Monday, 21 December 2009

New selection of books for reader reviews

Every month, we offer our readers the opportunity to review some of the latest history publications and to have their review published on the History Today Books Blog. Here is the selection for December. To submit a review, please send an email to Kathryn Hadley (k.hadley[at] specifying your choice of book. We will then send you the book with a one-month deadline to send us your review. Books will be sent on a first come first served basis. (Unfortunately, we are unable to send out books to the USA).

Strange Victory: Hitler’s Conquest of France, Ernest R. May (I.B. Tauris)
This study of the years leading up to the weeks of the Wehrmacht’s attack on Paris, in the spring of 1940, weaves together decisions of the high commands with the confused responses from exhausted and ill-informed officers in the field, to provide new insights into the tragic paradoxes of the battle for France.

A History of Modern Latin America: 1800 to the Present, Teresa A. Meade (Wiley-Blackwell)
This study of post-colonial Latin America analyses the major and minor political events that shaped Latin American history, while portraying the everyday lives of men and women from a variety of class, racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Alexis de Tocqueville, Hugh Brogan (Profile Books)
A biography of Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859), who wrote incisively on the nature of liberty and democracy and is now known as the prophet of democracy.

Journalism’s Roving Eye, John Maxwell Hamilton (Louisiana State University Press)
This history of American foreign news reporting, from its inception to the present day, chronicles the economic and technological advances that have influenced overseas coverage, as well as the personalities who shaped readers’ perceptions of the world across two centuries.

Czechoslovakia: The State that Failed, Mary Heimann (Yale University Press)
This political history of Czechoslovakia, from its founding in 1918 to partition in 1992, rejects the simplistic Western view that Czechoslovakia was simply a victim of its nationalistic German and Soviet neighbours, arguing, instead, that it was also a perpetrator of intolerant nationalism.

Kingmakers, Karl E. Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac (W.W. Norton & Company)
The story of how the modern Middle East came to be, told through the lives of the Britons and Americans who shaped it, some of whom are famous (Lawrence of Arabia and Gertrude Bell) and others who have been largely forgotten (Sir Mark Sykes and A. T. Wilson).

The Killer Trail: A Colonial Scandal in the Heart of Africa, Bertrand Taithe (Oxford University Press)
The story of the Voulet-Chanoine mission (led by French army captains Voulet and Chanoine), which set out from Dakar to Lake Chad in November 1898 to establish territorial boundaries between the French and British empires, but degenerated into violence, pillage, murder and enslavement when Voulet and Chanoine declared their independence and set about establishing their own African kingdom.

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