PositiveForwardThere are two minor weaknesses in Freedland’s otherwise compelling and vivid account. First, Freedland skates over Vrba’s falling out with Wetzler. Given the intimate relationship of their camp existence, escape and tour to spur the Jews and Allies to action, their subsequent estrangement feels abrupt and calls out for a more detailed explanation ... As Freedland follows Vrba’s descent into hell and his epic journey from the abyss to deliver the truth, he takes no shortcuts, leading us through the most harrowing era of modern human history and the traumatic disappointments that follow it. With painstaking detail, he uncovers the humanity in one of the Shoah’s great witnesses but also brings Vrba’s truth about Nazi inhumanity to a new audience in a riveting, accessible way. It’s a weighty but sharp tale that should become one of the most stunning texts on required high school reading lists of the future.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Amanda L. Tyler
RaveLos Angeles Review of BooksTyler clerked for Ginsburg in 1999 and between the two of them, they have concocted a compelling case for American civics ... Ginsburg’s surprising cult status as \'The Notorious RBG\' came without any dilution of her beliefs or actions, and Justice, Justice Thou Shalt Pursue remains true to that vision ... rhetorical force and appeal to history is typical of Ginsburg’s legal writing ... Although Tyler prefaces some of Ginsburg’s texts with context and explanation, the precision and power of the carefully written texts speak eloquently, evidentially, and effectively for themselves. Although it can be obscured by the forms of address and methods of adducing evidence required by these legal submissions, Ginsburg is a forceful stylist.
PositiveLos Angeles Review of Books\"... Richtel has exactly the right set of tools to explain how everything you know is wrong, why it’s wrong, and why that’s important — as well as what we actually now believe is right. Not only does he make all this accessible, he also ensures that you don’t feel bad about your previous misconceptions; after all, you’re no different from most scientists until the very recent past ... chtel, for his part, constructs from these four individual cases a compelling modern history of — as well as an elegant defense for — the preeminent science of our time.\
PositiveThe Los Angeles Review of BooksWhile Krefft could have done even more to address Fox’s significance for today — that is, why it matters to have been the man who made the movies — she does offer a penetrating psychological analysis of his motivations, namely, his repudiation of his father Michael in favor of his idealized mother ... Krefft’s point about Fox is that the 'man who made the movies' was more involved in the framing of movies than any other. A sense of the larger issues at stake would have helped readers frame the importance of the facts Krefft lays out with such mastery.
Karl Ove Knausgaard and Fredrik Ekelund
PositiveThe Los Angeles Review of BooksThe games receive plenty of attention, but they are only starting points for discussions of national culture and character, of the state of world development, of gender stereotypes, of human desire, of memory, of ISIS. Of anything, in short, that the mind can conceive ... Unlike in Knausgaard’s epic series, the correspondence and the soccer keep the conversation grounded. Readers are never more than a couple of pages from an observation about a game or a refreshingly different perspective.
Jonathan Safran Foer
MixedThe Los Angeles Review of BooksFoer’s scope is ambitious and his writing is sharp, but his affectations are often exasperating. Like a beautifully crafted music box with a catchy tune, the novel is delightful and annoying in equal measure. Foer’s preciousness mars his effort in two specific ways. First, his obvious identification with his protagonist narrows the novel’s range: Jacob Bloch’s limitations are too often the novel’s own. Second, his exquisite use of montage for comic effect undercuts whatever insight the narrative may otherwise promise.