MixedThe Washington PostThis broad-gauged approach is at once the strength of the book and its weakness. The literature on World War II includes biographies of all the major actors and histories of the principal institutions. But no one before Lacey has wrangled such a large cast and covered so much bureaucratic ground. There is scarcely a significant quarrel or even mild dispute that Lacey doesn’t address, except the ones he deliberately avoids ... The weakness of the book is that the reader sometimes gets lost among all the characters ... This is great fun, and enlightening after a fashion, but the reader can wish for a more judicious weighting of the vignettes according to the heft of the participants. A similar reaction applies to coverage of topics. Lacey devotes a page to D-Day and a chapter to the Morgenthau Plan. Even if the punitive blueprint for postwar Germany had been adopted — it wasn’t — the largest amphibious operation in history deserves better.
RaveThe Washington PostRosen aptly observes that by some measures — trusts prosecuted, acreage protected, tariffs reduced — Taft was more progressive than Roosevelt. Yet his style could hardly have been less Rooseveltian. Rosen makes a compelling argument for Taft’s importance as a conservator of the Constitution on the subject of presidential powers ... For all her pushiness, Nellie was his true love, and the attention he devoted to her recovery after a stroke is deeply moving.
PositiveThe Washington PostCowan tells his story with great verve ... portraying a pre-radio, pre-television, pre-Internet time when politics was conducted face to face.