PositiveThe New York TimesHow Whipple measures the president’s progress... matters a bit less than Whipple’s own accomplishment: publishing a serviceable second draft of history less than two years after Biden took the oath of office ... At its best, Whipple’s comprehensive approach adds dimension to the news stream ... At its worst, the book’s iterative structure feels like scrolling a dated Twitter timeline in which the vaccination drive is defeating Covid-19, and Biden’s effort to curb climate change is doomed to failure ... Whipple shines when, like the documentarian he is, he lets people talk ... For any future writer eager to describe Biden’s first two years, this will be the book cited first and most often. Those eager to really understand the historic impact and import of the Biden presidency, however, will likely require a sequel.
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review... earnest, engaging ... If the story of the 33rd president’s commitment, which at first aided only peoples in Greece and Turkey, is familiar, Scarborough’s focus on Truman and other elected officials is not. By crediting wily politicians for America’s Cold War policy instead of the wise men in the government’s bureaucracy, Scarborough reminds readers that long telegrams like George Kennan’s and policy memorandums from the State Department don’t make successful doctrines; politicians do ... does not uncover many new historical facts — Scarborough rightly drops the names of books he leveraged for his own — but its rediscovery of the politicians’ role in the Cold War comes at just the right time. Today, those talking on cable news and hoping soon to walk the corridors of government in a new administration do not lack for grand plans to deal with the coronavirus, competition with China or any other foreign policy challenge. Instead, as Scarborough’s book reminds us, they just need political support in an exhausted, divided country, or at least the political touch — and occasional \'gust of hot air\' — to build it.