PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewHolzer’s fat volume gives us a panoramic survey of the most contentious president-on-press brawls from the past two and a quarter centuries, providing both the scholar and the general reader with valuable perspective on the current bout between Trump and reporters ... Holzer focuses on 18 of the 45 presidents and avoids taking sides, although I must say I’ve rarely seen President Bill Clinton so sympathetically portrayed ... Holzer’s best chapters are the ones on Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.
RaveSlateThe saga that unfolds in Personal History, Katharine Graham’s 625-page autobiography, is worthy of a Joseph Campbell exegesis: A young Wall Street king, Eugene Meyer, marries his aggressive queen, Agnes, and they spawn a royal family of four princesses and a prince. Dominated by their overbearing literary mother and ignored by their dismissive multimillionaire father, these virtual orphans are raised by governesses and servants. Frumpy Princess Katharine shivers with inadequacy ... Most autobiographies are more about concealing than telling, but Graham ropes off relatively little. Her children’s personal lives are deliberately excised from the book ... Graham’s aptly named book crosscuts between the engrossing social history of her life and times–populated by the likes of Marie Curie, Edward Steichen, Auguste Rodin, Thomas Mann...–and her agonizing personal history.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review\"Joe Hagan paints the rogue’s life of the Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner with a brush made of stinging nettles, rasping the famed editor’s reputation on nearly every page ... Hagan swings the biographer’s baton with authority, telling Rolling Stone’s story while capturing Wenner in all his ragged glory ... Sticky Fingers excels in conveying the complexity of the most intimate and least covered part of Wenner’s life: his sexuality ... Sticky Fingers makes excellent use of the dozens of hours of interviews Wenner gave him along with 500 boxes of notes, pictures, postcards, recordings, correspondence and other material Wenner started saving at an early age in anticipation of this very biography. Wenner so treasured these archives that he stored them in a vault for safekeeping during the Three Mile Island meltdown. Hagan never locates Wenner’s Rosebud in the hoard, but comes ever so close to writing his Citizen Kane.\
PanThe New York Times Book ReviewBy my rough count, excerpts from the motelkeeper’s sex journal make up about 80 of the book’s 233 pages, rendering Foos a partner in duet with Talese if not his uncredited co-author ... Read as erotica, the Foos-Talese collaboration does not arouse. Viewed as a social history it doesn’t enlighten. Approached as a scientific investigation his work is not even crackpot ... As you might suspect, Talese writes with his usual elegance, putting a stylistic shine on his end of the collaboration. But the journalistic enterprise that was on display in his earlier work about sex is absent here as Talese fails to find something insightful to say about his taboo-shattering motelier. The novelistic techniques of New Journalism succeed in putting him and the reader inside Gerald Foos’s now-famous crawl space, but they never really extricate him from the banality of the peep hole.