PanThe New York Times Book ReviewLevingston spends much of Barack and Joe dwelling on the public-facing aspect of — and public response to — their \'bromance.\' ... What Barack and Joe fails to do is shed much new light on the private nature of the two men’s relationship. The nonfiction book editor of The Washington Post, Levingston...appears to have done little original reporting of his own, interviewing only a handful of people who observed the relationship up close ... As a result, Barack and Joe frequently reads like a rehash of episodes and events that are already well known, with seemingly minor matters being afforded undue significance if only because they’ve previously been well documented ... Even worse, Barack and Joe is written in a cloying style...that seems better suited to a children’s book than a sophisticated political account.
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review\"... [a] sweeping, rollicking, sometimes breezy political and cultural back story to our current moment ... Tomasky proposes a raft of reforms to get us out of the polarized mess we find ourselves in. Some, like ending partisan gerrymandering and getting rid of the Senate filibuster, are familiar. Others, like reviving \'moderate Republicanism,\' are probably futile. But some of his proposals — including starting \'foreign\' exchange programs within the United States so students from rural areas spend a semester at a high school in a city, and vice versa — are both realistic and novel. Indeed, the most helpful — if sobering — point Tomasky makes is that while our current troubles created the conditions that brought us a President Trump, those troubles would exist no matter who was in the White House. And it will take much more than a new occupant to fix them.\
David Cay Johnston
PanThe New York Times Book Review'The Trump administration deposited political termites throughout the structure of our government,' Johnston argues ...
Johnston sets out to shine a bright light on these termites ... Other times, Johnston seems out of his depth, particularly when he strays from domestic politics ... Although Johnston has been writing about Trump for almost three decades, he doesn’t offer any new or keen insights into Trump’s psychology and character ... Indeed, It’s Even Worse Than You Think winds up making the opposite point of the one Johnston intends: In the realm of policy, what the Trump administration is doing to America, so far at least, is not as horrible as you feared.
Jean Edward Smith
MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewSmith offers an exhaustive, excruciating autopsy of the American invasion [of Iraq] and its bloody aftermath ... Smith’s theory about Bush’s 'personalization of presidential power' sometimes leads him to let other administration officials off the historical hook ... Smith’s biography of Bush unearths little new information on its subject. Most of Bush relies on previous books by journalists like Peter Baker, Robert Draper and Bob Woodward or the memoirs of key figures including Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and Bush himself. Nonetheless, Smith is an able synthesizer who weaves together a readable if often workmanlike narrative out of these sources. More important, despite his unremittingly negative assessment, Smith is neither a partisan nor a polemicist.