Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Start and End of World Wars, the "Wild Frontier," and the South Reconsidered: This Week in the Book Pages

In the Wall Street Journal this week William Anthony Hay reviews The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 (Harper) by Christopher Clark.  As Hay explains, Clark examines the origins of World War I, a topic about which historians "have generated a tremendous literature."  Clark "rejects the idea that any single government or individual deserves preponderant blame for the war"; it "was a tragedy, not a crime."  The complete review is here.

From the start of WWI to the end of WWII: the WSJ has a review of two books about the United Nations. Capital of the World: The Race to Host the United Nations (NYU) by Charlene Mires "chronicles the process by which the United Nations headquarters ended up on New York's East River, and Roger Lipsey's Hammarskjold: A Life (Michigan) "illuminat[es] the diplomatic dramas that would soon unfold inside" the UN.

The Washington Post has a review of Bob Thompson's Born on a Mountaintop: On the Road with Davy Crockett and the Ghosts of the Wild Frontier (Crown), "an enjoyable journey along the trail of Crockett's life and legend-- part road trip and part history lesson."

In the LA Times Steve Oney reviews Tracy Thompson's The New Mind of the South (Simon & Schuster).  He writes: "The contemporary American South is so different from the troubled yet exotic Dixie of the past that it's nearly unrecognizable, argues Tracy Thompson in her splendid new book."  Read on here.

And in Foreign Affairs you'll find a review essay, "Israel's Warlords: How the Military Rules in War and Peace," by Aluf Benn.  Benn takes up two books Patrick Tyler's Fortress Israel: The Inside Story of the Military Elite Who Run the Country-- and Why They Can't Make Peace (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), and Charles D. Freilich's Zion's Dilemmas: How Israel Makes National Security Policy (Cornell).