PositiveNew York Journal of BooksBrandon has woven a narrative that intermingles complex romantic entanglements with persistent artistic aspirations, giving readers a book that is one part 20th century cultural history, two parts gossipy soap opera ... What do we learn from Ruth Brandon’s probing account of these artists, connected by their presence in the Arensbergs’ salon? Her attitude toward them might be described as sardonic, stressing as it does the casual, transient nature of their relationships, their carelessness with each other, the selfishness of their motivations. These characteristics of their personal lives overshadow her interest in their artistic output and accomplishments ... Perhaps the key is Duchamp’s pose of indifference in both his personal life and his art, an indifference that cast a spell on those who drifted into his path, but left broken hearts in its wake.
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksHad we been given this revelatory information at its actual moment in the chronological narrative, Stetler’s story would still have been compelling, but for a different, more profound reason...As the story stands, the reader can only feel somewhat shorted, denied the opportunity to participate more fully with Stetler in his anguished search ... Nevertheless, this objection does not detract from the scrupulously thorough process Rustad has followed in retracing the steps of Stetler’s path and arranging them in a powerful narrative ... a disturbing book that leaves you with a sense of wonder and a sense of unease. It’s a book that is not easy to put down.
MixedNew York Journal of BooksThe narrative spine of the book is Junger’s progress along the route, in whose course he gives us richly detailed descriptions of landscape, camp sites, railroad infrastructure, and rumbling freight trains ... Of psychological freedom, the kind of inner freedom that religious mystics pursue in their quest for union with the divine, or that artists experience when immersed in their craft, or that athletes often experience when mind and body fuse—Junger has nothing to say. It’s not a dimension of freedom that seems to interest him, though for some seekers it is the highest form of freedom because it allows you to be free even if you are in prison ... Junger writes in a blunt, tough, manly style that conjures Hemingway ... This is a book for men who are drawn to an outdoor experience that is difficult, occasionally dangerous, and existentially pointless. Junger acknowledges that his trek is largely a gesture, perhaps merely a stunt.
PositiveThe New York Journal of Books... should be required reading for men who care about the emotional landscape of women and the health of their own feminine side ... Turkle’s narrative is skillfully assembled, like pieces in a puzzle. She effectively blends the story of her growth in self-awareness with her professional realization that computers pose threats to the humans who have created them. Empathy is the human quality that makes self-awareness possible, and it is also the quality that can humanize the technology that rules our present era.