HONOR IN THE DUST: Theodore Roosevelt, War in the Phillipines and the Rise and Fall of America’s Imperial Dream by Gregg Jones chronicles is one of those The More Things Change histories, as the America’s desire to rush in and free the oppressed Filipinos from Spain’s tyranny almost immediately mutated into a decision to run the islands until the natives “proved” their ability at self-government. When the Filipinos unsurprisingly decided this was sub-optimal, the American response became increasingly hardline and brutal in a depressingly familiar pattern—Jones sees this as foreshadowing the Iraq occupation but it could apply to Vietnam just as easily. A solid job of history
THE HOLOCAUST IN AMERICAN LIFE by Peter Novick looks at the treatment of the Holocaust throughout the 20th century and tries to figure out why unlike most events it’s a bigger deal now than it was in the 1940s. Novick shows that for a variety of reasons the genocide was downplayed for a couple of decades after WW II: American Jews, for instance, didn’t like being seen as tragic victims and Cold War propaganda made the camps more a symbol of general totalitarianism (and thereby indicting the Soviets) than specifically anti-semitic. Novick argues things really began to change with the 1970s Holocaust miniseries widely popularizing the Jewish side, and that the change took hold because for some nonreligious Jews it was something that connected them to their people. Novick also discusses whether the Holocaust is truly unique and whether that matters (would it be less horrible if it wasn’t?). Interesting.
Terror, Inc.: NIGHTSHADE BOOK ONE by Tappan King and Beth Meacham (cover by Ralph Reese, all rights to current holder) was the Weird Heroes neo-pulp line’s second novel (following Quest of the Gypsy), a Shadow variation in which super-star stage magician Doctor Black is also the shadowy avenger Nightshade, here targeting a SPECTRE-style terrorist start-up. This is good (though a bit heavy on Haitian stereotypes) but the original title of Doctor Black would have made more sense, as the protagonist spends most of her time in that identity (unfortunately Weird Heroes already had a Doc Phoenix so the editors didn’t want another Md.—titled character). Too bad that like most of the Weird Heroes, Nightshade didn’t return after this debut tale.