PositiveLibrary JournalThis hydra of a book, one head assessing Picasso’s art, the other looking at how he negotiated his position in France in politically tense times, is strongly recommended to all Picasso enthusiasts.
PanLibrary JournalThe novel is slow in buildup, with many flashbacks, and the denouement is deflating. A few issues raised along the way are left unresolved ... [Burt\'s] humdrum mystery never builds up enough steam to keep readers involved.
Mario Vargas Llosa, trans. John King
RaveLibrary JournalThe best essay in this book is on Isaiah Berlin, who argued that humans hold ideals that don’t fit together; they have to work out ways to accommodate them through compromise and tolerance of difference ... Throughout, Vargas Llosa comes across as gracious, self-aware, and modest.
Katrine Engberg, trans. Tara Chace
MixedLibrary JournalThe sections dealing with procedure in this book are authentic and compelling: slow, small steps toward knowing what happened. But every time a letter intrudes, the action stops and has to be rebooted afterward ... A tepid mystery that will appeal primarily to aficionados of Scandinavian noir.
PositiveLibrary JournalMost readers will likely finish the book in one sitting, loving it all the way. There are moments of over-cuteness in the telling, but overall, Davis writes with authenticity—like someone readers would like to know ... Captivating ... Davis is generous in writing about past and present friends, colleagues, and romantic partners, and she speaks up eloquently for gender equity in movie and TV production, a cause that has occupied her in recent years ... For admirers of Davis, film, or anyone who believes women deserve an equal voice in their industry. In particular, her take on the appeal of Thelma and Louise is spot on.
RaveLibrary JournalKirtzman conducted hundreds of interviews for this portrait of a polarizing man ... Will appeal widely, not just to politics buffs.
Édouard Louis tr. Tash Aw
RaveLibrary JournalThe writing is intensely lyrical but the subject rubs up against the political ... Sad but ultimately loving, this book is an apology directed to the mother he neither understood nor supported when he was young ... Moving and beautiful. The book falls between genres, so it may be slow to be picked up but is worth highlighting.
PositiveLibrary JournalMore than action thrillers, Lin’s delightful Taipei Night Market novels are stories of character and place ... The resolution of Lin’s series fourth pushes the bounds of believability but has a rousing finale ... Once again, it’s hellzapoppin’ time in Taipei. If readers haven’t tried Lin’s stylish mysteries, here’s a good place to start.
RaveLibrary JournalDeeply moving and exceptionally well written, this offbeat memoir will please anyone interested in the NYC art scene from the 1950s on. Every father should have a daughter as loving, perceptive and honest as Calhoun.
RaveLibrary JournalDeJean does a wonderful job of tracing the lives of these women through government and parish records, plotting their marriages, deaths, births and financial fortunes through succeeding decades ... The level of detail in this scrupulously researched tale makes for slow reading at times but it brings to light the contribution of these formidable women to the early history of Gulf Coast France, a contribution till now has largely swept under the carpet. A fascinating book for history lovers, not just academics.
RaveLibrary JournalCohen\'s range is admirablly broad ... Though mostly focusing on Western historiography, the book also touches on the influence of Arab historians and includes brief sections on Chinese and Japanese historical writing; the scantness of these sections is the book’s only drawback. Overall, Cohen’s judgments are insightful, thought-provoking, and thoroughly researched ... History lovers will find this exceptionally well-written book as insightful as it is a pleasure to read.
PositiveLibrary JournalPhillips’s Harry is a worthy companion to Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins. Here’s hoping it’s not a one-shot appearance.
RaveLibrary JournalHer detailed description of British policy and actions in Ireland, India, Malaya, Cyprus, Kenya, Nyasaland, Jamaica, and Palestine makes for unsettling, yet necessary reading ... Thoroughly researched and presented in scrupulous detail, this tale of \'legalized violence,\' founded on a racism not even thinly disguised, is a must-read for serious students of history.
PositiveLibrary Journal... a forceful account of how Ireland entered the modern age, beginning with his own personal history, which he effectively ties in with an almost year-by-year recounting of what happened in his country during the late 20th century ... In O\'Toole\'s case, sharp reporting makes good history.
Megan Kate Nelson
PositiveLibrary JournalScrupulously researched and written in appealing journalistic style, this book should attract enthusiasts of Western and U.S. history.
Jonathan M Katz
MixedLibrary JournalThis book is really two books mashed into one, and not as successfully as they might have been. Katz\'s account of his own visits intrudes on his account of Smedley\'s life, and his indictment of military policy is interrupted by the constant return to biography. Only for military history completists.
Fuminori Nakamura, Tr. Sam Bett
PositiveLibrary JournalThe story becomes a maze of conflicting accounts, back and forth between manuscript and reader—black boxes within black boxes, memory and personality transient, even basic facts losing a foundation ... Nakamura\'s...dark, elegant novel will appeal more to lovers of experimental fiction than fans of crime thrillers.
RaveLibrary JournalThis is hardboiled fiction at its best: an exceptional tale, filled with emotion, plenty of surprises, and enough violence to satisfy the most bloodthirsty reader.
Marc David Baer
RaveLibrary JournalIn his latest book, Baer...expertly captures the undercurrents of Ottoman history that he says made the empire’s rule perilous at times ... There’s no study more masterful than Baer’s on the lengthy rule of the Ottoman Empire, from its founding in the 13th century to its collapse in 1924. Baer is especially skilled at presenting extensive information in an engaging and accessible way.
Edith Schloss ed. Mary Venturini
RaveLibrary JournalWith Venturini’s editing, this book effectively tells the intimacies of its subject’s life ... This account of one of the most important moments in the history of modern art is invaluable as well as fascinating.
Robert A. Gross
PositiveLibrary JournalEmerson and Thoreau loom large in this study, but the bulk of the book is about Concord, as a prequel to how Transcendentalism emerged there and the form it took ... This lively social and cultural history should reward most readers interested in this critical period of American history.
Dolores Redondo tr. Michael Meigs
RaveLibrary JournalThe mysteries are dark and twisty, and the moments of danger are plentiful. Amaia’s experience with trauma gives her insight into people’s thinking; she uses this knowledge to hunt down new demons. Fans of noir fiction will devour this book.
PositiveLibrary JournalScurr here uses her signal strength as biographer to look at what seems a small matter, and through it illuminate a much larger subject ... lively ... While the book does not include images, Scurr’s vivid writing helps to convey a visual portrait; the book’s extensive bibliography may spark interest for further reading ... Though this isn’t the first book one should about Napoleon, it is an attractive one, which presents an unusual perspective on the life of the general.
MixedLibrary JournalThis book’s plot—Freddy’s hunt for a couple of mystery women—is hard to pick out against the background of sleaze and nonstop violence. Freddy narrates the book in prime Confidential style: all alliteration and punchy sentences. Each time-hopping section starts with a blurb from Freddy—these he delivers from Pervert Purgatory, two decades after his death. A weakness in this book is Ellroy’s use of a single narrator, instead of the multiple narrators he uses in previous books; readers never get an escape from Freddy and after a while, it’s too much ... There’s energy in this book, as in all of Ellroy’s fiction, but here it wears the reader down as much as it excites.
John E Ferling
PositiveLibrary JournalHaving written several books on the Revolutionary War, Ferling knows the subject intimately, and it shows throughout this impressively researched work ... Ferling effectively explains the inner workings of military strategy. His crisp writing, always accessible and engaging, turns what could be a too-lengthy read into a fast-paced page-turner. Ferling’s lengthy, comprehensive, and essential work has staying power and should become one of the leading resources on the Revolutionary War.
James Merrill, Ed. by Stephen Yenser and Langdon Hammer
RaveLibrary JournalMuch of this collection, edited by Hammer, is ephemeral—chatter and gossip, though with an extensive cast of characters—but the regularity with which Merrill wrote demonstrates his passion for the art of writing ... This sumptuously produced collection of letters will appeal mostly to literary enthusiasts.
MixedLibrary JournalBlanding recounts the odyssey of an iconoclast scholar seeking recognition in a world to which he doesn’t quite belong. Even more, though, this book is a painstaking accounting of how McCarthy arrived at his conclusions ... Bardolators will want to read this book; for others, it’s an optional read.
RaveLibrary JournalBrennan effectively uses a range of primary sources to provide insight into what influenced Said’s thinking, and how he handled criticism of his noteworthy work ... While there is a great deal of theory in this sweeping biography, Brennan has succeeded in writing an account that is both an act of love and a solid study of a fascinating man.
Dennis C. Rasmussen
PositiveLibrary JournalRasmussen has produced a well-researched study that is a salutary read. He writes accessibly, explaining what motivated and worried each of these leaders. Concern for future generations and the fate of the republic is a recurring theme, and will also resonate with many readers today ... Though Written primarily for history lovers, this thought-provoking book may strike a chord with others as well.
David O. Stewart
RaveLibrary JournalIn this lively and admirable study, Stewart offers a balanced and thoughtfully well-written appreciation of George Washington’s life and leadership. A must for fans of biographies.
RaveLibrary JournalLee...is the perfect choice to write about Stoppard\'s riveting life ... Lee\'s knowledge of all the key players and discussions of Stoppard\'s writings are models of exposition, capturing a personality that is generous, supportive, and, well, fun ... A major biography of a major, and appealing, literary figure, this study will jump off the shelves.
RaveLibrary Journal... detailed ... The biographer draws on information unavailable to previous biographers and, in contrast to Norman Sherry’s three-volume study, doesn’t preoccupy himself with his subject’s repeated infidelities. Instead, he writes of a man steady in his work though unsteady in most else, including his mental health ... Greene’s life story is both interesting and fascinating, and this balanced account offers the best reading of how his personal life infused and enriched his work.
PositiveLibrary Journalan excellent study of post-war changes in what Betts refers to as \'the political language of civilization\' ... Betts’s admirable study slights neither Eastern nor Western efforts and proceeds to detail the complicated struggle of emerging African nations to define themselves rather than being defined by others postcolonization. This wide-ranging work also describes how Europeans hoped to put aside ideological differences in order to create a unified postindustrial society to present to the world ... This eminently readable study thoroughly details how European nations sought to redefine and rebuild themselves in the postwar era. It’s indispensable reading for those seeking to better understand modern world affairs.
David S. Brown
RaveLibrary JournalIn this masterful biography, Brown...appreciates Adams’s strengths and understands—and explains—his shortcomings ... Brown effectively shows how his subject’s views evolved over time ... Yet, he doesn’t shy away from dark times, such as the travels after the death of his wife ... This is a model of critical biography that will be appreciated by all lovers of history or biography.
PositiveLibrary JournalThe best pieces in this compilation are gems of smart prose ... The best of Sedaris’s writings revolve around his notoriously dysfunctional family. Sedaris mines their quirks for humor, but the description of their odd doings, often hilarious, is unvaryingly human. Regardless of the their idiosyncrasies, Sedaris loves his family and is thankful to be connected to them. He writes about them out of a well of humanness that makes them real and these pieces far from trivial. Combine that with a razor-sharp wit and a penchant for bons mots and you have a writer worth savoring ... This collection of favorite and beloved writings by an author with legions of fans is warm, witty, and guaranteed to please longtime and new readers alike.
PositiveLibrary Journal... a diverting read, but the plot stretches credibility. There are too many points where it could have gone wrong for the malefactor but doesn\'t. Still, Page is an appealing hero and the story is filled with action and suspense ... For lovers of puzzle-solving detective fiction in the style of Kathy Reichs.
PositiveLibrary JournalBlended with elements of mystery and high seas adventure, Turton’s second book is an enjoyable throwback to the exaggeratedly intellectual plotting of Golden Age crime fiction, not terribly believable but great fun to read.
PositiveLibrary JournalBringing these men together as a group draws attention to how their thought and action unfolded in response to new challenges and dispels any illusion that they were a monolithic bloc. Cheney is an adept writer who makes no wrong steps. Perfect for history buffs, though little new ground is tread.
PositiveLibrary JournalFollett has done it again. Readers will gobble up this exciting prequel to his 1989 classic, The Pillars of the Earth.
RaveLibrary JournalThe strengths of this latest procedural from the inimitable Penny will attract her longtime fans and also draw in new admirers. A deft touch with plotting, sensitive characterization, and the author’s warmth and humanity make this a must-have mystery, especially for collections owning the rest of series.
David A. Bell
PositiveLibrary Journal... thorough analysis ... This is a broad brush, but a solid study of a new political phenomenon: the emergence of the hero as political leader and public acclamation as their source of confirmation ... Carefully argued, Bell’s study should appeal to history lovers at all levels of expertise.
PositiveLibrary JournalThe conclusion wraps it up too tidily, but overall, this is a successful, creepy thriller. If you like Stephen King, you’ll probably like North’s new thriller, too.
PositiveLibrary JournalReaders of World War II literature and the history of the Nazi regime should find this a fascinating read.
RaveLibrary JournalAlexander’s adoration for Gershon shines through in every letter, and so do her observations on the opinions and foibles of the people around her. You’ll laugh out loud at unbuttoned descriptions of friends, family, and coworkers while learning more than you’d expect about life in London leading up and during to World War II ... This treasure trove of love letters, cultural history, and memoir should make a wonderful addition to all World War II collections.
K. Ferrari, Trans. by Adrian Nathan West
PositiveLibrary JournalThis amazing mix of crime novel and detective story—think Jim Thompson—is even more of a nightmare—think Kafka—stunning in its power and originality. It should entice foremost crime noir aficionados, with potential to break out to a wider audience
RaveLibrary JournalReaders may be put off by the denseness of the book’s prose, but that’s its power: the details of living in a far-past time surround and enrich the narrative ... Mantel has no equal in historical fiction at setting a scene, telling a compelling story, and delineating vibrant characters. Libraries won’t be able to keep this book on the shelves.
MixedLibrary JournalDespite some modern trimmings, this debut murder mystery is curiously old-fashioned, a throwback to Golden Age detective fiction, when sleuths such as Hercule Poirot and Philo Vance solved cases by observation, lots of talking, and sheer brain power ... The resolution, unnecessarily complicated, clanks at the joints ... Wegert’s first foray into mystery may be met with limited appeal for lovers of the genre but is overall a valiant effort.
Javier Cercas, Trans. by Anne McLean
PositiveLibrary Journal... a book as much about Spain’s troubled history as its subject, a promising young man who never had the chance to find out who he was or what he stood for ... This unusual offering is an effort to heal as much as it is a way to trace an uncertain history, and will appeal to readers seeking more background on Spain and others who admire good writing.
PositiveLibrary JournalInterspersed throughout are chapters detailing the skewed environment in which the complex dwellers lived, with the world outside not looking much better ... Adams’s debut is an effective, jolting dystopic novel that should appeal widely.
PositiveLibrary JournalChaffin has produced a comprehensive history of a long, mutually rewarding friendship ... This exceedingly well-written chronicle will please all history lovers.
PositiveLibrary JournalRosenstiel...crafts a book that offers the double pleasure of an exciting story and new knowledge--how vetting is carried on in today’s supercharged political world. Will appeal to all lovers of quality political thrillers.
RaveLibrary JournalThe authors muster an admirable wealth of examples, then simplify the analysis with diagrams and easily remembered labels ... There is a good deal of repetition in this work whose thesis is simple yet examples are complicated, but it doesn’t affect a well-written and argued treatise ... Indispensable reading for political scientists but also accessible enough to appeal to all educated readers.
PositiveLibrary JournalWe all know how this tale ended: Chamberlain fell, Churchill triumphed. Reading this book makes clear how it happened ... This fascinating study is a model of historical sleuthing. Vigorously researched, it should appeal widely to history buffs.
RaveLibrary JournalIn any novel by old pro Disher...the characters have substance, the plots are strong, the action is credible and swift. This outstanding work will appeal to all detective-o-philes.
RaveLibrary Journal... lively ... Vividly written and meticulously detailed, this book will please lovers of the history of literature and music, at the very least.
Timothy C. Winegard
MixedLibrary JournalWinegard doesn’t add new insight to this history, but his account makes it accessible for readers of natural history ... The bulk of the book, however, is little more than a potted summary of world history, with an emphasis on military campaigns, one of Winegard’s enthusiasms. Though the work begins and ends well, Winegard repeats the same points often, is prone to digression, and his deployment of footnotes is heavy-handed, sometimes jejune ... There’s room for a popular history on this fascinating topic, but readers should be cautioned that this study is uneven.
S. J. Rozan
PositiveLibrary JournalRozan’s detective stories have won every prize in the book, so expect mystery lovers to flock to this one.
RaveLibrary Journal[Budiansky] takes on the life and works of legal scholar and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. with insight and panache ... paints a nuanced picture of this exceptionally influential judge ... the author makes a dry life of the mind into a lively life of a man, and a very appealing one at that ... it’s refreshing to be reminded of Holmes’s ideas, which shaped American legal thinking for more than half a century ... A winner from start to finish, this is a natural fit for anyone who enjoys history or biography.
RaveLibrary JournalIn Guns, Germs, and Steel and later in Collapse, Diamond...demonstrated the ability to extract answers from unwieldy masses of information and apply it to understanding questions of today. This newest offering complements the former two and completes the author\'s trilogy by focusing on the resources six nations drew on to deal with crisis ... Diamond is a master at explicating matters of pressing importance. His earlier books garnered a vast readership, and there will be equal demand for this one, too.
PositiveLibrary Journal...an intriguing world history ... This account does not slight complicated historical connections ... The discussion of the rise of present-day poppy production in Afghanistan is a model of lucidity ... This timely account will interest advocates and concerned citizens. Inglis\'s skillful command of style will please them all.
RaveLibrary JournalFrom the start, mood dominates in this tale, which is both a conventional detective story and a tale of unquenchable fatherly love ... Harvey...weaves a story of deep emotional truth, with good people seeking to restore lost things and regretting their memories ... There\'s enough tension in this book to please any lover of a good detective story and quality writing that will satisfy general fiction fans.
RaveLibrary JournalThis second volume is just as definitive and revelatory [as the first volume] ... Leader is the ideal biographer for Bellow, who was a perfectionist in his work but led a complicated personal life, evenhandedly negotiating his way through the contradictory accounts of the writer\'s amazing journey ... This is biography at its best and will appeal widely.
PositiveLibrary JournalThe results are a mixed bag, but the best of the 14 pieces are quite good, ranging from a killer’s narrative post–2003 (Muhsin al-Ramli’s \'I Killed Her Because I Loved Her\') to an Agatha Christie–like tale of tribal vengeance set in the 1950s (\'Baghdad House\' by Ali Bader) ... The latest volume in Akashic’s \'Noir series\' maintains its high level of quality but adds a fillip: How do you address crime in a society that no longer has working protocols to cope with even the worst forms of violence? For mystery lovers.
RaveLibrary Journal\"The subject of this extraordinary novel is movie comic Stan Laurel. But he’s never referred to by name. It’s always \'he,\' \'his,\' or \'him.\' The conceit should be off-putting but somehow isn’t. It works, mirroring how Laurel sees himself: never at peace, only completed (and for the moment) when working with his partner \'Babe,\' Oliver Hardy, the fat man to his skinny one in classic comedy skits that span the ages of silent films and talkies ... Connolly makes his literary debut with this exceptional novel about a comic genius who never fully came to terms with his own worth. Who wouldn’t want to read this lovely book?\