RaveThe New York Times Book Review... remarkable ... Anthologies are rarely remarkable. It is extremely unusual for any number of iconic writers (much less 27 of them) to team up in defense of their literary hero, but Blauner’s table of contents reads like a Who’s Who of Intelligent Modern Prose ... This collection amplifies the wisdom of Thoreau for an age that is frequently hard of hearing.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review... smoothly translated ... argues compellingly ... Readers drawn to Sarah Bakewell’s best-selling At the Existentialist Café will appreciate this accessible and deeply human treatment of four thinkers who are notoriously incomprehensible ... To be clear: Eilenberger’s latest is not an easy read. It is, however, worth the difficulty. He patiently draws these four intellectual magi out of the shadows of their writings, which often tend toward complete opacity. The result is not a book of academic philosophy but rather an intellectual history that largely succeeds in bringing philosophy to life ... a timely and worthwhile read. Eilenberger’s \'magicians\' are household names in Germany and much of Europe — which may partially account for the book’s success abroad — but they are relatively unknown in the United States. Eilenberger makes a good case for their familiarity even when the magic that they practiced veered toward the dark arts ... One of Eilenberger’s achievements is to explain Heidegger’s efforts to position himself as the hero and sorcerer of post-World War I Germany and therefore foreshadow his full-throated support of the Nazi regime as it came to power ... an invitation to philosophize, an activity of seeing the world a little more clearly by clarifying the language and thoughts that we use to describe it.
PositiveThe Wall Street Journal\"How to Disappear runs against modernity’s most basic urge—our desperate desire to be seen—and therefore risks [being overlooked]. But it is precisely Ms. Busch’s subtle contrarianism that deserves our sustained attention ... On the surface, How to Disappear is a palliative for the alienation that modern overexposure begets. Ms. Busch would like to save us from ourselves, from the lonely fate that afflicts Narcissus, his eyes forever locked on the only person he has ever truly loved—himself. But in its deeper moments, the book touches on an abiding, but easily forgotten, truth: Disappearing, the act of losing our selves, is a precondition of selflessness. Ms. Busch’s deeper concern is to save not Narcissus but rather the wider world his selfishness affects.\
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewHall’s new book clears a rare middle way for her reader to pursue happiness, what the ancient Greeks called eudaimonia, usually translated as well-being or prosperity ... Hall excels when she is at her most frank ... I finished Hall’s book largely convinced but equally worried: Was this the sort of message that could reach the readership that needed it most? Could a virtuous happiness trump greed and cynicism? Maybe ... Those most in need of ethical training are probably the least likely to spend $27 on a moral guidebook. There is, however, hope.
RaveThe Wall Street JournalIn The Cloister, Mr. Carroll...has produced a sweeping, beautifully crafted book—perhaps his best yet—that draws readers into the inner sanctum of Christianity, with its shameful contradictions but also its enduring possibilities. He conveys a vital lesson about religiously inspired violence and the prospect for peace but avoids being heavy-handed, instead toggling lightly between two fraught moments in history. He weaves together a complex story of spiritual traditions and their lasting political legacies.
RaveThe Wall Street Journal...one of the most accurate, and therefore most harrowing, accounts of depression to be written in the last century ... Ms. Merkin speaks candidly and beautifully about aspects of the human condition that usually remain pointedly silent ... he book reads like Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar stripped of its novelistic turns and symbolism ... a rare insight that dawns only in the twilight of a life like Ms. Merkin’s: that this deep, but not uncommon, sadness is not a condition to be cured but to be weathered.