Robert Davis

Robert Scott "Bob" Davis is director of the Family and Regional History Program, Wallace State Community College, Hanceville, Alabama. His program pioneers local and family history research in a college environment. He holds a Master of Education degree in history from the University of North Georgia and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Mr. Davis is also a graduate of the Institute of Documentary Editing of the National Historical Records Publications Commission.

His more than 1,000 publications on records and research include a number of books and more than 100 articles and reviews in professional historical, library, education, and archival journals, including Prologue: The Quarterly of the National Archives, Gulf States Historical Review, Journal of African-American History, Agricultural History, The Journal of Military History, Documentary Editing, The Journal of Southern Legal History, The Alabama Review, Georgia Historical Quarterly, and The South Carolina Historical Magazine. Robert S. Davis has been quoted in Time, Smithsonian, CNN, NPR, NBC, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. He has personally researched in all of the major libraries and archives of the United States and Great Britain.

In Alabama and Georgia, Mr. Davis has worked to raise public awareness on saving local government records and has been a member of the Alabama governor’s historical records commission. He has been the guest speaker at hundreds of meetings of civic, genealogical, and historical organizations. In 2006, the American Association for State and Local History awarded the program that he has built up with its Outstanding Leadership in History Award of Merit. He received the same award in 2007 for his book Ghosts and Shadows of Andersonville.

Book Reviews by Robert Davis

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"Einstein's War is a parallel biography of the great thinker and Arthur Stanley Eddington who used Einstein's work to heal the world scientific co

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"Rigby tells an exciting tale with action coming in right away in the first chapters."

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"this short work's lively narrative tells a great adventure story that replaces popular misconceptions with the facts . . ."

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"Becoming Michelangelo successfully tells of an epic story of an artist through the experiences of the author/artist . . ."

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"Spying on the South . . . goes deeper, darker, and makes stronger ties between the past and the present South than other of Horwitz's works."

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"D'Angour writes for a general audience without losing the reader or the subject of Socrates in Love: the complexities of Greek philosophy."

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"Stephen Turnbull in Pirate teaches history with charm, fun, humor, and sarcasm. You will want to sign on board!"

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"this modern commentary on the Commentaries also 'lets you see Caesar the man and politician, not just the general he wanted you to see.'"

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"The Regency Years reads like a romance novel of its period without the novel but makes an entertaining nonfiction read with superior prose and di

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[That] The Presidents makes a fast, engrossing read comes as no surprise . . . It works on so many levels including for a general audience.”

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"In Women's War, Stephanie McCurry writes from a perspective of women as equally important in all social issues of the American Civil War."

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“Case Red has detail that  . . . would make an educational and entertaining read for the World War II enthusiast.”

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"In Sea People, Pacific historian Christina Thompson tells of the European discovery of the Polynesians and the island people's opening to the wor

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"More adventure comes packed on certain pages in So Close to Freedom than in other entire books."

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"A page-turner illustrated with maps, paintings, and photographs, The Aleutians takes the reader to the action there in 1942 and 1943."

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"The prose used in John Adams and the Fear of American Oligarchy is highly readable and thought provoking, breaking down one of the last, great, m

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"in Topgun, Pedersen has the reader even looking forward to the next paragraph."

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"Clavin weaves a tale of brothels, buffalo, cattle, Colt revolvers, desert, faro, gunfighters, Indians, railroads, saloons, and wagons but mainly of the friendship between the legends of Wy

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"Ken Wells, a career professional journalist, set out to tell a personal story of all things culturally connected with gumbo."

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"Kate Hubbard tells the story of Bess of Hardwick in clear and engrossing writing while carefully navigating the complexities of building, entitlement, estate, marriage, and politics in Tud

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"Clavin sets out to sort facts from popular legend and 'it was a delight to discover that the truth' 'can be at least as dramatic and potent as its fabrications.'"

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"This beautiful book has a fast and entertaining narrative that encourages the reader to go out to discover and wonder."

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"White Fury tells a highly readable complete history of the once-powerful colonial Jamaican sugar economy through the letters of Simon Taylor, one of its greatest planters."

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“Placeless People delves deeply into the philosophy of human rights but with easy prose and a structure that would give anyone pause when thinking about our times.

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"All of the famous photographs of the period find reprinting in this history, as do many more less known but memorable, of an unending nation told through the lives and work of remarkable a

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"Noted Military Historian Hampton Sides gives the background of the conflict but within the story of the clash personalities, not in a formal introduction.

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"The War Before the War is not an encyclopedia but a deep, scholarly, engrossing introduction to its subject that impacts us even today and in many ways.

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"When Women Ruled the World (or at least the Egyptian part of it) draws the reader into many less known aspects of ancient history with an informa

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"The author's easy prose and superior, simple organization makes this work an engrossing, entertaining, and educating read on issues important then that echo today in the modern debate on t

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"Despite the volume of this book and its controversial interpretations, it makes a fast easy adventure in reading.

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“The Heidlers tell an engrossing story that covers a remarkably complex history in relatively few pages. It is a true page-turner.”

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"Fredriksen tells this critical history be contrasting the meanings in the sources, particularly in the New Testament, through the story of the money changers, the resurrection, and the End

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"Srinath Raghavan engagingly writes an epic narrative that gives the reader much to ponder about what might have been, and the United States' role in the world."

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"The beginnings of class warfare, democracy, individual liberty, local government, racism, and American slavery had beginnings for what would become the United States in Ja

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"Baime wrote The Accidental President almost as if a witness to those momentous times.

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"through this book of nonfiction snippets, however enlightening, the idea of the author seeing a much bigger picture emerges, one best told through the experience of the different parts."

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"This very thick book makes a fast entertaining read that illuminates facts about the times on almost every page.

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"A Fierce Glory offers spectacle over detail to the benefit of understanding."

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"Frontier Rebels makes for a good read, a lost bit of American history in a greater colonial epic in need of telling."

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"One would think that a biography of an economist would make almost as dull a read as a book on economics.

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"Whitten used extensive interviews, and the records allowed to him to tell a cautionary tale on how the destruction of our world could come from complacency, lack of control, miscommunicati

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"Beard avoids the temptation to lecture on what the author imagines as the meaning of the image.

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"when the legend becomes so famous, it takes too long for a good read like this one to replace the sensational with the no less amazing facts"

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"Weisman here gives a solid outline of the history of Jewish divisiveness that anyone can follow, an important beginning to understanding the truth over myth about Judaism in American histo

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"Hollywood makes movies about battles, helicopters, and daring escapes in the Vietnam War.

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Keep the Days tells the histories of these Civil War works as individual lives, social history, and literature, not as chronicles of battles, god

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"Martin Kemp takes us on this great personal journey of adventure in exploring the art of Leonardo, and we are so much the better for it."

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"Above and Beyond, by different roads, arrives at the single greater epic of the U-2 and the Cuban missile crisis that swung from almost guarantee

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"Alsen uses a conversational style for this concise narrative that enlightens a part of a dark and mysterious literary figure of our time."

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"Francis' 'achievements were extraordinary' in no small part from his 'Machiavellian skill that put his peers to shame.’"

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“The author argues that, in the ultimate contradiction, ‘Oppenheimer's foes used deceit and treachery’ ‘fueled by fear and paranoia’ to end a chance for a world safe from the nuclear weapon

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“This collection would make a great item to place on some deep space probe for other intelligent life to use to learn who and what we are.”

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"Partner to Power, however, 'reminds us that some of the most powerful people working in the White House, indeed in the whole of government, are often the least kn

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“The Wizard and the Prophet shows that even the ‘latest’ ideas on creation and energy have origins in the modern beginnings of the environmental movement.”

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“In This Grand Experiment, Jessica Ziparo tells the history of female federal employees in Washington, DC, 1861–1865, ‘an important but overlooked

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"Squadron: Ending the Africa Slave Trade consists of well-told, gripping, and graphic stories of individual battles against the East African slave

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“It's All Relative uses humor to discuss sex, paternity, hereditary organizations, privacy, twins, black sheep, evolution, and the import

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"Sigmund tells his story in a way that engages and educates but never bores the reader. His easy prose explains why philosophy is important . . ."

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"This work makes for thought provoking good reading including finding much lost history."

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"Despite the book's size, the complexity of its subject, and the narrative's variance with common public memory, it is a fast engaging read that corrects, even scatters, misconceptions."

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"This story is an adventure on a grand scale directed by powerful institutions but told via the actions of colorful characters"

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"Essential Witness reminds the reader of what quality, talent, and technical expertise meant in photography and with America's railroads as a subject."

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"Read this book. Do not wait until some modern Buffalo Bill makes this story into another epic movie about the West's greatest show!"

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"Read this book. Do not wait until some modern Buffalo Bill makes this story into another epic movie about the West's greatest show!"

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"In The Lost Founding Father Cooper speaks to our times on national best interest in opposition to partisan politics."

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“What better way could one take a journey in an easy chair?”

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"Prevas intimately knows the battlefields, mountains, and rivers; he takes the reader on a sort of travelogue as well as telling a great immortal story."

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"Death of Assassin is an entertaining look at very human characters in a world on the edge of radical change."

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"This book is an engrossing adventure about the rise of midwest America."

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The blood soaked epic rise of the Tudors from powerful family to self-made royalty is one of the great political dramas in history.

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The Jersey Brothers demonstrates that a well-told story is just that, whatever its genre.”

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“Tremlett writes so well as to make this read almost as entertaining as a traditional Spanish novel but with thorough balanced scholarship.”

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"are buildings extensions of us . . . or are we extensions of them?"

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A Mind to Stay is a revealing history of much of the otherwise lost reality of thousands of plantations that lack documentation.”

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“A dramatic read, this work expounds in detail on critically important parts of American history that tragically have gone forgotten and unlearned.”

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“This book is all about ideas and, in its compact narrative, does not bog down a great story with too much detail.”

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An Iron Wind is a thoroughly worked example of social history at its most valuable.

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Local history can be rich, exotic, complicated, personal, and dark but especially when an incident like the Scopes Monkey Trial serves as an “island” in regional and national social currents.

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The media has a hard time, even in documentaries, of presenting factually accurate history and especially so with movies.

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Pioneer CIA director and espionage historian Allen Dulles famously wrote that more spy craft commonly went on in any Italian city state in the Renaissance than in the whole of the relatively modern

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“For Monro’s discussion of the value of paper and ink in education, information, and learning The Paper Trail is a good read.”

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“will surely be a classic on its subject and a lot of fun for the lovers of good narrative built on well-researched military history.”

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As Peter Frankopan writes in The Silk Roads (reviewed in NYJB), islands are important for several reasons.

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Many scholars dream of writing The Great Book on the determinism of the past. A challenge is to write it for a popular audience while retaining the excitement of narrative history.

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SPQR is a not always strictly chronological study of important parts of the history of the Roman Republic and Empire to 212 CE.

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Enough books appear on individual race-hatred-based lynching in the South to constitute a genre.

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Henry Clay lived in an age when he could rise from a log schoolhouse to be perhaps not, as the author claims, America's greatest statesman but undoubtedly one of its major historical figures.

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Karl Rove is famous for his role in modern political campaigns.

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Genghis Khan (1162–1227) took a collection of dysfunctional Mongolian tribes and created a nation of language, literacy, and law set up to continue conquering after his death.

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Anghiari was a minor battle on June 29, 1440, in a series of otherwise all too common Florentine defeats as this commune spiraled toward the bottom in the years of the Italian Renaissance.

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Morgens Trolle Larsen’s Ancient Kanesh: A Merchant Colony in Bronze Age Anatolia tells the history of the exploration of a city “of the first attested commercial society in world history”

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Cultures around the world celebrate the concept of living to achieve a good death. A writer can have a life that makes for as engrossing a story as any tale he or she could invent.

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One of the hallmarks of modern communication is the glossy, well-illustrated general science based histories of the origins of our species.

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In recent years several writers have discovered the forgotten, ignored, or lost early maritime history of the United States.

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The last couple of decades have seen a steady stream of fully documented, honest, readable, and scholarly single works on American slavery.

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History as documented through the image has a short historiography. Until recently, even the nobility lacked multiple images or sometimes any likeness at all.

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“carefully crafted, readable, honest, and concise work.”

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Every corner of the world is now seemingly explored, mapped, photographed, and available for visiting on the Internet.

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Libraries, books, writing, and writers as subjects are fascinating, even collectively.

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Americans remember George Washington for a great many things but not as one of the great lights among the intellectuals of the Enlightenment era and the American Revolution.

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Napoleon: a Life is an epic biography by a popular writer who has done the “on the ground work” needed to make the latest of the thousands of biographies of Napoleon something new.

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In the 2000 movie Running Mates (2000), Faye Dunaway's character observes that the only thing anyone ever named for a first lady was a rehab center. Louisa Catherine Johnson (Mrs.

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One standard for a good book is that it could be a reference for other good books.

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Swindler, serial bigamist, jail bird, theatrical promoter, and alleged spy for Abraham Lincoln, William Alvin Lloyd (1822–1869) was a man representative of the worst of his times, as the authors in

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“Seyler conveys excitement and adventure from a lost story of a pioneer explorer of the Middle East.”

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“good storytelling built on solid scholarship . . .”

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One of the great pities of our time is that we live in a golden age of readable but also solid academic credible studies of Roman and Medieval history for a popular audience.

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“This highly readable book never lacks for the big story but it also does not let that history lose the hero.”

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“. . . in this felucca voyage of the Nile, you see all of its history and you are constantly reminded that Egypt is also a living nation of today.”

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“The Hollywood stereotype of the 19th century war correspondent, or any newspaperman of that period, was a young single white male with a penchant for alcohol and a dream of writing the gre

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A Death in San Pietro is a blood and mud soldier’s eye view of a pointless messy slaughter than too often defines war.”