1. Jörn Leonhard, Pandora’s Box: A History of the First World War. This is probably the meatiest and most comprehensive WWI book yet published. It covers the origins of the war, preparation for fighting, public reactions, war aims, the course of battle, war economies, internal politics, the battlefields, how it ended, and more, all at 1,060 Belknap Press pages. Translated from the German, it doesn’t exactly spring to life in your lap, but it is consistently intelligent and thoughtful. Amazingly the author is only fifty years old.
2. Martin Goodman, A History of Judaism. Imagine a scholarly history of Judaism, told from the points of view of the time, rather than treating so many events as lead-ups to later anti-Semitism: “My attempt to provide an objective version of Judaism may strike some readers as naive.” I found the book to be a useful mood affiliation jiu jitsu, plus it has plenty of information that competing sources don’t, most of all about the immediate post-Temple period. Recommended.
William Deringer, Calculated Values: Finance, Politics, and the Quantitative Age, covers the rise of numerical reasoning in 17th century Britain.
Domenico Starnone’s self-contained short novel Trick is now out, translation and introduction by Jhumpa Lahiri.