David's Book Club
One of our most popular features at the old FrumForum site was a weekly book review under the heading "David's Bookshelf." I am bringing the bookshelf to the Daily Beast and widening the contributors as well. This post will be the hub for all book reviews that we have written, both on FrumForum and at the Daily Beast.
The final volume of Remembrance of Things Past looks at World War I from the perspective of those who experienced the war through newspapers, rather than from the trenches.
The most arresting idea in Adam Winkler's impressively learned study of US gun law is the suggestion that contemporary American gun culture was more or less invented by the Black Panthers.
Through the years of Chavez rule, the best writing about Venezuela in English appeared on a blogspot run by two Venezuelan expats, Francisco Toro and Juan Cristobal Nagel.
James A. Garfield has always been for me one of the great might-have-beens of American history. Millard tells the story of a man's journey from poverty to the American presidency, and the dramatic history of his assassination and legacy.
Dickens takes us into the harsh Victorian-era reality of British industrialization. For many, this life meant premature death.
It's amazing how much of what we think we know about Britain's 'finest' hour is just plumb wrong.
Up From History by Robert J. Norrell
Booker T. Washington's life work inspired many African Americans, even if he saw himself as a failure.
The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk
One of the greatest novels ever written about a dysfunctional workplace, Wouk writes about life on the USS Caine, a navel vessel that saw very little action during World War II.
Empires and Barbarians by Peter Heather
Empires undo themselves, and they induce barbarians beyond their borders to combine in new ways.
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
A man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly but if he makes a request to be removed from duty, he is proven sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved.
Plutocrats by Chrystia Freeland
We live in an accordion economy: the 1% of the 1%, whose rate of gain since 1980 has recreated in this new century the concentrated wealth once supposed to have vanished with the Great Crash and New Deal.
Until the Last Trumpet Sounds by Gene Smith
Before I read Gene Smith's biography of John Pershing, I had no idea that America's one and only six-star general was such a babe magnet!
Eisenhower in War and Peace by Jean Edward Smith
With the credibility of the 'official' biographer of President Eisenhower in shambles, Jean Edward Smith gives a more accurate potrayal of the 34th President of the United States.
The New New Deal by Michael Grunwald
Almost everybody has an opinion on the stimulus of 2009-2011. How many, though, actually know what was in it? Only after finishing the book did I appreciate how under-informed I was.
Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville
One of the great novellas of the American literary cannon, Melville's Bartleby is, among other things, a meditation on human suffering."Ah Bartleby! Ah humanity!"
Northern Light by Brian Lee Crowley & Robert Murphy
Americans will do anything for Canada except read about it. But with the financial crisis and the looming debt crisis, it's time to see what our neighbors to the north did when they were in similar trouble.
The Jews in Poland and Russia by Antony Polonsky
Eastern European Jews have a fascinating tale that includes constant migration based on freedom and opportunity. In Poland, their world was mostly autonomous from the rest of the kingdom.
Kill or Capture by Daniel Klaidman
Given the impressive success of the Obama administration with the "kill" part of the War on Terror, it begs the question, can the United States lawfully kill terrorist suspects outside of a set-piece battle?
The Guermantes Way by Marcel Proust
In the third volume of A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, Proust looks at the Parisian culture of the late Ninteenth Century by tapping into the social and political effects of the Dreyfus affair
Darkness At Noon by Arthur Koestler
If not an accurate account of the 1930s Moscow show trials, Arthur Koestler's great novel does explain the mentality that led so many in the West to condone them.
Cosa Nostra is a history of the Italian mafia. Dickie argues that organized crime should be seen as a consequence of Southern Italy's (relative) under-development, not a cause.
The Conquest of Malaria: Italy, 1900-1962 by Frank Snowden
Social historian Frank Snowden offers a very different route to an answer about the relative underdevelopment of Southern Italy.We're used to thinking of malaria as a disease that besets Africa and other very poor places. Wrong.
The Economic History of Italy 1860-1990 by Vera Zamagni and Terroni: All That Has Been Done to Ensure that the Italians of the South Became "Southerners" by Pino Aprile
Fellow Travelers by Thomas Mallon
Since the 1970s, gay politics have meant left politics, or at least liberal politics. It is surprising, then, for some to discover how many of the leading figures of the hard-right anticommunist movement of the late 1940s and early 1950s were gay.
In the Shadow of the Sword richly and accurately shows how the religion was shaped by the Persian and Roman empires.
Storm of Steel by Ernst Jünger
Ernst Jünger gives a personal account of life in the trenches of World War I. Unlike All Quiet on the Western Front, Jünger looks at World War I from the positive standpoint of a German nationalist.
Within a Budding Grove by Marcel Proust
Proust promises to unlock the secrets of the sexual awakening of young women in his second volume of Remembrance of Things Past. Although he turns out to be not a reliable dating coach, Proust is, believe it or not, a very biting comedian - and a very astute observer of politics.
Bain Capital partner Edward Conard's controversial oligarchy-apologist book is a systematic defense of the pre-crash U.S. economic system against its post-crash critics. One thing he wants to debunk at the very outset: that stagnated wages are a result of low-skilled immigrants.
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
David Copperfield tends not to head the Dickens canon. The plot finale is unconvincing and the autobiographical element seems to be the product of a writer in the grip of a bout of self-satisfaction. That said, Dickens' genius for the creation of comic characters is worked almost to rococo excess in this novel.
Uncontrolled by Jim Manzi
Jim Manzi gives us an intriguing investigation of the power, limits, and varieties of empirical knowledge. The book ranges widely across issues before reaching the conclusion that government policies might be improved if careful experimentation is used.
Capitol Punishment by Jack Abramoff
Much of the interest in Jack Abramoff’s 'Capitol Punishment' comes from figuring out the author’s political purposes. While Capitol Punishment gives you much of this, it also has a surprising emotional side to it.
The Secret Knowledge by David Mamet
Mamet discusses his conversion experience from liberalism to conservatism. His journey is fascinating because the ideas that attracted him to modern ideological conservatism are those that I have found increasingly off-putting.
Pinched by Don Peck
The social effects of the Great Recession mean a harsher reality for most Americans. The new jobs being added to the U.S. economy pay less, on average, than the jobs lost, and the 1% have already financially recovered.
From Family Collapse to America's Decline by Mitch Pearlstein
An unapologetic attempt to soberly address one of America’s greatest social problems: the decline and collapse of the American family. How bad is it in America? The worst in the industrialized world for starters.
The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt
Haidt praises conservative intellectuals but not the Republican Party. The book seeks to explain "Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion" and what are the psychological and biological basis to explain why we vote the way we do?
The Republican Brain by Chris Mooney
Chris Mooney is a journalist focused on the intersection of science and politics. An avowed liberal, he seeks to explain his critique of conservatives in psychology and biology. The right and left, he contends, differ in more ways than just opinion.
The Pursuit of Italy by David Gilmour
The Age of Austerity: How Scarcity Will Remake American Politics by Thomas Byrne Edsall
1861: The Civil War Awakening by Adam Goodheart
Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 by Charles Murray
The Gardens of Democracy: A New American Story of Citizenship, the Economy, and the Role of Government by Eric Lie and Nick Hanauer
David's Bookshelf at FrumForum.
Swann's Way by Marcel Proust
The New American Economy by Bruce Bartlett
The Inheritance of Rome by Chris Wickham
Reflections on the Revolution in Europe by Chris Caldwell
The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton
Golden Fetters by Barry Eichengreen
The Mugwumps: Public Moralists of the Gilded Age by David Tucker
The Prince of Darkness by Robert D. Novak
Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Detroit: Then and Now by Cheri Gay
The Titan by Thomas Dreiser
The Discovery of France by Graham Robb
The Financier by Theodore Dreiser
Better Parties, Better Government by Peter Wallison
Lords of Finance by Liaquat Ahamed
Liberty and Tyranny by Mark Levin
The Great Crash by John Kenneth Galbraith
How Rome Fell by Adrian Goldsworthy
The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy
The Paranoid Style in American Politics by Richard Hofstadter
The Rise of Silas Lapham by William Dean Howells
Anti-Intellectualism in American Life by Richard Hofstadter
All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made It by Richard Hofstadter
American Pharaoh by Adam Cohen and Elizabeth Taylor
Sick by Jonathan Cohn
The Future of Liberalism by Alan Wolfe
The Big Sort by Bill Bishop
Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
The Trial by Franz Kafka
1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War by Benny Morris
The Leaders We Deserved (and a Few We Didn't): Rethinking the Presidential Rating Game by Alvin S. Felzenberg
Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad by Matthew Levitt
Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens
The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers
Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State by Andrew Gelman
Five Germanies I Have Known by Fritz Stern
Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
A Breed of Heroes by Alan Judd
Nudge by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler
The Spies of Warsaw by Alan Furst
Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington
Middlemarch by George Eliot
White Protestant Nation by Allan J. Lichtman
Kept in the Dark by Anthony Trollope
1920: The Year of the Six Presidents by David Pietrusza
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev
Freedom From Want: American Liberalism and the Global Economy by Edward Gresser
The Canadian Summer by James Alan Roberts
The Battle for Spain by Anthony Beevor
Kim by Rudyard Kipling
T.S. Eliot, Anti-Semitism and Literary Form by Anthony Julius
The Complete Roman Army by Adrian Goldsworthy
Augustus: The Life of Rome’s First Emperor by Anthony Everitt
The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston’s Catholic Culture by Philip Lawler
They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons by Jacob Heilbrunn
The Intellectuals and the Flag by Todd Gitlin
The New Case Against Immigration by Mark Krikorian
Britain’s Lost Cities by Gavin Stamp
Nero by Edward Champlin
Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations by Martin Goodman
Felix Holt, The Radical by George Eliot
The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
Silas Marner by George Eliot
Romola by George Eliot
London 1945 by Maureen Waller
The Concrete Dragon: China’s Urban Revolution and What it Means for the World by Thomas Campanella
Swimming in a Sea of Death by David Rieff
Caesar: Life of a Colossus by Adrian Goldsworthy
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Harper’s Team by Tom Flanagan
The Bush Tragedy by Jacob Weisberg
Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream by Ross Douthat & Reihan Salam
Reagan’s Disciple: George W. Bush’s Troubled Quest by Lou Cannon and Carl M. Cannon
Brother Tariq by Caroline Fourest
Adam Bede by George Eliot
Scenes of Clerical Life by George Eliot
The Last Mughal by William Dalrymple
Ancient Rome on Five Denarii a Day by Garfields Philip Matyszak
Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party’s Buried Past by Bruce Bartlett
Reveille in Washington by Margaret Leech
Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush by Robert Draper
The Roman Triumph by Mary Beard
The Unfinished Canadian by Andrew Cohen
The Civil War, From Fredericksburg to Meridian by Shelby Foote
The Civil War, Red River to Appomattox by Shelby Foote
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
Full Circle by Radek Sikorski
Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-45 by Max Hastings
Overlord by Max Hastings
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
In Praise of Prejudice: The Necessity of Preconceived Ideas by Theodore Dalrymple
The Death of the Grown-Up by Diana West
Six Armies in Normandy by John Keegan
Hitler’s Beneficiaries by Gotz Aly
Paris: The Biography of a City by Colin Jones
The Great Nation by Colin Jones
Independent Nation by John Avlon
The Civil War by Shelby Foote
Foucault and the Iranian Revolution: Gender and the Seductions of Islamism by Janet Afary and Kevin Anderson
Mexico: Biography of Power by Enrique Krauze
Ninety-Three by Victor Hugo
American Notes by Charles Dickens
Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-Shek and the China He Lost by Jonathan Fenby
D-Day: The Climactic Battle of World War II by Stephen E. Ambrose
Forbidden Nation by Jonathan Manthorpe
Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang & Jon Halliday
The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
The Economy of Modern India by RR Tomlinson
Through German Eyes: The British and the Somme 1916 by Christopher Duffy
Ulysses by James Joyce
Lying About Hitler: History, Holocaust, and the David Irving Trial by Richard Evans
Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
The Wal-Mart Revolution: How Big Box Stores Benefit Consumers, Workers and the Economy by Richard Vedder and Wendell Cox
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
The Jewish Enemy by Jeffrey Herf
An Economic History of India by Dietmar Rothermund
China's Trapped Transition by Minxin Pei
America Alone by Mark Steyn
Five Days in Philadelphia by Charlie Peters
Children of the Alley by Naguib Mahfouz
Empires of the Atlantic World by J.H. Elliott
Imperial Spain: 1469-1716 by J.H. Elliott
Mussolini’s Italy by R.J.B. Bosworth
Simon Bolivar: A Life by John Lynch
Blood of Victory by Alan Furst
Night Soldiers by Alan Furst
Pere Goriot by Honore de Balzac
The Cure by David Gratzer
Right Side Up by Paul Wells
Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott
Mormon America by Richard and Joan Ostling
The Terror Presidency by Jack Goldsmith
The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
Blood of the Liberals by George Packer
Empires of Trust by Thomas F. Madden
Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens