July2017 Booklist 13 www.booklistonline.com
reactionary Vladimir Putin. Despite Putin’s
retrenchment, Taubman still recognizes in
Gorbachev one of the modern era’s greatest
benefactors. A masterful portrait, convincing
and complete. —Bryce Christensen
The Netanyahu Years.
By Ben Caspit. Tr. by Ora Cummings.
July 2017. 512p. St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne, $29.99
Israeli journalist Caspit’s biography of
Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, elected prime
minister of Israel four times (1996, 2006,
2013, 2015), is superbly researched and
balanced, even as he acknowledges that his
subject can be frustratingly enigmatic. Caspit
admires Netanyahu as a tough battler whose
“Bibi spirit” has allowed him to survive and
often thrive in Israel’s fractured and tribal
political landscape. His fighting instincts,
Caspit suggests, were influenced by his devo-
tion to his scholarly, right-wing father and
his older brother, Yoni, who died leading the
1976 Entebbe raid. Although his personal
religious practices aren’t strictly Orthodox,
Netanyahu has outraged many secular Jews
by throwing bones to the extreme religious
Right in Israel. But it is his role in the con-
flict with the Palestinians that Netanyahu’s
legacy will likely be judged, and here Caspit
finds him wanting. He pays lip service to the
“two-state” solution but undermines efforts
to advance it and never offers any realistic
proposals. This is an important and informa-
tive work for American readers, since “Bibi”
is likely to continue to be a strategic “part-
ner” for awhile. —Jay Freeman
The Women Who Flew for Hitler: A
True Story of Soaring Ambition and
By Clare Mulley.
July 2017. 480p. illus. St. Martin’s, $27.99
(9781250063670); e-book (9781250133168). 940.54.
Biographer Mulley comes through in a
major way with this deep dive into the lives
of WWII–era German aviatrixes Hanna Re-
itsch and Melitta von Stauffenberg. Their
accomplishments are legendary: both were
exceptionally experienced test pilots of
dozens of gliders and aircraft. Reitsch is no-
table as the first female helicopter pilot in
the world (and first pilot to fly a helicop-
ter indoors), while von Stauffenberg was an
aerodynamicist whose work on dive-bomb-
ers exceeded every other pilot in the field.
Highly decorated by the Luftwaffe for their
work, they were also rivals (at least on Re-
itsch’s part) and inexorably
caught up in Germany’s
horrific domestic policies.
Mulley’s gripping narrative
drops readers into the dra-
ma of women battling to
succeed among men while
also coming to terms with
their country’s roiling poli-
tics. Reitsch was a true believer in the Third
Reich, while von Stauffenberg’s brother-in-
law led Operation Valkyrie, the doomed
1944 plot to kill Hitler. Determined to
assist the pilots they worked with, Reitsch
sought glory and von Stauffenberg, of Jew-
ish heritage, a return to Germany’s noble
past. Absolutely gripping, Mulley’s double
portrait is a reminder that there are many
more stories to tell from this oft-examined
time. —Colleen Mondor
The Beatles Book.
By Hunter Davies and others.
2017. 688p. illus. IPG/Ebury, $59.95
This single-volume encyclopedia offers
fans and general readers an easy entrée to
the world of the Beatles. Davies (the official
biographer of the group) and his three coauthors put forth tons of trivia in the book’s
four sections: “People, ” “Places, ” “Broadcast
and Cinema,” and “Songs.” Entries are rated
between 1 and 10 “mop tops” to signify
their importance or impact of the song,
place, or event. As the authors are all serious
Beatlemaniacs, the material is opinionated
and personal, but that just makes the work
all the more relatable to fans. Appendix material covers “Beatles Places to Visit” as well
as a discography, chronology, and bibliography. There are black-and-white photos and
illustrations throughout, with four nice glossy
sections of larger photos (some color) interspersed. This would make a popular addition
to any music collection. —Rebecca Vnuk
The Complete Book of 2000s Broadway
By Dan Dietz.
2017. 514p. Rowman & Littlefield, $125
(9781442278004); e-book, $124.99 (9781442278011).
The latest in Dietz’s excellent series covers the 213 musicals that opened on (or
were set to open on) Broadway between
2000 and 2009, from the familiar (Avenue
Q, Spamalot) to the obscure (Casper, which
didn’t make it out of the preview tour).
The technical details for each production
include opening and closing dates; number
of performances; names of the writers,
composers, directors, and casts; and a brief
description. This is followed by a full listing
of the musical numbers and a narrative
(ranging from one to three pages) about the
show. There are eight appendixes, including a chronology by season; a chronology
by classification; and a list of shows by
theater. Recommended for medium-sized
and large public library reference collections
as well as academic libraries supporting
performing-arts programs. —Rebecca Vnuk
Modern Conflict in the Greater Middle
East: A Country-by-Country Guide.
Ed. by Spencer C. Tucker.
2017. 420p. illus. ABC-CLIO, $94 (9781440843600).
Compiled by a military historian who has
written many reference works on wars and
the military, this volume offers an expansive
definition of the “Greater Middle East” to
include Cyprus, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
Each article includes a narrative history,
a time line, and further readings. Useful
black-and-white maps illustrate each entry.
The primary documents provide important
background material on the past and more
recent history; each document helpfully
lists the source. Especially noteworthy
are sidebars that concisely highlight major
events—for example, the assassination of
King Abdullah, in July 1921, and the devas-
tating Israeli air strikes during the Six-Day
War, in 1967. Tucker is to be commended
for compiling a carefully researched and
succinctly written ready-reference volume.
This Is Who We Were: In the 1900s.
2017. 600p. illus. Grey House, $160 (9781682173510).
Following in the pattern of previous volumes in this series, this classic reference
combines census and other government
data with personal narrative, advertisements, clippings, and so forth to provide
a portrait of a decade. The first section
is made up of 27 profiles based on historic records (such as “1902: Mary Egan,
12-year-old Tenement Dweller” and “1904:
Jim Rosser, Farm Boy from Iowa”); other
sections cover snapshots of the time, economic figures, and reprints of news articles
and advertisements. The latter half of the
book is made up of a variety of census
tables, including reprints from the 1910
census and the 2002 report Demographic
Trends in the 20th Century. The series is
a useful source for student assignments
and general browsing. Recommended for
school and public libraries. —Rebecca Vnuk
REFERENCE BOOKS IN BRIEF