Hero of the Empire; The Boer War, a Daring Escape and the Making of Winston Churchill by Candice Millary. Anchor, 2017 paper. This twenty-four year-old arrived in South Africa with crates of vintage wine to fight the Boers. He managed to get himself captured, managed to escape, and that became the basis for a political career back home.
Theresa May; A Biography by Rosa Prince. Biteback Publishing, 2017. Britain’s new Prime Minister, now dealing with a briar patch of problems, Brexit, etc.
Victoria; The Queen; An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire by Julia Baird. Random House, 2017. There has been much about Victoria’s lengthy mourning of her husband’s early death. Actually she was a strong woman and effective ruler of an expanding empire.
The Demon in Democracy; Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies by Ryszard Legutko. Encounter Books, 2017 paper. A Pole, he suffered under communism for decades. Having now lived for two decades under a liberal democracy, he now understands that they have a lot in common. They both stem from the same historical roots in early modernity.
The Crime of Complicity; The Bystander in the Holocaust by Amos Guiora. Ankerwycke Press, 2017. The legal culpability of a bystander to not act to prevent a death in situations during the Holocaust, the German occupation of Holland, the death marches, and the German occupation of Hungary.
My Battle Against Hitler; Defiance in the Shadow of the Third Reich by Dietrich von Hildebrand, et alii. Image, 2017. A defiant German Catholic thinker and teacher who took on the role of an antagonist, was part of the resistance for a time, made his way to Portugal with his family and then U.
The Cultural Revolution; A People’s History, 1962 to 1976 by Frank Dikötter. Macmillan, 2017 paper. The concluding volume of Dikötter’s triology. The Cultural Revolution’s goal was to purge China of bourgeois capitalists, and their activity created a vacuum of power which was used to resurrect a market economy.
Unlikely Partners Chinese Reformers, Western Economists, and the Making of Global China by Julian Gewirtz. Harvard University Press, 2017. China’s transition from Marxist central planning to the “socialist market,” borrowing (without credit) from American free-market economics.
Migrant, Refugee, Smuggler, Savior by Peter Tinti & Tuesday Reitano. Oxford University Press, 2017. As millions seek escape from violent conflicts, their movement north is being enabled, even encouraged, by criminal networks that are taking advantage of the situation to amass billions of dollars by facilitating their transport.
Stolen Girls; Survivors of Boko Haram Tell Their Story by Wolfgang Bauer & Trump Eric. The New Press, 2017. One night in April 2014 the Boko Haram raided a small town in northeast Nigeria and abducted 276 young girls. Their story is related here and in a special photographic exhibit at Gainesville’s Harn Museum of Art.
The Ba’thification of Iraq; Saddam Hussein’s Totalitarianism by Aaron Faust. University of Texas Press, 2017 paper. Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq for nearly a quarter century before his regime collapsed in 2003. The Ba’th Party was only one of his sources of power; he was also enormously popular. What accounts for his long years of power?
The Crimean Nexus; Putin’s War and the Clash of Civilizations by Constantine Pleshakov. Yale University Press, 2017. Advocates for NATO expansion have stoked Russian resentment and insecurities, which partially explains Russian annexing the Crimea.