Also of interest
In partners and rivals
Eisenhower vs. Warren
by James F. Simon (Liveright, $36)
It’s said that Dwight Eisenhower cursed the day he chose Earl Warren to lead the U.S. Supreme Court, said Michael O’Donnell in The Atlantic. But the fraught relationship between the two men took “at times surprising” turns, and James Simon is the ideal scholar to catch every nuance. His sympathies “clearly lie with Warren,” a true civil rights champion. His Ike, though at times hard to admire, backed the cause when his support was most needed, presenting a case for cautious leadership.
by Michael Massing (Harper, $45)
Erasmus and Martin Luther, both critics of the Catholic Church, “might have been natural allies,” said Rebecca Newberger Goldstein in The New York Times. Instead, they were fierce foes, and this “inspired” examination of their dispute proves the Renaissance thinker and Reformation leader were waging a battle for the Western mind. Erasmus, unfortunately, doesn’t get his full due. Yes, Luther’s faith prevailed 500 years ago, but Erasmus’ skepticism laid the cornerstone of modern philosophy.
by Todd S. Purdum (Holt, $32)
Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein weren’t born revolutionaries, said The Economist. But this smart dual portrait “strips away the accretions of time” to show how boldly the pair remade the Broadway musical with a run of hits launched by 1943’s Oklahoma! Driven to simply make each show work, the composer and lyricist invented a new hybrid of dance, drama, and song, and this book’s “most thrilling” sections show how ruthless they were in reshaping imperfect work.
by William Middleton (Knopf, $40)
John and Dominique de Menil deserve their own movie, said Susie Tommaney in HoustonPress.com. Houston knows the French-born husband and wife as the city’s greatest art patrons, but their story “belongs to the world.” Author William Middleton “left no stone unturned” in his pursuit of details—of the couple’s aristocratic background, their youth, their emigration, their chemistry, and their support for civil rights and other causes. “They inspired each other,” and will inspire readers too.