The Kennan Diaries by George F. Kennan, Edited by Frank Costigliola, Norton '14, $39.95, 712 pages, ASIN #0393073270. Index, endnotes, footnotes, two groupings of b&w glossy images.
Historians of the American Republic would be challenged to name a more consequential diplomat than George Kennan if he had lived a mere half-century. But nearly unbelievably, Kennan lived more than a century and was active most of that time.
In his new book, historian Frank Costigliola cuts a swath of diplomatic history that would be hard for any public servant to match. In a diary begun as an 11-year-old boy, he documents such contributions as the 1946 "long telegram" and a lengthy diatribe against the Soviet Union's spreading political influence -- documents which, taken together, "laid out the philosophical perameters of the containment doctrine, which shaped the Cold War era.
"But Kennan's policy influence did not end there," Costigliola writes. "He was also a key player in the implementation of the Marshall Plan, the rebuilding of Japan, the decision to limit aid to Nationalist China, and the American response to Yugoslavia's break with Moscow. Furthermore, his political and philosophical writings garnered him two National Book Awards, two Pulitzers, a Bancroft Prize, and the Einstein Peace Prize. By the end of his life -- he died in 2005 at the age of 101 -- Kennan had established himself as one of the most important political thinkers of the 20th century."
Editor Frank Costigliola is an author and historian at the University of Connecticut, specializing in U.S. foreign relations in the 20th century.
Beyond the Call of Duty -- Army Flight Nursing in World War II by Judith Barger, Kent State University Press '13, 285 pages, ASIN #1606351540. Index, bibliography, notes, appendix, b&w images sprinkled through text.
From the dust jacket:
"At the height of World War II, five hundred Army flight nurses served with the Army Air Forces as members of 31 medical evacuation squadrons located throughout the world on both the European and Pacific fronts. Their work was not insignificant -- over one million patients were evacuated by air between January 1943 and May 1945. These specially trained Army nurses took nursing to new heights. Often decorated for their accomplishments, they exemplify the ability of a group of nurses to cope successfully with the challenges of war.
"In her comprehensive book, author Judith Barger brings together information that is becoming less accessible as the former nurses succumb to age, infirmity, and death. Barger interviewed 25 of these pioneering women in 1986, when their recall of their service experiences was still vivid and informative. Building on Barger's earlier research, their stories and the numerous complementary photographs included in the volume bring to life this long-overdue tribute to Army flight nursing in World War II."
During her 20-year career as a nurse in the United States Air Force, author Judith Barger served as a flight nurse assigned to Clark Air Base in the Philippines from 1973 to 1975, logging over 1,200 hours of in-flight nursing.
Gettysburg -- The Last Invasion by Allen C. Guelzo, Vintage Civil War Library '13 paperback, $16.95, 632 pages, ASIN #0307740692. Index, notes, no bibliography, b&w images sprinkled through text.
From the back cover:
"The Battle of Gettysburg has been written about at length and thoroughly dissected in terms of strategic importance, but never before has a book taken readers so close to the experience of the individual soldier.
"Two-time Lincoln Prize winner Allen C. Guelzo shows us the face, the sights, and the sounds of 19th-century combat: the stone walls and gunpowder clouds of Pickett's Charge; the reason that the Army of Northern Virginia could be smelled before it could be seen; the march of thousands of men from the banks of the Rappahannock in Virginia to the Pennsylvania hills. What emerges is a previously untold story of army life in the Civil War, from the personal politics roiling the Union and Confederate officer ranks to the peculiar character of artillery units. Through such scrutiny, one of history's epic battles is given extraordinarily vivid new life."
Author Allen C. Guelzo is the Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era and Director of Civil War Era Studies at Gettysburg College and has written two Lincoln Prize-winning books.