RaveThe Washington Times... a deeply researched and masterfully written work that relies in part on never-used documents, one that should establish Marshall at the top of any list of American titans ... Roll shows skill in explaining the tangled maze of legalities of the war-time agreements.
Harlow Giles Unger
RaveThe Washington TimesA highly readable account of a humanitarian who cared for others more than for himself. A hero of his era.
RaveThe Washington TimesA truly magisterial work, a sweeping history that stretches from the biblical era to the present ... a must-read for any person with a serious interest in intelligence. But be forewarned. The more than 800 pages of text require more than a casual scan, but are well worth the investment of serious time ... An outstanding work. Ten cloaks, ten daggers.
PositiveThe Washington TimesEngaging and highly readable ... What sets Mr. Zamoyski apart from countless other biographers is his ability to (1) provide context to the factors that made Napoleon a constant warrior and (2) to explore his restoration of order to post-revolutionary France ... An inclusive life of a historical dynamo.
MixedThe Washington TimesThe U-2 spy plane stands as one of the Central Intelligence Agency’s landmark accomplishments ... During the frostiest years of the Cold War, when nuclear war was a legitimate national worry, the U-2 kept national security officials informed of the strength of Soviet missile programs ... There were concerns about a new Soviet plane, the Bison, capable of bombing runs all the way to the U.S. Ike had one big worry: What if the plane somehow crashed and the pilot was captured? Mr. Bissell and other CIA officials said Mr. Powers had an \'L\' pill — meaning \'lethal\' — containing a dose of prussic acid that would kill him within 30 seconds. Mr. Dulles was \'absolutely categorical\' that the pilot would not survive a crash. As events played out, a Soviet anti-aircraft missile sent the U-2 tumbling to Earth. Mr. Powers parachuted to safety, ignoring the \'L pill.\' ... Author Reel’s story is marred somewhat by his contention that such spying as was carried out by the U-2 is somehow immoral; that covert intelligence is not in the American tradition. In criticizing the U-2 overflight as an unethical invasion of another nation’s airspace, he ignores Soviet Sputnik flights beginning in 1957 — three years before the Powers U-2 incident — that overflew the U.S. daily.
James R. Clapper
MixedThe Washington TimesMr. Clapper issues a harsh—and reluctant, he says—verdict on Mr. Trump. Having served every president since Kennedy, he speaks of an \'instilled ethos [and] profound respect for the president as commander in chief.\' But his admiration stops short of Mr. Trump ... Alas, given that much of his career was spent in the tight world of signal intelligence, his book is short on the \'war stories\' that enliven many intelligence memoirs. He does cite some rules that intelligence professionals should heed. Foremost perhaps is his admonition to stick to the facts when passing along information, and avoid making policy recommendations. Further, make plain to the president (and other recipients of information) that \'intelligence work was about acquiring and assessing foreign secrets, not predicting events or reading minds\' ... America has a record of surviving national traumas—he cites the Civil War and Vietnam—and Mr. Clapper concludes, \'We recovered from both and, over time, emerged the better for it.\'
William I Hitchcock
RaveThe Washington Times...a splendid biography that belies the image of Mr. Eisenhower as a benign do-nothing president ... As a president, Dwight Eisenhower deserves the judgment of historian Hitchcock that he was a 'model of loyalty, dignity and decency Eisenhower lent his name to the age. And his people had lived in the presence of greatness.' ”
PositiveThe Washington Times...trace Ukraine’s travails, climaxing with Russia’s brutal seizure of a Ukraine that sought to become an independent nation after the 1991 collapse of communism and the USSR ....Harvard historian Serhii Plokhy, the leading Western scholar on Ukraine, details Moscow’s historic insistence that Russia and its East Slavic neighbors occupy a joint historical space, and essentially comprise a single nation — despite strong language, cultural and religious differences ... The Lost Kingdom of Mr. Plokhy’s title refers to its involuntary incorporation into the USSR.
PositiveThe Washington TimesThe forbidden pitch is the key event in John Grisham’s delightfully readable and lively Calico Joe ... In describing Castle’s enthusiasm on the field, Mr. Grisham observes why so many of us love baseball ... Many writers stray from their normal turf to write about baseball. We know Mr. Grisham as the master of the legal thriller. Suffice to say he knows his way around the ballpark as well as he does a courtroom, lingo and all ... With Father’s Day approaching, Calico Joe is a book guaranteed to make Pop happy.
PositiveThe Washington Times...a masterpiece of biography... Ron Chernow’s book should vault Ulysses S. Grant into a deserved but long-denied position in the front rank of great American presidents ... Grant’s legacy long suffered for two reasons: his reputation of being a heavy driver, only partially deserved, and multiple scandals that marred his two-term presidency, although he was not personally involved any of the affairs. Mr. Chernow’s detailed book examines both issues in a detail I have not seen in earlier biographies, and he essentially acquits Grant ... In brief: the deserved resurrection of a decent man whose military acumen preserved the Union.