PositiveThe London Review of Books...autobiographical writing of a very high order, well towards the life-over-art end of the spectrum. ‘The trouble with life (the novelist will feel) is its amorphousness, its ridiculous fluidity,’ Amis announces at the start of the book ... The engrossing result is a memoir that is almost remorselessly interesting; as if there has been an energising liberation in abandoning the constraints and demands of form ... The depiction of Martin and Kingsley’s relationship is one of the most remarkable son-father accounts we have; as good as Gosse, but without the rancour ... There are dark things in Experience but it is not a dark book, not least because of the extraordinary absence of the bitterness and anger Amis would be thoroughly entitled to feel about the British press.
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review... gripping, depressing, revelatory ... Climate change is a tragedy, but Rich makes clear that it is also a crime — a thing that bad people knowingly made worse, for their personal gain. That, I suspect, is one of the many aspects to the climate change battle that posterity will find it hard to believe, and impossible to forgive.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review... brilliant ... At the heart of Wallace-Wells’s book is a remorseless, near-unbearable account of what we are doing to our planet ... gives readers’ emotions a thorough workout along that pessimism-to-despair spectrum, before we are brought round to the writer’s \'acceptance of responsibility.\' I stress the emotional aspect because it is crucial: We are facing a call to action that we are, on the evidence of our behavior so far, likely to ignore, unless we directly feel its urgency.
PositiveThe New Yorker\"Blom does the sensible thing and dodges a final verdict on what caused all those vicious winters ... This is a sweeping story, embracing developments in economics and science, philosophy and exploration, religion and politics. Blom delivers much of his argument through compressed, beautifully clear life sketches of prominent men ... In the course of Nature’s Mutiny... we travel a considerable distance from the subject of unusually cold weather. Too far, a reader might think, for Blom’s argument to be regarded as a case conclusively settled. But it wouldn’t be fair to Nature’s Mutiny to see the issue of proof so starkly. It is a book about a new economic system and the philosophical and cultural trends that accompanied it; climate is central to the story that it tells, but the connections don’t aim for the solidity of algebraic logic. Rather, Blom is seeking to give us a larger picture that is relevant to the current moment. His book is about links and associations rather than about definitive proof; it is about networks and shifts in intellectual mood, about correlations as much as causes. Despite that, Blom’s hypothesis is forceful, and has the potential to be both frightening and, if you hold it up to the light at just the right angle, a little optimistic. The idea can be put like this: climate change changes everything.\
James C. Scott
PositiveThe New YorkerIn Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States, James C. Scott, a professor of political science at Yale, presents a plausible contender for the most important piece of technology in the history of man ... We don’t give the technology of fire enough credit, Scott suggests, because we don’t give our ancestors much credit for their ingenuity over the long period — ninety-five per cent of human history — during which most of our species were hunter-gatherers ...extends these ideas into the deep past, and draws on existing research to argue that ours is not a story of linear progress, that the time line is much more complicated, and that the causal sequences of the standard version are wrong ... These events are usually spoken of as \'collapses,\' but Scott invites us to scrutinize that term, too.
RaveThe New YorkerThis latest installment has all the classic ingredients: a great setting (Hamburg), a good villain, and a mystery that draws you in efficiently, escalates unpredictably, and has a satisfying resolution ... There is a big fight scene, and interesting details about Cold War history and missing nukes. All good stuff. It would be surprising if the book didn’t become the twelfth Reacher novel to make it to the top of the best-seller list.
PositiveThe New York Review of Books...illuminating and entertaining ... Gleick has great fun telling the story of the scientists and the thinkers who touch on his subject ... There’s a lot going on here, and there isn’t a paragraph in Gleick’s book without good sentences and fascinating information. I have to admit, though, that I also found something frustrating in the experience of grappling with these ideas. After reading Time Travel twice, I’ve come to the conclusion that my difficulties are not so much with the book as with the subject itself.