New Books: Performing Arts.

Hitler and Film; The Führer’s Hidden Passion by Bill Niven. Yale University Press, 2018. Adolf Hitler’s enthusiasm for film and his influence on Germany’s inner-war industry.


Tyrant by Stephen Greenblatt. W.W. Norton, 2018. As an aging Elizabeth,1st clung to power, a talented playwright probed the social causes of this aging tyrant’s time.


Show Trial; Hollywood, HUAC, and the Birth of the Blacklist by Thomas Doherty. Columbia University Press, 2018. In 1947 the House Committee on Un-American Activities began its investigation into “Communist Subversion” of the film industry.


The Nobody’s Girl Friday; The Women Who Ran Hollywood by J.E. Smyth. Oxford University Press, 2018. Women, during the studio era in Hollywood between 1930 and 1950. Forty percent were female.


The Whole Church Sings; Congregational Singing in Luther’s Wittenberg by Robin Leaver. Cambridge University Press, 2018 paper. Congregational singing was an integral part of the worship in Wittenberg.

Unbelievable; Why Neither Ancient Creeds nor the Reformation Can Produce a Living Faith in the Twenty-First Century by John Shelby Spong. HarperOne, 2018. Spong has his own pronouncements; maybe they’ll work. 

New Books: Science. Medicine.


The Young Descartes; Nobility, Rumor, and War by Harold Cook. University of Chicago Press, 2018. René Descartes is best known as the man who coined the phrase “I think, therefore I am.” But a young nobleman, Descartes was also a soldier and accomplished courtier who took part in the events of his generation but who would not seem out of place in the pages of The Three Musketeers.

Empire of Tea; The Asian Leaf that Conquered the World by Markman Ellis, et al. Realktion Books, 2018 paper. Known and consumed by the Chinese and Japanese for centuries, it was only in the seventeenth century that Londoners took up the beverage, which became identified with British imperialism. In India milk was added, thank you.

The Consciousness Instinct; Unraveling the Mystery of How the Brain Makes the Mind by Michael Gazaniga. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2018. The latest research into the brain and consciousness.

The Heart Is a Shifting Sea; Love and Marriage in Mumbai by Elizabeth Flock. Harper, 2018. The stories of three Indian couples in modern-day Mumbai.

Against Dharma; Dissent in the Ancient Indian Sciences of Sex and Politics by Wendy Doniger. Yale University Pres, 2018. A look at ancient Indian texts and their discourse on both politics and sex.

The Epic City; The World on the Streets of Calcutta by Kushanava Choudhury. Bloomsbury, 2018. Food stalls and colonial mansions but also roaming cows, a world to which Choudhury returns with his family from New Jersey.

Natural Causes; An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Our Illusion of Control by Barbara Ehrenreich. Hachette, 2018. She topples the shibboleths that guide our attempts to prolong life past healthy life.

Just Medicine; A Cure for Racial Inequality in American Health Care by Dayna Matthew. New York University Press, paper 2018. Heath disparities are mostly treatable.

The Securitization of Society; Crime, Risk, and Social Order by Marc Schuilenburg, et al. New York University Press, 2018 paper. Traditionally security was a matter of state and local governments and their uniformed police forces; now there are many new security providers, schools for example.

NEW BOOKS: Conflicts of the Twentieth Century & Their Aftermaths.

We Will Not Be Silenced; The Academic Repression of Israel’s Critics by William Robinso &, Maryam Griffin. AK Press, 2017 paper. Academic freedom confronts the Israel lobby in Washington, D.C.

On Antisemitism; Solidarity and the Struggle for Justice in Palestine by Judith Butler. Haymarket, 2017 paper. Butler cautions that criticism of Israeli policy toward the Palestinians should not be considered as anti-Semitism.

The Wall and the Gate; Israel, Palestine, and the Legal Battle for Human Rights by Michael Sfard. Metropolitan Books, 2017.  A farmer in the occupied West Bank asked to have a gate build through the separation wall so that he could get to his olive trees. Seemed reasonable, but that would lead a credibility to the wall which the Palestinians were denying

Anatomy of Terror; From the Death of bin Laden to the Rise of the Islamic State by Ali Soufan. W.W. Norton, 2017. Our assassination of bin Laden was supposed to lead to the demise of radical Islamic affiliates of his al-Qaeda organization.

Sons and Soldiers; The Untold Story of the Jews Who Escaped the Nazis and Returned with the U.S. Army to Fight Hitler by Bruce Henderson. William Morrow, 2017 Some 2000 German-speaking Jews formed into interrogation units to question German POWs. They were known as the Ritchie Boys.

The Kamikaze Hunters; Fighting for the Pacific: 1945 by Will Iredale. A new form of warfare – the suicide pilot – seems much less “foreign” to us in the twenty-first century.

The Untold Story of the Secret Capture by David Balme & Captain Peter Hore. Whittles, 2017 paper. Balme boarded a disabled German U-boat in the mid-Atlantic and captured one of the greatest secrets of WWII, the code used in the Enigma German machines.

Passchendaele; The Lost Victory of World War I by Nick Lloyd. Basic. A small, insignificant Flemish village was the site of a meaningless battle in the summer of 1917 when perhaps 500,000 men were killed or wounded, maimed, gassed, drowned, and all buried in this small corner of Belgium.

Humanitarians at War; The Red Cross in the Shadow of the Holocaust by Gerald Steinacher. Oxford University Press, 2017. The Red Cross was able to maintain its neutrality during WWII, but came under much criticism for both its opposition to the Allied de-Nazification efforts after the war and then the Cold War between former allies.

Allied Intelligence Handbook to the German Army, 1939 to 1945 by Stephen Bull. What did the Allies know about the German army? What were the sources of that knowledge?

The Guardians by Susan Pederson. Oxford University Press, 2017. Ending WWI, the Paris Peace Conference agreed to preserve French, British, Belgian, and Japanese dominions while handing out Ottoman territories and German colonies as “mandates” to the war’s winners.

My Lai; Vietnam, 1968, and the Descent into Darkness by Howard Jones. Oxford University Press, 2017. The massacre of Vietnamese villagers by American troops; the massacre was suppressed, but then a confession by an American soldier.