Category Archives: History

Persian Fire

Tom Holland introduces Persian Fire, his amazingly great book about the war between the Persian Empire and Greece, by pointing out that questions about these factions, these ways of being, and these cultures are still relevant today. Osama bin Laden … Continue reading

Posted in History, Nonfiction | 6 Comments

Louisa May Alcott

I’ve posted here before that the book I’ve re-read most in my life is probably Little Women. I started reading it when I was about ten or eleven, and I’ve read it over and over since then, understanding it differently … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, History, Nonfiction | 20 Comments

Wartime: Britain 1939-1945

I know a lot about World War II from the scholarship I do. I’ve read a tremendous amount of history and literature about it, especially from the French and German perspectives. Before this, though, I’d never read a history of … Continue reading

Posted in History, Nonfiction | 14 Comments

The Shahnameh: Sekandar and the Succession

The second half of the Shahnameh begins with the story of a king who, instead of being descended from the Persian royal lineage, came from the Rumi (foreigners — in this case the Greeks) and conquered first Egypt, then Persia. … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction, History | 2 Comments

The Shahnameh: The First Kings through Rostam

Every summer for several years now, I’ve tried to reserve some time and space to read one or two Really Long Classics. This summer, after reading Gogol’s Dead Souls (which wasn’t actually very long), I decided to read the Shahnameh, the … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction, History | 5 Comments

Duel with the Devil

One of the things I enjoy about crime fiction is how much detail is required to tell a story. The details are where you often find the clues and the misdirection that lead to or away from the solution. True … Continue reading

Posted in History, Nonfiction | Tagged | 5 Comments


In this fascinating history, Franca Iacovetta studies the way in which “gatekeepers” — institutions large and small, as well as front-line individuals such as social workers, settlement house staff, psychologists, journalists, and many more — shaped the “Canadianizing” of immigrants … Continue reading

Posted in History, Nonfiction | 5 Comments

Frozen in Time

“Greenland makes no sense,” writes author Mitchell Zuckoff in Frozen in Time. For one thing, it’s not green at all. More than 80 percent of Greenland is buried in ice. For centuries, the massive island has remained largely empty. During … Continue reading

Posted in History, Nonfiction | Tagged | 7 Comments

The Body and Society

When considering the past, especially the ancient past, I sometimes think we imagine the people as one large group—or just a few large groups, divided by region. It definitely feels that way to me when we talk about “the early … Continue reading

Posted in History, Nonfiction, Religion | 9 Comments

The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia

For much of the 19th century, the world’s two great superpowers of the time, Britain and Russia, were engaged in a struggle for control of the lands and, by extension the people, of Central Asia. On Britain’s part, the struggle … Continue reading

Posted in History, Nonfiction | 9 Comments