RaveThe Wall Street Journal\"... [a] quixotic and original work of historical fiction ... Mr. Beethoven is the work of a skillful and imaginative writer, gifted at evoking the sights and sounds, the custom and attire, of an earlier era. He has clearly done his homework with regard to both Beethoven and early 19th-century Boston ... As a novel, Mr. Beethoven is a fluent yet idiosyncratic diversion. Does it in addition newly illuminate Beethoven or Boston? More the latter than the former ... [a] bold imagination.
RaveThe Wall Street Journal... takes up Wagner’s protean impact with unprecedented scope ... No previous writer has so copiously chronicled the sheer ubiquity of Wagner in important novels, poems and paintings. The result is an indispensable work of cultural history, offering both a comprehensive resource and a bravura narrative ... While the existing Wagner literature is vast and defies generalization, the best-known studies range from passionate advocacy to equally impassioned denunciation. Mr. Ross, who came late to Wagner, is a centrist—a circumspect, at times even diffident, Wagnerite ... Mr. Ross is able to become many listeners. Relatedly, there are limits to his degree of engagement—and Wagner is about commitment, however dangerous or misguided. These limits frame and modulate Mr. Ross’s extraordinary book ... Writing about Virginia Woolf’s mostly concealed Wagnerian dimension, Mr. Ross is again keenly attuned to defining yet elusive subcurrents.
PositiveThe Wall Street JournalThat this world of sex, dance and music was interracial is crucial to Mr. Cockrell’s book Everybody’s Doin’ It: Sex, Music, and Dance in New York, 1840-1917. It makes the connection to his scholarly specialty and passion: American popular music and its black vernacular roots ... Mr. Cockrell’s identification with his black and white childhood peers informs his scholarship to this day. Everybody’s Doin’ It is a book to read and ponder.