This is not history for dummies. Writing with great sophistication and grace, Blainey weaves together the momentous events of the 20th century with insights into what life was like for common people and the effects of new technologies and medical advances.
Tariq Ramadan’s life as public intellectual and leader among European Muslims has been dramatic. Looming in his personal background is his grandfather, Hasan al-Banna, who was the founder in 1928 of Egypt’s most famous Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Obama phenomenon is hurtling past the best analogies that we have for it. Three years ago Barack Obama shot onto the national political scene with a sensational speech at the Democratic National Convention. Two years ago he joined the U.S. Senate as its only African-American member.
One of my favorite books is Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, a wild, imaginative, vicious satire about Stalinist Russia in particular and the modern world in general. Bulgakov imagines a visit by Satan to Soviet Moscow, where all dutiful members of the intelligentsia are atheist.
Next to Martin Luther King Jr., César Chávez was the most important Christian social activist in recent American history. His commitment to nonviolence lent moral credibility to his leadership of the farmworkers movement in the 1960s and 1970s.