PanThe New RepublicWhy one billion? The author is surprisingly hazy on this point ... Yglesias has neither the visionary scope nor the technical expertise to make any of this remotely plausible as a sustained argument ... He has no theory of political power or change, no idea how any of this will come to pass ... Yglesias is an enthusiastic opinion-haver, but he is no autodidact: He lacks interest in the particularities and provenance of ideas that often obsess the self-taught ... this lack of interest in either real ideas or practical details means that even when Yglesias is sorta right, he is often yawningly, astonishingly wrong.
P. E Moskowitz
PositiveThe New RepublicThe reportage is more engrossing than the history, which can occasionally shade into a kind of term-paper gloss on complex events and politics ... This hurried campus history is a disappointment, because unlike most of the mainstream press, Moskowitz treats the concerns of students and young people seriously. Their approach is a refreshing contrast with well-heeled newspaper columnists and magazine opinion writers, who have found it easy to characterize college students as privileged, fragile \'snowflakes\' unable to cope with the hurly-burly of rigorous, free-wheeling debate ... The Case Against Free Speech is a sometimes flawed but necessary book, one that I hope people will read and argue with, and one that I hope spawns both some more rigorous histories of political conceptions of speech as well as some more pointed polemics aiming at the sacrosanctity of the First Amendment, which could stand to be a site of contestation rather than blindly awed reverence.
PanThe New RepublicThe book, whose subtitle is The Quest for a Moral Life, combines Brooks’s patented brand of quick-sketch pop sociology with a heartfelt but paper-thin and incomplete religious conversion narrative ... he wishes our society...would consider more deeply the communal ethos of Christianity ... He does not, of course, want a more communal society. You will find no suggestion here that capitalism, the ubiquitous ordering economic and social system of our entire civilization, produces consumerist individualism ... The Second Mountain loves examples, but it eschews specifics. In a late section on community building, for example, it races through a litany of community groups and non-profits, to zero cumulative effect ... For a book that so confidently outlines a hike toward happiness, it is notably hard to follow. The book’s tone alternates, sometimes within a single paragraph, between the citation-heavy pop psychology of a TED talk and the aw-shucks wisdom of a homily at a prosperous stone church in a D.C. suburb. Meanwhile, the concepts Brooks leans on most heavily are both elusive and parsed within an inch of their lives ... The Second Mountain reads as if it’s an early draft that was inexplicably rushed to print. It has the inchoate quality of an idea that’s still gestating.
RaveThe Pittsburgh Post-GazetteThe Argonauts is an exemplary, uncomfortable and lovely book, and it’s a book that actually merits the utter cliché: It really makes you think. Ms. Nelson is a funny, needy, prickly, erudite and charming character. She gets angry and makes you angry, but more often you’ll find yourself laughing with both delighted and rueful recognition of the messy lives she takes such evident pleasure in living and living with.