RaveThe NationSvetlana Alexievich’s remarkable book...is a peerless collection of testimony. The text is well translated by Keith Gessen ... Alexievich has not merely given us a work of documentation but of excavation, of revealed meaning. It is hard to imagine how anyone in the West will read these cantos of loss and not feel a sense of communion, of a shared humanity in the face of this horror ... The stories collected here are not only haunting but illuminating.
Seymour M. Hersh
RaveBookforumReporter is a miracle. From the first lines of chapter one, Hersh adopts a different voice, one of modulation, nuance, warmth, and—dare I say it—soul. The result will likely surprise—alarm, even—readers of his previous books ... Here he reveals himself a natural storyteller. In looking backward, Hersh seems to write with a different hand: The stories brim with humor, wit, poignancy, pointillist portraits of brilliant color—above all, his own voice ... As Hersh unburdens himself, it is hard to fathom who will be more infuriated: his critics or loyalists? ... There are, too, surprises. He does not spare those who tried \'to shut me up,\' chiefly Kissinger, Cheney, Gulf and Western. But there is no interest in score-settling. Hersh is generous to colleagues and editors ... And yet a sad undertow runs throughout the book, surfacing only at its close. What Hersh has written is not a memoir, but an elegy.
PositiveBookforumFew books delve as deeply into the personnel of the CIA and the Taliban, offering a daunting array of characters (the cast list alone runs five pages) ... Directorate S delivers a magisterial chronicle, so much of it newly reported and deeply nuanced. Coll shuns literary varnish, relying instead on windowpane clarity to achieve his complex exposition. The narrative, which follows the calendar, replays the events blow by blow, in the style of a Hollywood blockbuster ... Yet for all the precision, a blind spot remains ... Although Directorate S begins by tracing the Pakistani puppet masters behind the Taliban, and ends with the American search for a peace deal with the militants, their Pakistani patrons—with rare exceptions—remain at a remove.