Personality and Power: Builders and Destroyers of Modern Europe by Ian Kershaw

(Penguin Press) Review by Brian Tanguay In Personality and Power, historian Ian Kershaw poses and answers fundamental questions of historical analysis about twelve individuals who significantly impacted — for good…

The Magic Kingdom by Russell Banks

(Knopf) Review by Brian Tanguay The year is 1971. The place is Florida, south of Orlando. 81-year-old Harley Mann sits on the porch of the house he has lived alone…

The Persuaders: At the Front Lines of the Fight for Hearts, Minds, and Democracy by Anand Giridharadas

Review by Brian Tanguay Calling people out for their lack of political awareness or insufficient wokeness isn’t the problem with the political left; the problem is not calling people in.…

I Saw Death Coming: A History of Terror and Survival in the War Against Reconstruction, by Kidada E. Williams

Blacks didn’t just pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, they seized freedom and built homesteads, farms, churches, schools and communities; they tilled the soil and planted cash crops like…

American Midnight: The Great War, a Violent Peace, and Democracy’s Forgotten Crisis by Adam Hochschild

Review by Brian Tanguay As much as Louis Dejoy was in the media spotlight in the months before the presidential election of 2020, one might assume that no person as…

The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid

Review by Brian Tanguay Mohsin Hamid doesn’t entertain simplistic themes or easily resolved problems in his novels. His first book, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, dealt with the mistrust between the West…

The Settler Sea: California’s Salton Sea and the Consequences of Colonialism by Traci Brynne Voyles

Review by Brian Tanguay I have never seen the Salton Sea with my own eyes. My experience of the Colorado Desert is limited to one or two road trips to…

A Conversation with Bill Lascher

Bill Lascher is the author of Eve of a Hundred Midnights, an account set in the early days of World War II, and his journalism has appeared in a wide…

The Golden Fortress: California’s Border War on Dust Bowl Refugees by Bill Lascher

Review by Brian Tanguay It’s tempting to think of history as a succession of recurring events and to look to the past to foretell what might happen in the future.…

Four Treasures of the Sky by Jenny Tinghui Zhang

Review by Brian Tanguay When Daiyu, the protagonist of Jenny Tinghui Zhang’s debut novel, Four Treasures of the Sky, is abducted from the fish market, she’s a desperately hungry thirteen-year-old…