RaveThe Washington Post... courageous and erudite ... Gardner is bold to take in, and take on, what few mortals have the chance or the stamina to do. Think of reading this book as the full experience you are temporarily denied today, or may never have had the energy to undertake ... Gardner is intent on persuading us to see the Louvre for itself, to appreciate the container as much as the content ... Open the book and enjoy the visit.
PositiveThe Washington PostMorris deploys those extraordinary talents again to sculpt a staggeringly grand likeness of the American genius Thomas Alva Edison ... With the kind of relish and study that would exhaust most biographers, Morris evidently set himself the task of understanding and mentally replicating every one of Edison’s scientific and engineering schemes...Such rapture can sometimes go on for paragraphs — a tacit invitation to skim, with polite respect, as one might the whale tutorials in Moby-Dick ... With the same energy and boundless curiosity Morris wades into every patent dispute, corporate merger, partnership and estrangement and lawsuit that preoccupied Edison when he was not in the laboratory ... has a structural distinction that begs for attention ... This ludic approach makes for some awkward challenges for the reader...the effect is unnecessarily dizzying ... Fortunately, both Edison and Morris were eccentric and brilliant enough to make even a life told in reverse a compelling experience.
Jean Edward Smith
PositiveThe Washington PostIn his new book, The Liberation of Paris, Smith presents a more modulated relationship of mutual if often grudging esteem and uneasy collaboration toward common objectives [between Charles de Gaulle and Dwight D. Eisenhower]. Those two familiar characters, both future chiefs of state, naturally loom large in Smith’s brisk new recounting of those late-summer days ... Smith reveals how much discretionary power de Gaulle and Eisenhower (and their lieutenants) exercised in the field, making momentous decisions that their political masters had little choice but to accept ... The Liberation of Paris is a slender book: terse, authoritative, unsentimental.