RaveThe Spectator (UK)... powerful and original ... The broad dysfunction is interwoven with personal details, which brings the crisis alive ... if much of the book’s emotional power is channelled through its coverage of daily life in 2020, its analytical force is found in the broader themes it considers.
RaveThe Washington Post... a rarity: a book that is both important and gripping. It is Kaiser’s account of her time working for SCL Group and its spinoff company Cambridge Analytica. And it is a vital story to tell ... could not be more contemporary ... what makes Kaiser’s book so vital is that it covers far more than just this. Beyond the story of the rise and fall of Cambridge Analytica, it is about the experience that awaits all of us in a society that has reconfigured itself around a new and overarching source of power: data ... The book, [Kaiser] says, is part of the same urge to make amends, which she does with aplomb. Kaiser knows how to tell a story (it helps to have such great material), and the prose is energetic and clear. Her style is, on occasion, jarring and labored ... She also too often settles for the cliche...But this rarely distracts from the message of a book that is urgent and profound ... And it is profound because it is ultimately a cautionary tale about the new data-centric world in which we live.
RaveThe New Republic...what happens to society when information ceases to be scarce? This is the question Peter Pomerantsev explores in his finely written and deeply intelligent This is Not Propaganda ... Pomerantsev’s thesis is simple: In an age of information abundance, the belief that the best ideas will triumph has been discredited ... We now have access to more information than ever but facts are losing their power ... Yet Pomerantsev decries the idea of censoring the web. To lie is after all, not illegal—and nor should it be. This logic, he argues, rolls back the gains made by those who fought for freedom of expression ... He concedes that regulation does have a role but is often inadequate or wrong—a panicked response from governments still unable to properly understand the Internet. What is needed is transparency. We are all in the dark about the precise nature of, say, Facebook’s algorithm, which presents information to us in ways we cannot understand and for reasons we cannot discern, and which Pomerantsev correctly observes is therefore a form of censorship in itself. Break open the Facebook algorithm, he says, and let us know who exactly is trying to influence us.
RaveThe New RepublicA masterpiece of scholarship, a ground-breaking history, and a heart-wrenching story … As with all Applebaum books, Red Famine places personal anecdote in the context of broader history, showing through an alternately widening and narrowing lens both the political context and personal tragedy of the Holodomor. The book benefits from large troves of previously unavailable sources, as Applebaum has taken advantage of the extensive Ukrainian archives that have opened up since the collapse of the USSR … Red Famine, as the most complete exploration to date of one of the twentieth century’s greatest atrocities, stands both as a work of huge historical importance and contemporary relevance. But above all it is a book of great emotional power, which stems directly from Applebaum’s willingness to give space to Ukrainian voices.