- Reviewed Elsewhere
Nell Altizer, Patricia Angley, Lucia Aranda, Alana Bell, Judith Lütge Coullie, Michael Fassiotto, Lars Fischer, Theo Garneau, Noel Kent, John W. I. Lee, Gabriel Merle, and Barbara Bennett Peterson provided the entries for this issue.
Publications reviewed include ABC Libros, African Studies Review, American Imago, American Music, Australian Journal of Politics and History, Bryn Mawr Classical Review, CAUT Bulletin, Central European History, Civil War History, Classical World, Eighteenth-Century Life, Film History, French History, French Review, French Studies, Gender and History, (Toronto) Globe and Mail, Journal of Early Christian Studies, Journal of World History, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, The Medieval Review, Der Mittelalter, Le Monde des Livres, New England Quarterly, The New Yorker, New York Times Book Review (NYTBR), NINE: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture, Notes, Opera News, El País, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Technology and Culture, Times Literary Supplement (TLS), Victorian Studies, Wilson Quarterly, and Women’s Review of Books; and from South Africa, All About Cats, Baobab, Bookchat, Business Day, The Citizen, City Press, Country Life, Drum, Financial Mail, Grocott’s Mail, Guardian, The Herald, KZN Literary Tourism, LGBE Bangladesh, LitNet, Mail and Guardian, PoliticsWeb, Scrutiny2, The Star: Tonight, The Sunday Independent, Tonight, and The Witness.
Abigail Adams. A Life. Woody Holton. New York: Free Press, 2009. xx + 484 pp. $30.00.
“I have always felt that the life of a biography is in the details, for it is the details that give the past a pulse and allow biography to become a prism of history. As Holton sets his portrait of Abigail Adams against the canvas of mid-eighteenth- to early-nineteenth-century history and the forming of a new nation, he provides a great amount of detail, but at times that detail overwhelms the narrative and hinders its flow. That said, Woody Holton’s meticulous research and documentation, his sympathetic and nuanced portrait of this bright, passionate, and resilient woman, and his thoughtful rendering of a turbulent time in our history give us a fuller and richer understanding . . . of the role that Abigail Adams played in the founding of our country and as a lifelong advocate of women’s rights.”
Natalie Bober. New England Quarterly 83.3 (2010): 564–67.
First Family: Abigail and John. Joseph J. Ellis. New York: Knopf, 2010. 299 pp. $27.95. [End Page 188]
“On such a crowded playing field, a late-to-the-game work like ‘First Family’ could hope to distinguish itself only by bringing significant new findings to light or by narrating the couple’s shared biography in a particularly deft and persuasive way; ideally, it would do both. Unfortunately, ‘First Family’ accomplishes neither. Instead, it covers ground with which most Adams fans will already be familiar, and in a sloppy, inelegant manner that will leave admirers of Ellis’s previous books sorely disappointed.”
Caroline Weber. NYTBR, Nov. 7, 2010: 35.
Theodor W. Adorno: One Last Genius. Detlev Claussen. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2008. vii + 440 pp. $35.00.
“Claussen’s work is unconventional because he declines to provide the sort of exhaustive, documentary treatment called for by the genre of definitive biography. . . . Rather, he gives us an Adorno whose life is mediated through Adorno’s own texts. Above all, it is an Adorno seen through the lens of his significant intellectual friendships, some well known (Max Horkheimer, Siegfried Kracauer), others underestimated (Hanns Eisler, Fritz Lang). . . . Most strikingly of all, in Claussen’s telling the Adorno who returned to the Federal Republic in the 1950s was not only the daunting philosopher . . . but also a decidedly public figure committed to helping to shape West Germany’s public culture. . . . The book’s highlight is its extended chapter on Adorno’s ‘Frankfurt Childhood around 1910.’”
John McCole. Central European History 43.3 (2010): 547–49.
Anna of All the Russias. The Life of Anna Akhamatova. Elaine Feinstein. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2005. xiv + 322 pp. £9.99.
“Although Akhmatova’s relatives and contemporaries are mostly dead and the possibility of finding any significantly new information about her is rather slim, over the last few...