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The Best Books of 2001

By Steven Martinovich
web posted January 14, 2001

Two-thousand and one shaped up to be a pretty good year for books, at least judging by many of the reviews that Enter Stage Right published over the past year. In no particular order, here are the books that impressed ESR's book editor:

Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American ConsensusBefore the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus by Rick Perlstein
Hill & Wang, 671 pgs.
Left-leaning writer Rick Perlstein manages a mostly evenhanded account of Barry Goldwater's horrifically inept 1964 campaign against Lyndon Baines Johnson. As Perlstein points out, Goldwater may have lost that election but he also provided the spark that would one day see a resurgence of conservatism that culminated in Ronald Reagan's 1980 win. He may have lost the big battle, but he ultimately won the bigger war.

Read our full review here

In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its SurvivorsIn Harm's Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors by Doug Stanton
Henry Holt & Company, Inc., 320 pgs.

The story of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the 112 hours that several hundred survivors spent in shark infested waters has been an oft-told one, but rarely was it done with the personality that Doug Stanton managed to infuse. Reportedly optioned by Hollywood with Mel Gibson tapped to play Captain Charles McVay, Stanton's tour de force manages, as our original review states, to put the reader in the water with the ship's men, dying one by one until a chance encounter with a U.S. Navy patrol plane.

Read our full review here

Toward Rational Exuberance: The Evolution of the Modern Stock MarketToward Rational Exuberance: The Evolution of the Modern Stock Market by B. Mark Smith
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 342 pgs
Written with some panache, Smith's effort "isn't a mundane guide to picking stocks but rather it is a study of the modern stock market beginning in 1901, a time that Smith says major trends began to manifest themselves that would define what today's market has become." If you lost money in the dot.com debacle, you'll be happy to know that it isn't the first time that the markets have punished irrationality.

Read our full review here

At Any Cost: How Al Gore Tried to Steal the ElectionAt Any Cost: How Al Gore Tried to Steal the Election by Bill Sammon
Regnery Publishing Inc., 294 pgs.
Bill Sammon's account of the November 2000 election and the resulting debacle may not add much in the way of new information but At Any Cost: How Al Gore Tried to Steal the Election is still an enjoyable look at the 46 days which alternately repelled, embarrassed and enthralled the American people. Sammon, who makes it fairly clear that he wasn't behind the Gore-Lieberman ticket, attempts to build the case that Gore out and out tried to steal the election from George W. Bush.
Read our full review here

Night of Stone: Death and Memory in Twentieth-Century RussiaNight of Stone: Death and Memory in Twentieth-Century Russia by Catherine Merridale
Viking 402 pgs.
That Russia and Russians have known enormous suffering is a fact that should never be taken for granted. Since the fall of Communism and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, many have wondered how tens of millions of people could simply disappear and how Russians today were coping with what must be tremendous grief over the past. Catherine Merridale's Night of Stone: Death and Memory in Twentieth-Century Russia doesn't completely answer the question but it does offer tremendous insight into a part of the Russian soul usually closed off to the west.
Read our full review here

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