Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sunday Book Roundup

Los Angeles Review of Books reviews Gerard Magliocca's American Founding Son : John Bingham and the Invention of the 14th Amendment (NYU Press) in a piece titled "When Legislators Actually Mattered."
"Professor Gerard Magliocca spares no detail in his comprehensive review of John Bingham’s life and his drafting of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. For history buffs, constitutional scholars, and civil war experts, the book is a smorgasbord of facts about a critical period in America’s history. The reader is taken step by step through the political and legal hurdles required to enact one of the most significant post–Bill of Rights provisions of our Constitution."
HNN reviews James Tobin's The Man He Became: How FDR Defied Polio to Win the Presidency (Simon & Schuster).
"Yes, Roosevelt’s tale has been well told by a wide variety of accomplished historians. But Toobin’s book is unique in that it focuses on the crucial period following his 1921 polio diagnosis up until his election to the presidency in 1932. This is the story of not only FDR’s struggle with polio, but of the Democratic Party in the 1920s, and Roosevelt’s tenuous place in it.
How much did polio shape the essential character of the man? After reading this account, one can only come to the conclusion: a whole lot—and probably even more than anyone will ever know."
The Los Angeles Times reviews Joshua Zeitz's Lincoln's Boys: John Hay, John Nicolay, and the War for Lincoln's Image (Viking Adult).

H-Net adds reviews of Guy Laron's Origins of the Suez Crisis: Postwar Development Diplomacy and the Struggle over Third World Industrialization, 1945-1956 (Woodrow Wilson Center Press) (here); and Melissa R. Klapper's Ballots, Babies, and Banners of Peace: American Jewish Women's Activism, 1890-1940 (NYU Press) (here).
"In Ballots, Babies, and Banners of Peace, Melissa R. Klapper explores the activist trajectories of American Jewish women who “believed in [their] responsibility and power to make a difference not only to [their] own Jewish family and community but also to the wider world” (p. 2). Focusing on progressive movements for woman suffrage, birth control, and peace, Klapper provides a compelling portrait of Jewish women’s late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century efforts to navigate the intricate terrain of identity politics and to reconcile their religious, ethnic, national, and communal identities with their activist commitments during a time of significant change."