PositiveNPR...usurps the reader\'s expectations ... Were it nothing else, Strange Harvests would be an impressive addition to the modern travelogue, painting some of the world\'s most remote terrain in visceral and sometimes breathtaking prose ... But unlike so many slick travel narratives accepting the landscape at face value, strengthening the state-sponsored veneer, Strange Harvests probes much deeper ... an...engrossing read, one made even more so by the author\'s honesty, his willingness to admit the disappointments ... If Strange Harvests never quite offers an answer, never quite finds that perfect symbiosis, it\'s nevertheless a thought-provoking tour.
Jon K. Lauck
PositiveThe Chicago TribuneAs the country reawakens following the recent presidential election to this so-called forgotten territory between the coasts, Lauck's final plea for 'a bit more fire in the regionalist belly,' couldn't be better timed ... Lauck focuses the second half of his book on the fading study of Midwestern history, and though similarly well researched, it bears a more insider feel, trudging through the rise and fall of various Midwestern historical associations to reflect the field's shifting attitudes. Without the cameos of popular figures like F. Scott Fitzgerald, the text decelerates in these last chapters but never quite stalls ... offers a compelling analysis of a region that has been disparaged by coastal culture. It's a stirring argument for a second wave of both Midwestern literary and historical regionalism.
RaveThe Chicago TribunePreston pushes The Lost City of the Monkey God well beyond the standard adventure narrative. In fact, the team's sweaty and swashbuckling days in Mosquitia make up just half the book. Instead, in prose no less gripping and visceral than his first-person account, Preston traces the myth of the White City back to its roots, exploring the earliest indigenous records of the lost civilization, retracing several ill-fated American expeditions — disrupting previously held beliefs in the process — and interviewing historians, archaeologists and other academics along the way. In an impressive sleight-of-hand, Preston often dives headfirst into historical context without losing the momentum of the adventure, rarely slipping into the passivity so often dogging historical prose.