What we liked best: history

Of the history books reviewed in the Monitor in 2007, these received the top marks.

NIXON AND MAO: THE WEEK THAT CHANGED THE WORLD, by Margaret MacMillan (Random House, 432 pp., $27.95)

This thorough, absorbing account of Nixon's 1972 trip to China includes telling details and delicious anecdotes. (3/27/07)

NIXON AND KISSINGER: PARTNERS IN POWER,by Robert Dallek (HarperCollins, 740 pp., $32.50)

Historian Robert Dallek offers new details on the Nixon-Kissinger power pairing and the rivalry and the dependency that shaped it. (5/15/07)

AGE OF BETRAYAL: THE TRIUMPH OF MONEY IN AMERICA, 1865-1900,by Jack Beatty (Knopf, 512 pp., $30)

Beatty weaves together biography and history to create this powerful, angry examination of corporate greed and racism in post-Civil War America. (5/22/07)

The PERFECT SUMMER,by Juliet Nicholson (Grove Press, 304 pp., $25)

This sparkling social history traces Edwardian English society on the brink of World War I and throughout the course of a withering heat wave that gripped England in the summer of 1911. (5/25/07)

ALMOST A MIRACLE,by John Ferling (Oxford University Press, 679 pp., $29.95)

Historian John Ferling argues that the American revolution succeeded only by the narrowest of margins. (7/3/07)

KING, KAISER, TSAR,by Catrine Clay (Walker & Co., 416 pp., $26.95)

England's King George V, Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm, and Russian Czar Nicholas II were the royal cousins who marched the world to World War I. (7/24/07)

TROUBLESOME YOUNG MEN,by Lynne Olson (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 448 pp., $27.50)

Political courage takes center stage in this account of British politics in the late 1930s. Olson paints fascinating portraits of Winston Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, and their contemporaries, some of whom sacrificed their careers to their consciences. (8/7/07)

THE GREAT UPHEAVAL,by Jay Winik (Harper, 688 pp., $29.95)

Historian Jay Winik explores the revolutionary years of the late 18th century during which thinkers in France, Russia, and the US shaped a new vision of the rights of man. (9/18/07)

THE COLDEST WINTER: AMERICA AND THE KOREAN WAR,by David Halberstam (Hyperion, 736 pp., $35)

David Halberstam's final book – a comprehensive, compelling examination of the Korean War – is one of his best. (9/25/07)

THE WHISPERERS,by Orlando Figes (Metropolitan Books, 784 pp., $35)

British historian Orlando Figes conducted scores of interviews and combed through masses of private papers to cull the first-hand accounts that make up this chilling account of private life in Stalin's Russia. (10/30/07)

AMERICAN CREATION: TRIUMPHS AND TRAGEDIES,by Joseph Ellis (Knopf, 283 pp., $26.95)

In these series of essays, historian Joseph Ellis makes a compelling case for a more realistic portrait of America's Founding Fathers. Ellis laments that too many writers work too hard to either demonize or canonize them. (11/13/07)

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