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…

Haven by Emma Donoghue

(Little, Brown and Company) Review by David Starkey The opening of Haven (the title’s similarity to “heaven” is hardly accidental) has the feel of a classic adventure story. A well-traveled,…

Strangers to Ourselves: Unsettled Minds and the Stories that Make Us by Rachel Aviv

(Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Review by Walter Cummins Like Rachel Aviv, the people whose mental issues she explores in Strangers to Ourselves are driven to write, some with works that…

Poetry Book Reviews for the Holidays

by David Starkey Since 2014, first for the Santa Barbara Independent and then for the California Review of Books, every National Poetry Month, I’ve offered one very short review of…