealers, he says, and upstaged by the Keynesian focus on the war years’ $300 billion in deficit spending that finally ended the Great Depression.
Read on here. (Another review, from Forbes, is here.)

Also in the NYT: the annual summer reading guide, with selections on music, sports, and much more.

In the Guardian, check out Richard Fortey's review of Darwin's Ghosts: In Search of the First Evolutionists (Bloomsbury), by Rebecca Stott. Stott's narrative history "reveal[s] an extraordinary batch of free thinkers who dared to consider mutability during times when such ideas might still cost the thinker his head."

In the New Republic, look for reviews of From Enemy to Brother: The Revolution in Catholic Teaching on the Jews, 1933–1965 (Harvard University Press), by John Connelly (here) and Just and Unjust Peace: An Ethic of Political Reconciliation (Oxford University Press), by Daniel Philpott (here).

The Wall Street Journal has a review of America the Philosophical (Knopf), by Carlin Romano. Reviewer Thomas Meaney offers this lead in:
When it comes to politics, we are told, America is doomed to remain a country of Philistines who only rarely vault our intellectuals—Woodrow Wilson, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Barack Obama—into public office. 
But that view is nonsense, and in "America the Philosophical" Carlin Romano rightly dismisses it.
Also reviewed: The Blood of Heroes: The 13-Day Struggle for the Alamo--and the Sacrifice That Forged a Nation (Little, Brown), by James Donovan (here), and James Joyce: A New Biography (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), by Gordon Bowker (here).

A new issue of the London Review of Books is out. Subscribers may access reviews of: The First English Detectives: The Bow Street Runners and the Policing of London, 1750-1840 (Oxford University Press), by J.M. Beattie (here), The School of Rome: Latin Studies and the Origins of Liberal Education (California), by Martin Bloomer (here), and The New Few, or a Very British Oligarchy: Power and Inequality in Britain Now (Simon and Schuster), by Ferdinand Mount (here).

The Nation reviews, here, Paper Promises: Debt, Money and the New World Order (PublicAffairs), by Philip Coggan.

Over at The Browser, Anne-Marie Slaughter recommends five books on 21st Century Foreign Policy.