PositiveThe Washington PostAs readers of The Washington Post and his syndicated column know, Dana Milbank covers politics with snap and crackle. His gift, and his dogged reporting, serve him well in his new book ... Milbank’s book isn’t without flaws. He overreaches at times, and here and there the writing feels rushed or breathless...But these are minor complaints, alongside the book’s considerable merit ... All I know is that after reading The Destructionists, I needed a drink.
Anderson Cooper and Katherine Howe
RaveThe Washington Post... splendid ... The book closes by taking the reader on a ghost tour of vanished Vanderbilt properties in Manhattan. It is so haunting and beautifully written that I found myself reading it over and over ... This is a terrific book, rich (yes, pun intended) in social history, ingeniously organized and overall well-written ... At times, the prose can get a bit overheated...But this is a quibble, weighed against the book’s abundant virtues, which, despite the occasional whoosh-chop! of the guillotine blade, reveal a warm heart and a flavor of well-earned catharsis.
RaveThe New York Times Sunday Book ReviewThis first novel by Tom Rachman, a London-born journalist who has lived and worked all over the world, is so good I had to read it twice simply to figure out how he pulled it off. I still haven’t answered that question, nor do I know how someone so young — Rachman turns out to be 35, though he looks even younger in his author photo — could have acquired such a precocious grasp of human foibles. The novel is alternately hilarious and heart-wrenching, and it’s assembled like a Rubik’s Cube. I almost feel sorry for Rachman, because a debut of this order sets the bar so high.
Andrew Sean Greer
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewLess is the funniest, smartest and most humane novel I’ve read since Tom Rachman’s 2010 debut, The Imperfectionists ... Arthur’s wanderings as he makes his way from disaster to disaster are hilariously, brilliantly harrowing. But laughter is only a part of the joy of reading this book. Greer writes sentences of arresting lyricism and beauty. His metaphors come at you like fireflies ... Like Arthur, Andrew Sean Greer’s Less is excellent company. It’s no less than bedazzling, bewitching and be-wonderful.
RaveThe Washington PostIt may also be the funniest memoir by a sitting — standing, recumbent, squatting — U.S. senator. Scratch that 'may.' It surely is ... Whatever you make of his politics, Franken tells a great story. He can (for the most part) make the nitty-gritty of politics and legislating good reading. His partisanship is fierce and occasionally strident, but he doesn’t indulge in the smugness and condescension that are often characteristic of the muscular, progressive liberal. Republicans ought to read this book, if only on the principle of Know Thy Enemy. And make no mistake, Republicans: Franken is your enemy. But a mensch.
PanThe Washington PostSusan Cheever is on her most solid ground in the sections of the book that have to do with artistic drinking...[but] the book is marred by factual errors...Cheever also makes some questionable assertions.