The Bell of Treason
P.E. Caquet. Other Press, Sept.
The 1938 Munich Agreement between France, Germany, Great Britain, and Italy ceded the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia to the Third Reich. Cambridge historian P. E. Caquet proposes that an erroneous perception of German dominance gave Hitler an unearned victory. “Along with vividly explaining the political climate, diplomatic negotiations, and the pact’s immediate aftermath,” PW’s review said, “Caquet argues against long-held justifications” for appeasement.
Fred Kaplan. Simon & Schuster, Jan. 2020
Slate national security columnist and Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter Kaplan (Dark Territory) details policies for nuclear war scenarios and critiques the commanders in chief who, he says, continue to fall short in resolving the threat of mass destruction. He draws on firsthand accounts of various nuclear advisers to expose what he sees as decades of danger and dysfunction.
Hitler: A Global Biography
Brendan Simms. Basic, Oct.
Simms (The Longest Afternoon) counters the popularly held opinion that underestimating U.S. strength is what led Adolf Hitler to declare war in 1941. Rather, Simms argues, Hitler was driven by a paranoid fear of U.S. capitalism’s influence on Germany, which would have undermined the single-minded fascism he was determined to uphold.
In the Cauldron
Lew Paper. Regnery, Nov.
Though most Americans believe the U.S. Navy was caught by surprise in Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, Paper (John F. Kennedy) contends there were many clear warnings, including those from Joseph Grew, then–U.S. ambassador to Japan. He writes that Grew’s alarms went unheeded and breaks down the challenges Grew faced as ambassador to a country whose worldview was incomprehensible to his superiors.
The Irrational Terrorist and Other Persistent Terrorism Myths
Darren Hudson, Arie Perliger, Riley Post, and Zachary Hohman. Rienner, Jan. 2020
The authors identify several myths they say are pervasive among the American public, such as “religious fundamentalism is the only source of terrorism” and “terrorists are crazy.” Then they set out to dispel them through case studies of the perpetrators of terrorism.
Manufacturing the Enemy
Keith Bolender. Pluto, Sept.
Journalist Bolender (Voices from the Other Side) was a longtime advocate of removing Cuba from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, a goal that was accomplished in 2015. His new book asserts that mainstream media accounts of Cuba continue to undermine the country’s potential to achieve the social and economic programs advocated by supporters of its revolution.
Someone Is Out to Get Us
Brian T. Brown. Twelve, Nov.
Which global superpower was the most dangerous during the Cold War, and who was its true enemy? Brown, a journalist and Emmy-winning writer, unpacks what he sees as the absurdity at the core of the U.S.’s prolonged involvement in the Cold War by chronicling the actions and mind-sets of J. Edgar Hoover, Joseph McCarthy, President Nixon, and others.
Erik Edstrom. Bloomsbury, May 2020
West Point graduate Edstrom chronicles his disillusion with the U.S. military, which began on his first deployment in 2009 when 25% of the platoon he led was lost to what he calls a game of “human Minesweeper.” In the years since, he has examined what he’s found to be the war’s “legal injustices, unforced errors, and gaffes,” he tells PW, and hopes his book “can be an antivenom to America’s fetish for war.” (For our q&a with Edstrom, see “Conscientious Fighter.”)
When Reagan Sent in the Marines
Patrick J. Sloyan. St. Martin’s/Dunne, Dec.
In 1983, terrorists with a truck bomb devastated U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut, killing 241 Americans. Sloyan, who died in February, reported on the event at the time and went on to win a Pulitzer Prize for his series on the Gulf War. In this book, he argues that President Reagan unfairly deflected the blame for the disaster onto members of the military and pivoted to a new engagement in Grenada to distract from the outcome in Lebanon.
Editor's note: The pub date for Un-American changed after the article went to press. The article has been updated to reflect the new pub date.