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Edward Cuddihy


Books

HISTORY The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months that Changed the World By A. J. Baime Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 430 pages, $30 If Harry S. Truman was an “accidental president,” then maybe what this nation needs are a few more strategic accidents. The term “accidental president,” on which historian A. J. Baime constructs his l…

NONFICTION The Best Land Under Heaven: The Donner Party in the Age of Manifest Destiny By Michael Wallis Liveright 453 pages, $27.99 It’s been 170 years since a wagon train destined for California from Springfield, Ill. got itself hung up in the snows of the Sierra Nevada mountain range during a freakishly long and severe winter. Only about half of the …

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NONFICTION Putin: His Downfall and Russia’s Coming Crash By Richard Lourie St. Martin’s Press 264 pages, $26.99 Many Americans are asking: Just who is this Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin who has so intoxicated our president with his strength and power, his vast fortune and his inherent iniquity? For sure, most of us know Putin is president of the Russia…

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HISTORY The Loyal Son: The War in Ben Franklin’s House By Daniel Mark Epstein Ballantine Books 438 pages, $30 The story line of “The Loyal Son” contains all the trappings of a Shakespearean tragedy. It has warring kings, noblemen in the House of Lords scheming over fabulous riches, a revolution on one side of the Atlantic, and a fragile peace betwee…

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NONFICTION My Fellow Soldiers: General John Pershing and the Americans Who Helped Win the Great War By Andrew Carroll; Penguin Press, 383 pages ($30) The World Remade: America In World War I By G.J. Meyer; Bantam Books, 651 pages ($30) You’d be hard pressed to find two more diverse takes on America’s involvement in World War I than the new books by Andre…

BIOGRAPHY Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet By Lyndal Roper Random House 540 pages, $40 This fall marks the 500th anniversary of the day an Augustinian monk at a backwater university in today’s east-central Germany hung his 95 theses on a door peg at the Wittenberg Castle Church and provided the spark that would ignite a firestorm of religious reformatio…

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NONFICTION The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For By David McCullough Simon & Schuster, 176 pages, $2 One does not expect to find a deep sense of history in a small, unassuming package. Think of Winston Churchill’s “The Second World War,” or Bruce Catton’s Civil War masterpiece, or Ulysses S. Grant’s wonderful personal memoirs. All …

NONFICTION City of Sedition: The History of New York City During the Civil War By John Strausbaugh Twelve 423 pages, $30. The City of New York holds a curious fascination for countless Americans, author John Strausbaugh among them. For some, it’s the excitement of the bright lights and tall buildings.  For others, it’s the tremendous wealth pulsing t…