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MHQ Reviews: Notable Books, Summer 2012

Originally published by MHQ magazine. Published Online: May 03, 2012 
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In Country Remembering the Vietnam War, edited by John Prados (Dee, $27.95). MHQ contributing editor Prados has mined memoirs and biographies for searing firsthand accounts from civilians, American GIs, and North and South Vietnamese soldiers.

The Boxer Rebellion and the Great Game in China by David J. Silbey (Hill and Wang, $26.95). Silbey shows how the turn-of-the-century insurgency by Chinese peasants nearly won the day against Britain, the United States, and others.

The Wehrmacht Retreats Fighting a Lost War, 1943, by Robert M. Citino (Kansas, $34.95). Citino, an MHQ contributor, looks at how the German war machine, built for aggression, fared when forced to fight on the defensive.

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Undefeated America's Heroic Fight for Bataan and Corregidor, by Bill Sloan (Simon & Schuster, $28). Sloan (Brotherhood of Heroes, The Ultimate Battle) taps interviews with dozens of survivors to capture the hardship and heroism of U.S. troops in one of the Allies' darkest hours.

The Civil War in the West Victory and Defeat From the Appalachians to the Mississippi, by Earl J. Hess (North Carolina, $40). How the North used smarts and persistence to win on the frontier—and how the South failed to capitalize on its natural geographic advantages.

Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom China, the West, and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War, by Stephen R. Platt (Knopf, $30). A rich narrative of the 19th-century clash that lasted 14 years, left 20 million dead, and reached across the world to influence the American Civil War.

The Taste of War World War II and the Battle for Food, by Lizzie Collingham (Penguin, $36). A serious look at how the abundance—and scarcity—of food motivated both the Axis and Allied powers and played a key role in victory and defeat.

New York at War Four Centuries of Combat, Fear, and Intrigue in Gotham, by Steven H. Jaffe (Basic, $29.99). How Wall Street was born of battle, and other great tales from the Big Apple's surprisingly rich history of armed conflict.

Fatal Colours Towton 1461—England's Most Brutal Battle, by George Goodwin (Norton, $27.95). The first War of the Roses concludes in a bloody battle that sees more than a third of the 75,000 combatants killed.

Rome and the Sword How Warriors and Weapons Shaped Roman History, by Simon James (Thames & Hudson, $29.95). James eschews the conventional study of Roman army leadership to look at the weapons and front-line soldiers on whom an empire was built.

Demon of the Lost Cause Sherman and Civil War History, by Wesley Moody (Missouri, $30). Moody argues that the Union general's reputation as the most brutal of warriors is a myth.

 

Fiction

Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd (Harper, $25.99). A twisty World War I spy thriller set in Vienna and Britain, this Boyd masterpiece intrigues and discomfits as the protagonist—and the reader—try to parse the reality of the dark games being played from mere perception.

 

Coming Soon

Born to Battle Grant and Forrest—Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Chattanooga: The Campaigns That Doomed the Confederacy, by Jack Hurst (Basic). The Second World War by Antony Beevor (Little, Brown).

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