RaveThe New York Times... moving and masterly...by far the best biography ever written about the man ... Other writers have done better jobs describing Hamilton\'s political philosophy, but nobody has captured Hamilton himself as fully and as beautifully as Chernow ... Hamilton\'s relationship with his wife and family is one of the revelations of this book ... [Hamilton\'s] widow outlived him by 50 years, trying vainly to repair his reputation against the assaults from the Jeffersonians. As Chernow is aware, this book finally accomplishes her task.
MixedThe New York Times Book Review\"... a gripping narrative survey of contemporary America ... This is a book of nearly pure narrative, and [Packer\'s] meanings are embedded in the way he portrays people, those he likes (outsiders) and those he doesn’t (bankers, the political class). There are some passages of outright analysis in this book to show that America is \'unwinding,\' that the structures of everyday life are crumbling, that the nation’s leaders have \'abandoned their posts,\' that the void has been filled with \'the default force in American life, organized money.\' But I doubt the analytic passages together would fill more than a few pages of this 434-page book. The stories that do fill its pages are beautifully reported ... To repeat, Packer does an outstanding job with these stories. The Unwinding offers vivid snapshots of people who have experienced a loss of faith. As a way of understanding contemporary America, these examples are tantalizing. But they are also frustrating. The book is supposed to have social, economic and political implications, but there is no actual sociology, economics or political analysis in it ... I wish Packer had married his remarkable narrative skills to more evidence and research, instead of just relying on narrative alone. Combine data to lives as they are actually lived ... Packer’s work has no rigorous foundation to rely on, no ideology to give it organization and shape. But the lack of a foundational theory of history undermines the explanatory power of The Unwinding, just as it undermines the power and effectiveness of modern politics more generally.\
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewThis is one of those books — and there are many these days — that deromanticize love, that seek to dispel illusions about poetic flight and ground love in spoon-feeding, diaper-changing, reading the same story again and again at bed time ... The book is interesting on nearly every page. He mixes a wide range of reference, both scientific and literary, in a way that is sometimes familiar but sometimes surprising and illuminating. Good writers make writing look easy, but what people like Lehrer do is not easy at all.