The Survivor The Fear: Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe By Peter Godwin; Little, Brown; 384 pages.  Today, the full title of the British edition of Peter Godwin’s latest effort, The Fear: The Last Days of Robert Mugabe, seems sanguine, to say the least. Three years after the events recounted in this book, the 87-year-old Mugabe is still Zimbabwe’s...

The Reign Explained Monarchy Matters by Peter Whittle; Social Affairs Unit; 91 pages.  In the middle of May, Queen Elizabeth arrived in Ireland, the first British monarch to do so since the Emerald Isle became a republic in 1922. Royal visits tend to be symbolic affairs—with the sovereign visiting health clinics, greeting well-wishers, laying wreaths at war memorials—and...

The Butchery of Hitler and Stalin Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin By Timothy Snyder; Basic Books; 544 Pages; $29.95. There were moments reading this book when I was forced to shut it closed, an experience utterly alien to me. Like any reasonably historically-aware individual, I considered myself familiar with the carnage that overtook Europe in the earlier half of the 20th century: the...

Lost in the Levant: Lebanon Reappraised The Ghosts of Martyrs Square: An Eyewitness Account of Lebanon’s Life Struggle Michael Young (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010) A country of just four million people, Lebanon has enchanted, infuriated, rewarded, and bedeviled the legions of outsiders who have intervened in its affairs. In part because of its diverse religious composition (the country boasts...

Film Director Peter Weir On 'The Way Back' Peter Weir is Australia’s most acclaimed film director, with movies like “Gallipoli,” “Picnic at Hanging Rock,” “The Truman Show,” and “Dead Poets Society” to his name. His most recent release, “The Way Back” starring Ed Harris and Colin Farrell, traces the purportedly true journey of prisoners who escaped from the Siberian gulag and made it...

The Center-Right Honorable Tony Blair A Journey: My Political Life By Tony Blair Knopf. 720 Pages. $35.00. Aside from George W. Bush, has any other Western political leader in modern times been so reviled and savaged by the intellectual elite, media, or his own people than Tony Blair? As the targets of novelists, satirists, and polemicists, democratically elected politicians have been...

Menace à Trois: Alliances with Iran and Turkey? Please. Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America’s Future Stephen Kinzer (New York: Times Books, 2010) Stephen Kinzer’s Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America’s Future might be a must-read if we lived in an alternate universe. As with most easily offered solutions to long-running problems, its general proposition is ostensibly alluring. To navigate its way through the intractable morass of Middle...

Coincidence? Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History by David Aaronovitch; Riverhead 400 pp., $26.95 To understand the conspiratorial mindset, it helps to be the subject of one. I had that experience in early 2008, after publishing an article exposing newsletters published by the Texas congressman and gadfly presidential candidate Ron Paul in...