MixedThe New YorkerMoyn’s argument goes beyond the expected humanitarian critique—the Tolstoyan concern that mannerly military action could promote further suffering ... Moyn’s objective of challenging the legitimacy of American power leads to some unusual choices of villains: the modern-day targets of his book are not the warmongers but the lawyers and the humanitarians who have opposed the violation of civil and human rights ... Must one choose between being against torture and being against war? Moyn suggests that opposing war crimes blinds us to the crime of war. If this is an empirical claim, it’s contradicted by the facts ... The difficulty with his \'heighten the contradictions\' approach is that contradictions can stay heightened indefinitely ... Moyn’s analysis is further hampered by a preoccupation with legalism; he largely neglects the fact that much military restraint is attributable less to law than to technology ... Moyn’s maximalism makes these distinctions irrelevant: if war can’t be abolished, he suggests, any attempt to make it more humane is meaningless or worse. In his desire for a better world, one liberated from American global power, he comes close to licensing carnage.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review... richly eclectic ... not a long book, only 272 pages of text, but it’s as colorful and tightly woven as a Persian carpet, showing us not just the many ways that men and women make war, but how war makes women and men. In another scholar’s hands, War might come across as a work of dry political theory, but as anyone who has read Paris 1919 — her vivid account of the Versailles Conference at the end of World War I — can attest, MacMillan writes with enormous ease, and practically every page of this book is interesting, even entertaining ... The greatest pleasures of this book are the historical anecdotes, moments and quotations that MacMillan marshals on nearly every page to illustrate her points. They are bold, arresting and various, and they make the book come alive.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review\"What a story it is. And what a riveting tale Lawrence Wright fashions in this marvelous book. The Looming Tower is not just a detailed, heart-stopping account of the events leading up to 9/11, written with style and verve, and carried along by villains and heroes that only a crime novelist could dream up. It’s an education, too—though you’d never know it—a thoughtful examination of the world that produced the men who brought us 9/11, and of their progeny who bedevil us today.\
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewIn The Burning Shores, the American scholar Frederic Wehrey traces Libya’s troubles from the beginning of the revolution to its current upheavals, marking the critical moments along the way. The result is uneven and sometimes a little hard to follow; even so, Wehrey’s version should be read and appreciated as the essential text on the country’s disintegration ... Wehrey crisscrossed the country, flew back and forth along the coast, and sat with warlords and Islamists of uncertain intentions ... the only characters who make a lasting impression in the book are a liberal-minded human rights lawyer named Salwa Bugaighis, who had high hopes for the country but was killed by Islamist militiamen shortly after the revolution, and Chris Stevens, the American ambassador who died in an attack on the embassy in Benghazi in 2012. The last days of Stevens, a humane and fearless diplomat, are vividly recounted ... For as far as we can see into the future, Libya’s chaos will be landing right on the West’s doorstep.
RaveThe New York Times Sunday Book ReviewKlay succeeds brilliantly, capturing on an intimate scale the ways in which the war in Iraq evoked a unique array of emotion, predicament and heartbreak. In Klay’s hands, Iraq comes across not merely as a theater of war but as a laboratory for the human condition in extremis … Each story calls forth a different dilemma or difficult moment, nearly all of them rendered with an exactitude that conveys precisely the push-me pull-you feelings the war evoked: pride, pity, elation and disgust, often pulsing through the same character simultaneously … Klay has a nearly perfect ear for the language of the grunts — the cursing, the cadence, the mixing of humor and hopelessness. They are among the best passages in the book, which, unfortunately, are unfit for a family newspaper.
PanThe New YorkerIn four hundred-plus pages, there is almost no mention of the changes that have transformed the Israeli polity in the past six decades, and surprisingly little discussion of the steady growth in the settlement population, which now exceeds half a million.