They Discovered the World (Or Not)

Irresistible North: From Venice to Greenland on the Trail of the Zen Brothers
by Andrea di Robilant

Reviewed by Ellen O’Connell

Andrea di Robilant’s new book Irresistible North opens with a bold claim: maybe, just maybe, two Venetian brothers named Nicoló and Antonio Zen traveled to parts of the new world in the 1380s, more than a century before Columbus.

The tale of the Zens’ adventure was published by a descendant named Nicoló the younger in 1558 and served as the basis for the first map of the world, but it was …

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Gather Ye Chimps While Ye May

The Ragged Edge of the World: Encounters at the Frontier Where Modernity, Wildlands, and Indigenous People Meet
by Eugene Linden

Reviewed by Catherine Bailey

Not long after registering as a conscientious …

Not Evil. Yet.

The Googlization of Everything (And Why We Should Worry)
By Siva Vaidhyanathan

Reviewed by Jake de Grazia

Google has taken a colossal tangle of sometimes-useful information (the Internet) and organized it …

What Adolf Learned from Josef

Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin
by Timothy Snyder

Reviewed by Adam Fleisher

Bloodlands, indeed. Starting with Stalin’s reign of terror and famine in the Ukraine in 1932-which was followed by …

Those Kinky Victorians

Pleasure Bound: Victorian Sex Rebels and the New Eroticism
By Deborah Lutz

Reviewed by Catherine E. Bailey

Nineteenth century England was a hotbed of social change and intellectual discourse. Charles Darwin …

Brooklyn’s Nanny Diaries

Raising Brooklyn: Nannies, Childcare, and Caribbeans Creating Community
by Tamara Mose Brown

Reviewed by Catherine Bailey

For many work-at-home parents in the gentrified neighborhoods of Brooklyn, the workday begins when the …