RaveThe Star Tribune... a work of staggering depth that brings us into the search for the oldest human ... Pattison deftly weaves strands of science, sociology and political science into a compelling tale that stretches over decades. His discussions of scientific theories and phenomena are sophisticated enough for the expert yet clear and understandable to the novice ... He spent more than five years researching the book, including several trips to the dig sites. The amount of material he juggles is astounding, yet he never loses the thread. His prose is lively and accessible, bringing to life topics that could be insufferably dry and dense in the wrong hands ... Like any good mystery, Pattison’s tale is brimming with scoundrels, heroes, wrong turns and surprising twists. It’s an ambitious work that fully justifies the extraordinary effort that went into it, both by the fossil men and by the writer who chronicled their work.
RaveThe Minneapolis Star Tribune... meticulously researched ... brings alive the bizarre and chaotic arc of Strang’s life, as he seized his opportunity to accumulate power, money and multiple wives before being gunned down by rivals ... America’s history is rich with tales of frauds and fakers who successfully bamboozled their fellows. In Harvey’s lively and insightful book, he shows why Strang deserves to be remembered as a prime exemplar of the type.
RaveThe Star Tribune... fascinating and accessible ... It’s a broad panorama, encompassing everything from Churchill’s lavish personal spending habits to the squalor of bomb shelters in the London Underground to the fast-paced development of military technology ... The entire book comes at the reader with breakneck speed. So much happened so quickly in those 12 months, yet Larson deftly weaves all the strands of his tale into a coherent and compelling whole ... We know how things turned out, of course. The Brits survived the Blitz, the Americans eventually joined the fray and Hitler wound up killing himself in a Berlin bunker ... But that first year, when Britain was staggering on the ropes, only to gather itself and push on, makes for a lively and urgent read.
RaveThe Star Tribune...a helluva good look at The Human Experience ... His stories are by turns sweet, rueful, horrifying and impossibly serendipitous ... There’s no real theme tying his stories together; the book reads like one of those compilations popular with journalists in the pre-Internet era, with titles like The Best Newswriting of 1986. But those books were good reads, and this one is, too. You’ll find it a collection of ripping yarns. That they don’t knit together into a whole doesn’t lessen the enjoyment of reading a master storyteller.
RaveThe Star Tribune... the tale that emerges is fascinating ... Maraniss includes an absorbing account of the fighting in Spain...On this and other topics, he builds a thorough foundation, allowing the reader to fully appreciate the motivations of the leftist Americans who eventually would be caught in the net of McCarthyism and the House Committee on Un-American Activities ... In recounting his family saga, David Maraniss has wisely followed the precept his father delivered to the House Un-American Activities Committee: \'To properly measure a man’s Americanism you must know the whole pattern of a life\' ... Maraniss presents the whole pattern of a generation of young, idealistic Americans — and, ultimately, of one brave and stubborn man who refused to give up his belief in what America stands for.
RaveThe Star Tribune\"Relying on period writings and on-the-ground interviews, Huckelbridge paints a vivid portrait of the forces that coalesced in British colonial India at the dawn of the 20th century ... Huckelbridge writes with authority and clarity, deftly weaving strands of economics, sociology and history, explaining how changes to a land and its people upset natural systems that had held for millennia ... No Beast So Fierce excels as an intelligent social history and a gripping tale of life and death in the Himalayan foothills.\
RaveStar TribuneKurt Eichenwald has written one of the best thrillers I’ve read in years, yet there are no detectives, no corpses, no guns or knives ... Eichenwald, an accomplished journalist and author of several bestselling books, builds tension effectively throughout his narrative. As each outrageous turn of fortune worsens his fate, his indignation—and the reader’s—builds ... Determined not to become a victim of his disorder, and society’s misunderstanding of it, Eichenwald transforms into an aggressive protagonist in his own story, defying doctors and employers, realizing that only he can effectively advocate for himself. Yet he’s generous in his praise of those who did help him along the way ... With unimaginable fortitude, he pieced together his life,
Deborah Fallows and James Fallows
RaveThe Star TribuneAs the authors dropped from the sky into communities from Sioux Falls, S.D., to Duluth, to Ajo, N.M., to Burlington, Vt., to St. Mary’s, Ga., they slowly pieced together a list of qualities that determine why some communities make it and others don’t. Among them: innovative schools, true public-private partnerships and real, thriving downtowns ... Superbly reported, cleanly and briskly written, brimming with real-life solutions, this is a book for anyone who cares about the life of American communities.
RaveThe Minneapolis Star TribuneJournalistic tut-tutting aside, Wood’s mixture of fact and art yields a tale both gritty and introspective, with a real murder providing an entree to an examination of the nature of love ... But he also does much more, reaching back into his own memories to uncover precise, artfully rendered recollections of his own life and loves, juxtaposing them with the impending tragedy on Anna Maria Island. Wood’s prose is detailed yet deft; he stops just short of laying on the writerly stuff too thick ... This is a fine true-crime mystery and a touching journey into the human heart.
Elisabeth Asbrink, Trans. by Fiona Graham
PositiveThe Star TribuneThe year and the book begin slowly, with a feeling of disconnection. But as they roll on, Åsbrink’s fragments take shape as a coherent form, much as an artwork that creates one large picture by putting together many small ones. And the central theme that finally emerges is that of the Middle East — the struggle between Jews looking for a homeland and Arabs seeking to keep hold of their own ... Her story develops a power that needs no metaphor to help explain it. It’s a tale of the things that make up the essence of human existence: love, family, uncertainty, horror, belonging.
MixedThe Minneapolis Star TribuneAuthor Bryan Mealer sets his tale against the backdrop of seminal currents in 20th-century American life: the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl migration, the boom and bust of Texas oil fields. Generations of the Mealer family live, love, fight, drink and scratch for a living in an often unforgiving world, bemoaning the ‘Mealer luck’ with every new misfortune … Mealer, a veteran journalist, is an excellent writer. His prose is warm and lively. But his story ultimately fails to reach its goal. We learn a great deal about how one family dealt with its own struggle for existence. We’re offered few insights on why their struggle would matter to anyone outside their orbit.
RaveThe Minneapolis Star TribuneAndersen takes a long look at how we got to the point where we'd elect a bankrupt casino operator, mail-order meat vendor, lewd beauty-pageant huckster and reality TV star to the office once held by Lincoln, Washington and Truman. The answer, which Andersen develops masterfully, entertainingly and just a bit long-windedly, is that we've taken leave of our rationality. As a nation, we've given ourselves over to make-believe, thinking more like children than adults.
RaveThe Minneapolis Star TribuneBased on interviews, first-person sources and published material, author Ben Mezrich has woven a fast-paced, compelling account of the real-life researchers who inhabit the literal frontiers of the planet and the symbolic frontiers of genetic science ... [Mezrich] displays a deft hand with science, translating the complexity of genetic biology into terms understandable to the average reader. There’s no sense of deus ex machina about how a mammoth could be re-created; the reader understands, step by step, how it could be achieved at the most fundamental level ... the slightly flat ending doesn’t detract from a book that’s informative and entertaining. It’s that rare creature: a book about science that would qualify as a beach read.
PositiveThe Minneapolis StarIn tracing the path of the magenta over more than 160 years, Barron touches on the history of postal service, the legal wrangles of the rich and powerful, and the change in collectibles from hobby to investment portfolio. He describes the larger-than-life personalities who have owned the magenta, including John E. du Pont, the chemical heir whose privileged life devolved into madness and murder ... Barron got the idea for his book after writing a newspaper story about the stamp, and his work has the feeling of an entertaining, in-depth magazine story that’s been padded out to book length. But the key is 'entertaining.' The voyage into Stamp World is like the world itself: detailed, ruminative and filled with arcane detours ultimately leading to a destination whose rewards are subtle yet satisfying.
RaveThe Minneapolis Star\"Frankel introduces a host of extras who were part of the scene, including staunch Commie foe John Wayne and a B-list actor named Ronald Reagan, who at the time was the liberal president of the Screen Actors Guild but was heading down the path that would take him to the White House as a conservative some 30 years later ... In a time that’s shaping up to be a tumultuous era in U.S. history, this story of politics, art, loyalty and conscience is more relevant than ever. And a nice bonus: Although it may impart a civics lesson, it doesn’t read like one.\
James Lee McDonough
RaveThe Minneapolis Star TribuneThis exhaustive, but not exhausting, volume is eminently readable and paints a fascinating picture of this complex individual ... This book is an excellent blend of personal and national history, intertwined in the life of a man who was a master of his profession at a time when our nation’s survival depended on his being so.