MixedLondon Review of Books (UK)...written with passion, it grabs the reader by the elbow and propels her from the very first page towards one, ultimate conclusion ... In tracing Hitler’s thinking about the Anglo-world across an impressive range of fronts over the span of his political career, Simms is able to show that the U.S. and Britain were more important reference points than has previously been acknowledged, and that Hitler’s geopolitical vision was genuinely global. The case he makes for this claim is compelling and original. If this were the book’s objective, we could simply record our approval and retire, tired but happy, to bed. But Simms has a much larger objective in view ... What sets Simms apart is his determination to answer every question with the same argument ... Simms’s reasoning makes it impossible to explain the increase in the intensity of the use of extermination in the last years of the conflict, when America was already in the fight and nothing could be gained through further killing sprees within the shrinking area under German control ... Simms’s monocausal approach creates an inertia at the heart of his narrative ... For Simms, Hitler’s mind is as unreactive as argon gas: he never yields an iota to the pressure of events
David I. Kertzer
RaveThe London Review of BooksAs David Kertzer shows in this subtle and brilliantly told account, the exile of Pius IX was an event that shaped modern Europe ... Kertzer is especially illuminating on the geopolitical dimension of the pope’s exile and the jockeying among the powers to control the terms under which the restoration of papal government should take place ... In the last part of his book, Kertzer chronicles the counter-revolution in the Papal States, vividly evoking the unexpectedly bitter and lethal struggle to subdue the city and the repressions that attended the restoration of papal government ... Kertzer writes lucidly, navigating the crowded scenery of his tale with great deftness. His narrative achieves momentum without sacrificing reflective depth, and makes spaces for the many stories spun by the protagonists themselves as they reasoned their way into and out of the predicaments they faced. The sunshine of authorial attention and sympathy falls almost equally on all the principals ... this is a story about the brief triumph of liberal modernity over the forces of an obscurantist theocracy whose present-day avatars still menace the liberal democratic project.