PanThe Sunday Times (UK)... a sprawling narrative that somehow makes the most astonishing (continuing) episode in our lives less rather than more interesting ... Admittedly Tooze is an economic historian, and for the great majority of people it is the role of scientists and doctors (and of humanity itself trying to cope with enforced isolation) that truly grips, not the struggles of central bankers and finance ministries to adapt monetary and fiscal policy to the scale of the challenge posed by Covid-19 ... Yet even on his chosen ground Tooze gives little sense of the tumultuous debate that must have been going on within governments at the highest level. For example, the words Rishi and Sunak do not appear in the 300-page text, although the British chancellor was the engineer of the furlough scheme that, at least in terms of UK policy, was the most significant and successful response to what the author rightly identifies as a unique economic challenge ... Tooze may well be right in theory, but then economists as a type tend to underestimate the political difficulties, at least in democracies, of enforcing their rational solutions. That, naturally, applies much less to China, where the People’s Liberation Army is always available, in the last resort, to enforce the diktats of the central committee of the Communist Party.
PositiveThe Sunday Times (UK)... The Tyranny of Merit...declares it unfair that so many of the rewards in life have gone to those fortunate enough to have been born with superior intelligence. Wooldridge’s work is a welcome retort to this argument; or at least I agree with his point that intelligence alone (the \'lucky genes\', as some have it) is never enough to produce extreme success, especially not in commercial life, where the big money is to be made. Wooldridge rightly stresses the importance of hard work ... The topic moves from contentious to potentially toxic when differences between national or ethnic groups enter the discussion ... Wooldridge, wisely, doesn’t attempt to define how much of this is down to upbringing—nurture—and how much to breeding—nature. I incline strongly to the former explanation. Whatever the reason, Wooldridge is sharp on how much the supposedly meritocratic American establishment sought to treat Jews like horses marked down in handicap races ... This book has some astounding facts to back up its argument[.]
PositiveThe Times (UK)... definitive ... this book by a distinguished British journalist is written in the American style with that country’s market in mind...That does not detract one whit from the seriousness and scrupulousness of Deer’s approach; his descriptions of the various (unsuccessful) attempts by other researchers to duplicate the results of Wakefield’s experiments demand considerable concentration on the part of the lay reader.
Deborah E Lipstadt
PositiveThe Times (UK)There is a Socratic precedent for this method of achieving enlightenment via a series of questions, and Lipstadt’s clearly crafted answers all make complete sense (though without any novel insights). However, it is strangely annoying to read \'Dear Professor Lipstadt, thank you for that sobering and thought-provoking series of letters.\' Such encomia read like the author complimenting herself on her own perceptiveness, given that these are not real letters ... She is, however, a real professor at a real American university and this structure does give a fascinating insight into the difficulties facing Jewish American students who regard themselves as on the liberal left, but are now deeply discomfited by the vituperative anti-Zionism among fellow students who in other respects they might see as political allies ... Given Lipstadt is a historian, I had expected more historical perspective on how the hard-left became disfigured in this way.
MixedThe TimesThis admirably lucid and concise book is a barely suppressed howl of rage on behalf of the \'left behind\' part of Collier’s family in Yorkshire, and a call for policies that would address their \'humiliations\'. ... If this is the future of capitalism, then it hasn’t got one.
RaveThe Times...as Edith Sheffer, an American historian who happens to have an autistic son, now sets out with impeccable research, Asperger, far from being a great man, knowingly participated in the pseudo-medical eugenics programme that murdered disabled children in Nazi-controlled Vienna ... Sheffer’s Asperger’s Children...is the first book to dig into the depths of his complicity — and to explain how his political and medical opinions combined to produce such a depraved outcome ... For this reader, the father of a 22-year-old with Down’s syndrome, the most distressing passages in Sheffer’s book are the description of the fate of children with this condition, roughly 10% of those done away with in Spiegelgrund’s Pavilion 15 ... As Sheffer suggests at the end of her searing, wonderfully written book, the least that can be done to honour the memory of those children killed in his name is to excise it from popular use.