PositiveThe Wall Street Journal\"The Zealot and the Emancipator relates these familiar events skillfully without pretending to offer new material or original interpretations. The final 150 pages gallop through the Civil War, quoting extensively from Lincoln’s most famous works, with cursory paragraphs providing context. But Mr. Brands, who has written about nearly every era of American politics, seems to recognize that the contrast between Brown and Lincoln offers a lesson that has never been timelier. Prudence and idealism are complementary virtues. And zeal unencumbered by a concern for consequences is indistinguishable, in practice, from bloodlust.\
PositiveThe Wall Street Journal... [a] richly detailed history ... While vividly recounting the inauguration itself, Every Drop of Blood doubles as a selective history of the entire era that Lincoln’s speech helped define. Each chapter advances the story chronologically, from the evening before the inauguration to the evening after. But within each chapter, the narrative ranges widely in place and time to describe earlier events in the war and in the lives of those affected by it. The effect can be somewhat disorienting. Perhaps this small vice is the necessary price of the book’s considerable virtues. In elegant, episodic detail, Mr. Achorn captures both the immediate experiences of those who attended the inaugural and the recent memories that colored everything they saw and felt, heard and said.
PositiveThe Wall Street Journal... a gripping narrative that offers a revelatory perspective on the combined origins of two nations ... Mr. Chaffin establishes the contrast between his two subjects, implicitly and effectively, by describing their wartime service to the American cause. The parallel portraits make for both compelling drama and instructive history ... The subtitle of Mr. Chaffin’s book refers to \'the friendship that helped forge two nations.\' That claim is a bit misleading in the case of America, since, as Mr. Chaffin acknowledges, the two men barely qualified as acquaintances until Lafayette returned to Paris in 1785, more than a year after the end of the Revolutionary War. But over the next four years their paths converged.
RaveForbes... packs very 2019 language tics into the internal dialogue of the eponymous character, Gideon, a liege knight with a love of dumb jokes as large as her biceps. It reads as easily as browsing a Twitter feed (it adds equal parts hyperbole, dark humor, and sarcasm, and then occasionally removes the odd grammer convention), but with the character-based emotional heft of a novel ... doesn’t come across as gimmicky or slipshod. If you enjoy browsing memes or joking with friends, you’ll enjoy this prose ... a totally goony fun page-turner that really needs to be on everyone’s reading list this fall.