Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sunday Book Reviews

The Post's Book World this week is excellent. A taste:

The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope
by Jonathan Alter. Reviewed in the Washington Post by Alonzo Hamby: "FDR failed badly in his efforts to end the Depression and pursued some policies that surely made things worse. The author concedes that if World War II had not intervened, Roosevelt would be remembered as a much lesser chief executive. He also thinks there is no reason to believe any of the possible alternatives would have done better, and he may well be right."

Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America's War with Militant Islam
by Mark Bowden. Reviewed in the Washington Post by Afshin Molavi: "Still, Bowden skillfully evokes the era and the ordeal, putting a human face on the yellow ribbons. And he describes in detail President Carter's vacillations, the failed rescue attempts, and the charlatans and apologists who acted as private intermediaries to seek the hostages' release (and their own photo ops). Mostly, however, the book is about the hostages themselves. These men and women deserve their day, and Bowden has given it to them."

Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community and War by Nathaniel Philbrick. Reviewed in the Washington Post by Jonathan Yardley: "Because Philbrick is in search of the more factually complex and morally ambiguous truth behind essentially self-serving popular mythology, it is important to emphasize that he is not out to denigrate that mythology or those who embrace it. He celebrates the courage, resourcefulness and determination of many of the settlers . . ."

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