The Memory Chalet stands apart from most memoirs. Written by Tony Judt, renowned imageBritish historian, best known for his work “Postwar” (2005), after becoming quadriplegic as a result of Lou Gehrig’s disease, the memoir began as a simple memory exercise meant to distract himself from the discomforts of insomnia.
In the past ten years, Americans have shown a sustained interest in cultural depictions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), or the Mormon Church. South Park’s 2003 episode “All about Mormons” and the 2011 musical The Book of Mormon satirized the founding of the LDS church.
Judith Brown’s Gandhi, Prisoner Of Hope published in 1989 amply reflects the decades of quality research that went into its production. Brown elucidates Gandhi’s transition from being “a man of his time” to “a man for all times and all places” by his unswerving and whole-hearted submission to the idea of satyagraha or truth-force, most significantly reflected in the deep questions that he asked, many of which he himself did not find answers to.
For those watching the financial markets, events in Europe are front and center. Market participants await announcements by government leaders, finance ministers, central bankers, and economists with anticipation.
In late 1774 or early 1775, a woman named Jeanne Baret became the first woman to have circumnavigated the globe, landing in France after nearly a decade of global travel that took her from provincial France to places like Tierra del Fuego, Tahiti, and Mauritius. Her story, a fellow traveler noted, should “be included in a history of famous women.”
Historian Jules Tygiel presents not only an account of Jackie Robinson’s heroic struggle to integrate Major League Baseball, but a larger history of links between African American history, baseball, and the modern civil rights movement. Baseball’s Great Experiment further raises questions about race and sports in our current day.
After serving in Jawaharlal Nehru’s government for ten years, Sarvepalli Gopal opens his biography of India’s first prime minister with a pledge to maintain objectivity. Gopal appears to overcome his biases, tracking Nehru from his privileged upbringing in Allahbad to his assumption of power in New Delhi in 1947.
For many historians of China and even for many Chinese, Chiang Kai-shek, leader of China’s Nationalist Party and then founder of the Republic of China in Taiwan, was a classic “bad guy” of history.
Rafael Trujillo, dictator of the Dominican Republic from 1930 to 1961, remains a figure of mythic proportions in the popular Dominican imagination. A light-skinned mulatto with Haitian ancestry, Trujillo rose from obscurity as a sugar plantation guard to establish one of Latin America’s most enduring dictatorships.
After a long career among both politicians and literary lights, Roy Jenkins perhaps found his ideal subject in his last great biography, Churchill. Fans of the reputation-blackening revisionism common to the genre will find little to love in this laudatory account.