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Glenn FrankelHistorians hate the idea that you can carve the past into neat little slices, era by era, like fine Velveeta, but publishers seem to love it. Gerard J. DeGroot, professor of modern history at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, tries to please both sides by offering what he calls "an impressionistic wandering through the landscape of a disorderly decade." Instead of an over-arching narrative, he serves up 67 short treatments of diverse moments and subjects—"shiny pieces of glass capable of being arranged into myriad realities." It's a clever concept, one that shows to advantage DeGroot's sweeping range of knowledge. He's done a gargantuan amount of research, is comfortable with the era's characters and the movements and is a reasonably entertaining narrator, with an eye for the arresting and the unusual.
—The Washington Post