RaveThe National Book Review\"Heller offers a suspenseful story ... Heller’s lyrical prose and vivid descriptions of fly fishing in a pristine river are magnificent ... You don’t need to read The River to appreciate The Guide, but I highly recommend the earlier book. The River actually offers an added layer of complexity, as Jack and his companion struggle to survive a wildfire in addition to facing down some menacing folks ... Heller’s nature writing is sublime, but his dialogue is occasionally a bit too witty and clipped ... Still, Heller, influenced by Joseph Conrad and Jack London, has proven again that he is one of the finest writers of the literary thriller.
PositiveThe National Book ReviewAs always, Steinhauer skillfully portrays the paranoia of the spy world, with all of its conspiracies, double agents, and possible moles ... The one caveat about The Last Tourist is that it’s not an easy beach read, because it requires a fair amount of concentration to keep the characters sorted out and stay with the plot twists. But for anyone who wants a stylish and sophisticated spy thriller with chess-grandmaster-level plotting, moral complexity, and even social commentary, read Steinhauer.
RaveThe National Review... succeeds on two levels. First, Vidich’s story has momentum and never flags. He does a nice job detailing Gabriel’s investigative methods (including exhuming a body to conduct an autopsy) and incorporates some fun tradecraft (chalk marks on a mailbox to signal a meeting; homing devices placed under the dash of a car). There’s a scene in which two men are rowing on the Potomac that is simply thrilling. And watch out for a nice twist at the end of the novel ... In addition, Vidich raises vexing moral issues through his storytelling.
PositiveThe National Book ReviewThe Girl Who Lived Twice delivers a suspenseful story, offering some welcome escapism as the summer comes to a close. Readers who have enjoyed previous books in the series will enjoy this one as well ... In addition to having the formula down, Lagercrantz offers the distinctive slow rhythms of Nordic crime fiction. (At the same time, he has learned to tighten up the books, which was not Larsson’s forte.)
PositiveThe National Book Review... delivers a suspenseful story, offering some welcome escapism as the summer comes to a close. Readers who have enjoyed previous books in the series will enjoy this one as well ... In addition to having the formula down, Lagercrantz offers the distinctive slow rhythms of Nordic crime fiction. (At the same time, he has learned to tighten up the books, which was not Larsson’s forte.)
W. Thomas Boyce
RaveThe National Book ReviewThe best child development books offer lucid guidance that is informed by research, inspired by compassion, and presented with lyrical prose ... Tom Boyce joins this select group with The Orchid and the Dandelion, a beautifully written book that highlights some of the most fundamental differences among children and suggests ways that parents, teachers, and caregivers can help our most sensitive kids develop and lead happy and productive lives ... Boyce writes with the composed expertise of a doctor and researcher, but his book is also deeply personal ... One of the elements of his approach that is so appealing is that he shuts down negative moral judgment about children who appear less strong and resilient than their peers ... Authors of popular books on child psychology and development like to throw in some neuroscience, and Boyce doesn’t disappoint, offering a primer on the prefrontal cortex, autonomic nervous system, and cortisol levels. Happily, I found his science lesson accessible, relevant, and brief.
Seymour M. Hersh
PositiveThe National Book Review[Hersh] fleshes out details, adds some compelling anecdotes, and offers a peek at how he was able to scoop his peers ... His memoir also raises interesting issues of journalism ethics, although I doubt this was his intent ... The most enjoyable aspect of Hersh’s memoir is his descriptions of how he went about reporting his biggest stories, particularly how he identified and developed potential sources and then persuaded them to talk so openly with him ... for anyone eager to read some fresh Hersh writing, try his memoir and you might find, you get what you need.
RaveThe National Book ReviewNo one should be mystified that Hulbert, who has already displayed her expertise in writing about child-rearing in Raising America, has come through again with a sophisticated, well-researched, and thought-provoking book. In Off the Charts, Hulbert, literary editor at The Atlantic, offers up the compelling stories of 15 nonfictional young virtuosos … One of the best aspects of Hulbert’s book is that she shows the prodigies’ own perspective of their experience, revealing the pressure that accompanies being labeled exceptional at an early age … It’s a cautionary tale for domineering parents who may not be playing the long game wisely.
MixedThe National Book ReviewCallahan isn’t focused on choosing sides among these liberal and conservative philanthropists; he’s warning that the entire system is undemocratic and unjust. The risk, he writes, is that the rising power of this elite group ‘will further push ordinary Americans to the margins of civic life in an unequal era when so many people already feel shoved aside by elites and the wealthy’ … One perspective largely missing from the book is that of the individual nonprofit organization … The challenge, Callahan writes, is to find ways to promote civic equality without impinging on our nation’s longstanding tradition of philanthropic freedom. His ideas for reform, which are so timely right now, strike that balance thoughtfully.
PositiveThe Huffington PostGoldblatt’s account of the history of performance-enhancing drugs at the Olympics is particularly striking, coming amid new revelations of Russia’s state-sponsored doping program of recent years ... I had hoped that a history the Olympics would offer up more on the greatest athletes and competitions through the years...In those rare instances that the author does shine a light on a particular superstar, it’s usually to highlight a controversy.