PositiveLos Angeles Review of Books...a swashbuckling tale ... Although Risen doesn’t entirely ignore Cuban and Spanish voices, here he unapologetically spins what he calls a \'quintessentially American story.\' Cuba and Cubans, Spain and the Spanish recede almost entirely from view; when we see them, it is through American eyes. We still seem to be in the American Century: the world is the stage, but the star of the show is the United States. Still, The Crowded Hour is a good yarn. Risen’s special talent is the character sketch, and between Roosevelt and the Rough Riders he has a lot to work with ... The Crowded Hour reminds us that great leaders need ideas, perhaps even a coherent philosophy, to take the nation in a new direction.
PositiveThe Washington Post\"Pinker is as interested in how to think as what to think. Worried about the big, global, existential threats — overpopulation, resource depletion, nuclear war and climate change? Pinker urges us first to change the way we think about them. They are not apocalypses in waiting but problems to be solved … The Enlightenment is a notoriously fuzzy concept — pretty much every historian has their own version — so it is no criticism of Pinker to say that his Enlightenment is a kitchen pantry for the modern ideas that interest him …. Pinker wants progress to be a law of nature, what he calls a ‘reality’ that numbers and charts can show. Yet he finally settles on surprisingly religious arguments about progress … Pinker’s gift is to challenge us not only to update the Enlightenment but to think beyond it.\