PositiveThe Washington Post\"A dogged researcher and gifted writer, Philipps turns the story of Gallagher’s rise, his alleged war crimes and the botched Navy prosecution into an infuriating, fast-paced thriller ... How did Vriens get to that point? It\'s a question I wish the book had spent more time trying to answer. In Philipps’s telling, Gallagher is a soulless master manipulator who goads his men into committing war crimes in a devious effort to prevent them from turning on him. But in portraying Gallagher as a super-criminal Svengali, Philipps risks letting the Navy SEALs and their leadership off the hook ... \'empathy, restraint, and the ability to stay on course in the stormy morality of combat\' ... The inescapable conclusion from reading Philipps’s book is that the SEALs lack these critical attributes and that the blame for those shortcomings extends far beyond the moral failings of Eddie Gallagher.
MixedThe Washington PostThe smart and engaging first half of the book tracks the rise of the presidency, beginning with its origins as a radical new idea ... There’s an element of truth to Suri’s argument. But by focusing on the presidents and their schedules, Suri overlooks the many changes underway in the country and the world outside the White House. As a result, by the time we get to Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Obama, Suri’s presidential portraits seem less clear-sighted ... There’s no doubt that the office of the presidency has changed since the nation’s earliest days, and Suri’s effort to trace its long expansion is worthwhile and important. But the truth may be that the country has grown too big, diverse and messy for one man or woman to represent it.