Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday Book Roundup

Readers this week can find a review of Lincoln’s Citadel: The Civil War in Washington, D.C. (Norton) by Kenneth J. Winkle in the Washington Post. "A prize-winning Lincoln biographer (“The Young Eagle”), Winkle is also a scholar of quantitative history — call it a “big data” approach to the past — who clearly delights in raw numbers and their telling effect. “Lincoln’s Citadel” is a treasure trove of empirical specificity."

The New York Times reviews The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality (Princeton University Press) by Angus Deaton. 

The NYT also takes a look at a few books--including Robert M. Fogelson's The Great Rent Wars: New York, 1917-1929 (Yale University Press)--in a piece titled, "Landlord vs. Tenant: When It All Began."

The LA Review of Books has a thoughtful essay about Karen E. Fields and Barbara J. Fields's Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life (Verso).

"Serrano, a staff writer in the Los Angeles Times' Washington, D.C., bureau, starts with two main characters: former Union soldier Albert Woolson and onetime rebel soldier Walter Washington Williams. Each man forms a compelling story of becoming caught up in the nation's bloodiest war and its aftermath. By the late 1950s, as the United States neared the centennial of the start of the war, each was feted as the oldest living veteran of his respective army. 
But one was a fraud, a scam that would have gone undetected had he not outlived all of his fellow Confederate veterans. 
There's not a lot of suspense here. It becomes clear pretty quickly which was the real deal and which a fraud. But suspense isn't the point. Serrano uses the men as a window into the long-playing reverberations of the Civil War, from the reunions to the reenactments to the wounds covered with, in retrospect, tissue paper."
And H-Net adds reviews of three edited volumes of interest, including Knowledge and Power: Essays on Politics, Culture, and War (Society for the Promotion of Science and Scholarship) edited by Bruce A. Thompson, Carolyn Halladay, and Donald Abenheim (here);  Joel Isaac and Duncan Bell's Uncertain Empire: American History and the Idea of the Cold War (Oxford University Press) (here); as well as Willibald Steinmetz, Ingrid Gilcher-Holtey, and Heinz-Gerhard Haupt's Writing Political History Today (Campus Verlag) (here).