MixedThe Washington PostSome of the anecdotes she extracts from her subjects provide revealing glimpses of a man who seemed to be a mystery to even himself. But readers may wish that Spiegel spent a little more time on his movies. The book’s greatest strength is its first half, thanks no doubt to Spiegel’s access to Lumet’s unfinished memoir. The director abandoned his autobiography as the story line reached his 20s. As a result, in Spiegel’s book, Lumet’s early years, before his movie career kicks off, are chronicled with a gripping degree of detail ... But Spiegel struggles to find anything new (or particularly deep) to say about his body of work as a director. As a result, the second half of Sidney Lumet too often feels as if the author is sprinting to meet a deadline . . . or catch a bus ... Spiegel shortchanges too many of Lumet’s most influential projects, offering little or no context or critical insight to flesh them out ... [an] ultimately superficial biography, where Lumet remains an enigma and his life’s work an afterthought.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review... it’s fair to say that the last thing the world was itching for in 2019 was another speculative account of Hoffa’s final days. Which is precisely why Jack Goldsmith’s gripping hybrid of personal memoir and forensic procedural lands with the force of a sucker punch. More than just another writer chewing over the same old facts and hypotheses, Goldsmith turns out to have a uniquely intimate connection to the case that gooses him along on his hunt for the truth ... Goldsmith thankfully doesn’t write like a lawyer or an academic ... Goldsmith ends up tilling a lot of ground that will be familiar to Hoffa buffs. But his narrative is bolstered by the rare perspective of O’Brien — someone who was not only on the inside, but who also walked into many rooms during his life expecting to find a plastic tarp on the carpet. Unapologetic criminal behavior pours out of his mouth with a shocking nonchalance ... While Goldsmith does convince you of O’Brien’s innocence in the end, he never really does piece together what happened to Hoffa. Some frustrated readers may find this to be better for Goldsmith’s conscience than satisfying. Still, over the course of In Hoffa’s Shadow, Goldsmith’s quest becomes less about solving a mystery than a meditation on the complicated and occasionally bittersweet love between fathers and sons. It turns out that sometimes the search for truth can be its own reward.
RaveEntertainment Weekly\"... unflinching honesty and style ... By the time Agassi’s hopeful ending arrives, not only has he bared his soul like few professional athletes ever have, he’s done it with a flair and force that most professional writers can’t even pull off.\