Francis P. Sempa

Francis P. Sempa is the author of Geopolitics: From the Cold War to the 21st Century; America’s Global Role: Essays and Reviews on National Security, Geopolitics, and War; and Somewhere in France, Somewhere in Germany: A Combat Soldier’s Journey through the Second World War. He is a contributor to Population Decline and the Remaking of Great Power Politics and The Conduct of American Foreign Policy Debated. He has also written introductions to four books on U.S. foreign policy.

His articles and book reviews on historical and foreign policy topics have appeared in Orbis, the University Bookman, Joint Force Quarterly, The Diplomat, American Diplomacy, the Asian Review of Books, Strategic Review, National Review, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Human Rights Review, the Claremont Review of Books, the Washington Times, the South China Morning Post, the International Social Science Review, Caixin Online, and Real Clear History

He is an Assistant United States Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, adjunct professor of political science at Wilkes University, and a former contributing editor to American Diplomacy.

[The views reported in Mr. Sempa's reviews are those of the reviewer and not those of the U.S. government.]

Book Reviews by Francis P. Sempa

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“The West needs to overcome its amnesia with respect to Maoism’s global ambitions. Lovell’s study of Maoism as a global history could not be more timely.”

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“[T]he best part of White’s book [is] the stories of writers such as Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn, Sinyavsky, Havel, and others who courageously wrote and spoke the truth to power behind the iro

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“Pipes recounts the gradual process by which through the sheer force of his intellect, Richard Nixon became relevant again to the debates about America’s proper role in the world.”

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“Christian Keller has proven once again that we can still learn much from the history of the American Civil War.

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“George Marshall lived by a moral code and never strayed from it. That was the key to his greatness.”

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“[A]n exhaustive biography of the remarkable Habsburg ruler coupled with important insights into the birth of the modern state system of Europe . . .”

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“Nagorski provides a compelling narrative of the war’s major events, developments, and personalities in 1941.”

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The British Are Coming is history written in a grand style and manner. It leaves one anxiously awaiting the next two volumes.”

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“This book will be a hard pill to swallow for many in the United States and the West. It raises uncomfortable moral dilemmas and exposes Western weaknesses. . . .”

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“The story of Winston Churchill’s secretaries and literary assistants has been told before, but not in such a focused and complete manner as in Cita Stelzer’s book Working with Winston

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“The greatest virtue of this small book of reflections is to show that Henry Kissinger’s greatest legacies to his country are his patriotism, his conception of prudent but effective statecr

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“It has been 15 years since Ronald Reagan’s death and more than 30 years since he left the White House, yet most historians and biographers continue to misunderstand the man and the reasons

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“McCullough tells the story of these pioneer heroes in his characteristic narrative manner, which, as in his other books, combines eloquence, erudition, vividness, and remarkable insight.

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“This is very much a book about war from the perspective of the frontline combatant. It is a story of fear, uncertainty, courage, fortitude, comradeship, and heroism.

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On Faith is more than just a book about Justice Scalia’s faith and beliefs. It is a book not just for Catholics, Christians, and believers.

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“Owen Matthews’ new biography of Sorge provides revealing insights into the character and accomplishments of a man that Ian Fleming called ‘the most formidable spy in history.’”

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“In this book, the personal overwhelms the political.

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“Jenkins’ history is traditional in the best sense of that word.

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“One comes away from Dilip Hiro’s new book Cold War in the Islamic World with a heightened appreciation for the complexities of politics in the Islamic world.

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“Thompson shows that throughout his presidency, Roosevelt worked assiduously to overcome the restraints of domestic politics on his foreign policies by using his ‘bully pulpit’ and cultivat

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“Parag Khanna is right that the world is becoming more multipolar. China’s challenge to the Western world order is real. How the U.S.

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“[T]he obsession with Ypres by the warring states, especially the British, increased because so much blood was spilled there.

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“Every Krauthammer column is a joy to read—whether you agree or disagree with his particular position on a specific political issue or personality—because he combined graceful writing, comp

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“Winston Groom’s The Allies: Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, and the Unlikely Alliance That Won World War II will hopefully help a new generation le

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“The book is not a complete history of U.S.-British relations, but instead a narrower and more focused look at how as empires Britain and America struggled for power and influence.

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National Review Senior Editor Richard Brookhiser has perfected the art of brief, concise, and reflective biographies of America’s founding generation.

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“Andrew Roberts has written the best single-volume biography of Winston Churchill to date.”

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“Rampage reminds us once again that man’s inhumanity to man belies the notion of human progress.

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The publication in the West of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago and his subsequent exile from the Soviet Union occurred during the flowering of détente and America’s abandonment

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The popular British historian John Julius Norwich’s last book (he died at age 88 on June 1, 2018), A History of France, is a treasure of historical narrative, witty observations, and trenc

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In the 21st century, Americans take for granted that U.S. presidents exercise broad war-making powers. U.S.

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“My aim in this book,” writes Polish historian Adam Zamoyski in his captivating new biography of Napoleon Bonaparte, “is not to justify or condemn, but to piece together his life . . .

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If there are any remaining doubts about the central role played by Ronald Reagan in the unraveling of the Soviet empire, Seth Jones’ riveting new book A Covert Action should dispel them.

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“Wars are not won by evacuations,” remarked Winston Churchill after 338,226 British and French soldiers were safely transferred from the beaches at Dunkirk to England in late May-early June 1940.

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“a crisply written, compelling narrative that highlights the roles of key U.S. policymakers such as Dean Acheson, George Marshall, Louis Johnson, and George Kennan.”

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The “liberal world order” created by the United States after the Second World War is an historical anomaly that may be coming to an end, according to the Brookings Institution’s Robert Kagan in his

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Revolution and terror usually go hand in hand. Revolutionists seek to make a new world and frequently resort to terror and murder to eradicate the remnants of the old world.

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J. D. Dickey’s new book Rising in Flames could be subtitled A Politically Correct Guide to Sherman’s March. It is equal parts social history and military history.

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Statesmen . . . should be judged not by the purity of their ideals and intentions, but by the consequences of their actions and policies.”

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“reaffirms the reality of international politics that no resolution is ever permanent; no victory is ever final.”

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In 1947 in the journal Foreign Affairs, George F.

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The Allied landings on the Normandy beaches in France on June 6, 1944, and the immediate struggle beyond the Normandy beachhead during World War II hold a special place in American history.

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Although Jonah Goldberg’s Suicide of the West borrows its title from James Burnham’s 1964 classic, it has more in common with Burnham’s The Managerial Revolution (1941), The M

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A few years after Al Qaeda’s September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, Norman Podhoretz wrote a book entitled World War IV in which he traced the origins of the West’s conflict wit

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“The Kremlinologist is part biography, part Cold War history, and a fitting tribute by his daughters to a consequential American diplomat.”

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“Discrimination and Disparities demonstrates once again that Sowell is one of America’s and the world’s great public intellectuals.”

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Early in his new book about the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, University of California law and politics professor Richard L.

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The German political geographer Friedrich Ratzel held that “great statesmen have never lacked a feeling for geography.” “When one speaks of a healthy political instinct,” he wrote, “one usually mea

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In late August 1949, the Soviet Union detonated an atomic bomb in northeast Kazakhstan. In an instant, America’s nuclear monopoly was gone and a new element was added to the Cold War.

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Historians and academics always face the challenge of balancing biography with what T. S. Eliot called “those vast impersonal forces” that hold us in their grip and shape history.

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October–November 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik coup d’etat that brought communism to power in Russia.

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“Merry’s book is a needed corrective to the underestimation of McKinley by professional historians.”

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“Kotkin’s exhaustive research, careful historical judgments, shrewd insights, and splendid writing . . .”

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“fully justifie[s] the remark of General Alan Brooke that Britain should ‘thank God . . . that occasionally such supermen exist on this earth.’”

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Biographer James Thomas Flexner has called George Washington the “indispensable man” of the American Revolution.

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"John Harte, a former playwright and freelance writer . . . has written a very uneven book about Churchill and the First World War."

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". . . a fascinating examination of Buckley’s approach to practical politics . . ."

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Patrick J. Buchanan’s Nixon’s White House Wars is part memoir, part history, and part commentary on his years as a Nixon loyalist and aide in and out of the White House.

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In his 1943 classic, The Machiavellians, the political philosopher James Burnham praised Niccolo Machiavelli for writing truthfully and unsentimentally about the way political leaders gain

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The Italian political scientist Gaetano Mosca in The Ruling Class (1896) noted that political leaders in all countries propagate myths or “political formulas” that resonate with citizens a

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In his 1964 classic, Suicide of the West, James Burnham expressed the global geopolitical contraction of the West by showing the unmistakable trend of the Western powers’ loss of control o

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Brad Snyder’s new book The House of Truth is part intellectual history and part biography.

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John Avlon calls George Washington’s Farewell Address “the most famous American speech you’ve never read.” His new book, Washington’s Farewell, explores the history, intellectual formation

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William F. Buckley, Jr. led an extraordinary life.

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There has been a spate of books published during the last few years about the life and career of General Douglas MacArthur. The latest to appear, H. W. Brands’ The General vs.

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In 2012, the historian Andrew Preston in his Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith concluded that religion, especially Christianity, has played a central role in U.S.

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The major insight of this new and interesting military history of the American Civil War is the overriding importance of the Union’s ability to effectively project military power across continental

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There has been a revival of interest in the life and career of General Douglas MacArthur, perhaps because the United States has “pivoted” to the Asia-Pacific in its current foreign policy.

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Is there an Obama Doctrine—a grand strategy based on a coherent worldview that guides Obama’s foreign policy?

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Russia, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. The key to understanding Russia, however, lies in her history.

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“well-organized, splendidly written, and compelling . . .”