MixedThe New York Times Book Review\"The connections Hunt makes... sometimes feel strained. Similarly, some of his sweeping conclusions... seem overblown. That said, if not taken too seriously, Hunt’s musings on our relationship to the underground world, drawing on literary, academic and mythological sources, are both provocative and satisfying. The real pleasure of Underground, however, is not to be found in its philosophical reflections. Rather it is in simply following Hunt on his quest, meeting those he encounters along the way and learning about those who came before ... At the end of your excursion through Underground, you are unlikely to partake in Hunt’s longtime obsession. But you may never look at a hole in the ground in quite the same way again.\
Christophe Guilluy, Trans. by Malcolm DeBevoise
MixedThe New York TimesIf one looks past the overblown rhetoric, the portrait of the bleak prospects of the diverse communities outside of France’s largest cities is disturbing and affecting. It also is reminiscent of the economic challenges faced by many living between the coasts of the United States ... While Mr. Guilluy is withering in his criticism of establishment politicians on both the left and right, he does not offer up anything concrete in their place ... For someone who is committed to listening as at least part of a solution, Mr. Guilluy has a reputation for refusing to engage with either academics or journalists — both professions are accused repeatedly in Twilight of the Elites of furthering the agenda of the traditional upper classes and \'the new bourgeoisie that supports them.\' This is particularly unfortunate given the urgency of the issues he raises. But one does not need to accept all of the elements of Mr. Guilluy’s diagnosis to sense that he has hit on something profound that extends well beyond the borders of France.
PositiveThe New York TimesThe core of The Edge of Anarchy is a thrilling description of the boycott of Pullman cars and equipment by Eugene Debs’s fledgling American Railway Union ... Mr. Kelly closely scrutinizes the roles not only of the American Railway Union and management but of state, local and federal officials, the courts, industry, the press, activists, and labor. No one comes out unscathed.
Alan P Lightman
PositiveThe New York Times\"The M.I.T. professor Alan Lightman has produced a highly personal polemic targeting the subversive impact on civilization of the increasingly frenetic pace of life. His book, In Praise of Wasting Time, proposes \'that half our waking minds be designated and saved for quiet reflection\' ... As provocative and often entertaining as these and his more personal observations are, their connection to the emergence of \'the grid\' is often tenuous at best.\
Red Card, Ken Bensinger
PositiveThe New York TimesRed Card: How the U.S. Blew the Whistle on the World’s Biggest Sports Scandal, by the BuzzFeed investigative reporter Ken Bensinger, delivers an engrossing and jaw-dropping tale of international intrigue culminating in dozens of individuals and companies associated with professional soccer being brought to justice.
PositiveThe New York Times\"Professor Satia argues convincingly that the expansion of the armaments industry and the government’s role in it is inseparable from the rise of innumerable associated industries from finance to mining ... The biggest disappointment of Empire of Guns, however, is how little detail there is on the history of gun culture in the United States and its deep hostility to government regulation. The contrast with Britain — and, indeed, all other developed nations — is so striking that it begs for some kind of explanation, particularly given that Britain was historically more economically reliant on this sector of its economy ...Professor Satia has shown how the revolutionary changes in the very nature of guns and their role in society and the economy require those arguments to be considered in a very different light. To do that effectively at this time of national debate over our political, social and moral relationship to the modern gun, more work must be done to fully understand the source of \'American exceptionalism\' when it comes to our attitudes toward guns.\
RaveThe New York Times...goes a long way toward redressing this pervasive lack of perspective to a concept central to the contemporary technological 'revolution': networks ... One does not have to completely buy in to the book’s reframing of key social and political turning points to find the narrative both captivating and compelling. Whether describing the surprisingly ineffective 18th century network of the mysterious Illuminati that continue to be the subject of crank conspiracy theorists or the shockingly effective 20th century network of Cambridge University spies working for the Soviets, Professor Ferguson manages both to tell a good story and provide important insight into the specific qualities that power successful networks ... The important lesson of The Square and the Tower is that the existence of a network, or network effects for that matter, should be the beginning not the end of the analysis. The critical questions relate to the network’s key characteristics and how it interacts with other networks and hierarchies.
PositiveThe New York Times...Troublemakers: Silicon Valley’s Coming of Age opens with the advertising copy from the iconic 1997 Apple commercial that perfectly captures Silicon Valley’s conception of itself ...covers 'the generational handoff' that happened between the late 1960s and the early ’80s 'as pioneers of the semiconductor industry passed the baton to younger up-and-comers' ...a more benign view of the technology industry to appreciate Ms. Berlin’s deeply researched and dramatic narrative of Silicon Valley’s early years...meticulously told stories permit the reader to gain a nuanced understanding of the emergence of the broader technology ecosystem that has enabled Silicon Valley to thrive ...does not whitewash the aspects of even the valley’s early years that foreshadow the more profound cultural issues to emerge in the industry’s middle age.
PositiveThe New York Times...a compelling yarn and a fascinating window into the genesis of both modern medicine and management ... Mr. Markel is most effective in conveying the state of medical science when the Kelloggs appeared on the scene. The description of John Harvey Kellogg’s medical training in New York City at Bellevue in the late 1800s, when that institution was indisputably the premier teaching hospital in North America, is eye-opening ... The Kelloggs is markedly less successful at illuminating the remarkable accomplishments of the bitter and taciturn Will Keith Kellogg once he escaped the suffocating grip of his brother ... The Kelloggs tells a good story of how an epically dysfunctional family produced two monumentally successful institutions. The story of how those institutions have flourished independently for more than 65 years since the death of their founder is worthy of another book.
PositiveThe New York TimesMr. Enrich effectively uses the unique access he secured to the mildly autistic UBS trader, Tom Hayes, who became the fall guy for the unfolding scandal, to produce a surprisingly human narrative. But as entertaining as the colorful character portraits are, what makes The Spider Network truly memorable are the portraits of the various institutions that made the scandal not just possible but inevitable ... The Spider Network is at its most compelling when describing the quotidian activities of the “network” of traders and brokers who tirelessly concocted strategies to influence the benchmark rate ... Mr. Enrich’s intense sympathy for Mr. Hayes — his 14-year sentence is wildly disproportionate to his responsibility for the system’s corruption — has positive and negative consequences for the book ... a vivid depiction of the ethos of the core financial institutions upon which the global economy depends.
PositiveThe New York TimesDespite its irreverent tone, Feminist Fight Club is as grounded in academic research as Lean In ... The topics covered range from lactation and power poses to negotiating raises and mentoring. Ms. Bennett manages to convey a remarkable amount of substance briskly and entertainingly. If I have a criticism of the book, it is the lack of a narrative arc. Ms. Bennett uses the establishment of her own Feminist Fight Club (essentially a support group of early-career women) as a loose theme to tie the various pieces, but in the opening pages she suggests that the book can be read in almost any order.
PositiveThe New York Times\"Fred Kaplan has written a consistently eye-opening history of our government’s efforts to effectively manage our national security in the face of the largely open global communications network established by the World Wide Web...The surprises and pleasures of Dark Territory are not limited to such coincidences of history, although there are plenty of them. A variety of unexpected colorful characters, like a young hacker named Mudge, end up playing a meaningful and constructive role in shaping the country’s approach to cyberthreats. The author never neglects to tie his compelling descriptions of the personalities and events to their overarching historical implications.\