RaveThe Wall Street Journal... Wallace has made a taut nonfiction thriller out of the dramatic days between Harry S. Truman’s succession to the presidency ... Structured as a series of datelined vignettes and fashioned as a countdown, the narrative lopes through its well-chosen selection of historical moments. This is a deeply absorbing reading experience about the fateful final months of a conflict that deserves to be known in detail to all Americans. It is what a popular history book should be: propulsively paced; well researched in primary sources; and written with sympathetic imagination, bringing people to life in their important moments. It will encourage and enrich many conversations on its subject ... Wallace gives us a rich cast of characters ... vivid and engaging portraits ... Hirohito’s dramatic conference with his war council is unaccountably not part of the book’s sequence of dramatic vignettes. Nonetheless, for its vividly drawn coverage of the American side of these pivotal events, the book is deservedly the nonfiction blockbuster of the season.
MixedThe Wall Street Journal...Ms. Hillenbrand has a gift for dusting off history and presenting it as compelling drama ... In beautifully paced action sequences, Ms. Hillenbrand brings alive the dangers not only of aerial combat but also of simply flying over wide-open ocean ... She writes vividly of the aviator\'s life in the Pacific theater ... Her staging of Mr. Zamperini\'s descent into captivity in a similarly dramatic way is gripping, if slightly synthetic too ... Many readers may wish that Ms. Hillenbrand had dwelt more on the man she has known for seven years. She doesn\'t show us much of the hero in repose or illuminate how his wartime trials look to him in the sunset years.
RaveThe Wall Street JournalIn The China Mission, Daniel Kurtz-Phelan, the executive editor of Foreign Affairs, skillfully tells the story of Marshall’s quixotic and forlorn diplomatic initiative. Deeply researched and written with verve, the book ought to be read by any U.S. foreign-policy maker practicing diplomacy in Asia. Marshall’s oft-forgotten experience in Asia has been covered before, notably in Forrest C. Pogue’s four-volume life (1963-87). But Mr. Kurtz-Phelan has performed a service in reviving this important episode with such aplomb, rigor and pace.