MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewWhat does it mean, or really why does it matter, for New York, or any city, to have its character or ‘soul’ go missing? The essential pain is not in the disappearance of wherever it was that used to serve the best 3 a.m. souvlaki (Moss feels that pain viscerally and often too indulgently), but in the transformation of the city into a place that no longer accommodates failure, a place that disavows mediocrity in the human form … The pleasure (or agony, depending on your predilection) of reading Moss is his purity...For Moss there is only one hand, and it is the hand of menacing greed and self-interest … Perhaps the nostalgist is always impeded by myopia. New York has become a less just, less thrilling, less original place for Moss and many, many people like him. While this is indisputable, is it unequivocally bad for the world?
MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewKanigel, who has written several books, here favors recitation over response, unfurling the details of a life rather than grappling too aggressively with the ideas to which it gave birth ... Kanigel rightly tries to counter some of the deification around Jacobs’s cultural standing, leaving us with a work of wary appreciation that perhaps isn’t quite wary enough ... Kanigel’s book invites the rest of us to keep debating.