MixedThe Washington PostIf you are one of the many Americans who hates Congress, this book is for you ... It is a testament to the authors’ formidable work ethic that they’ve managed to produce a full-length book 2 1/2 years after Donald Trump won the presidency, even as they’ve continued to crank out a daily tipsheet for political junkies ... in an era when the White House is a never-enSherman and Palmer’s rootedness in Washington, moreover, undercuts their ability to capture how Democrats tapped into the intensity of some Americans’ distaste for Trumpding source of stunning revelations, some incendiary comments made behind closed doors on Capitol Hill don’t carry the same punch ... What I missed most of all in the book was something simple: voters’ voices. Told almost entirely from an inside-the-Beltway perspective, Sherman and Palmer’s book depicts men and women operating in a universe that is completely detached from the rest of America. While that does reflect part of why many Americans resent Congress, it’s also why some Americans mistrust the reporters who cover it.
PositiveThe Washington Post[W]ith a journalist’s eye, Austen explores the intersection between discrimination and income inequality through the lens of the men and women experiencing some of America’s worst housing conditions ... Austen describes key moments in painstaking detail, and he weaves in pop culture and public policy to provide broad context for the poverty and violence that come to define this patch of Near North [Chicago] ... There are moments when the level of detail is overwhelming ... Not every incident in a person’s life holds equal significance, and at times, the book’s granularity robs compelling moments of their power. And the tough assessments Austen makes of the project’s outsiders rarely extend to those inside it ... Throughout the book, Austen succeeds in giving Cabrini-Green residents the kind of agency few policymakers are willing to offer them. There is no happy ending for many former Cabrini-Green residents, but there is no question that they made their mark on not just the American psyche but public policy.
PositiveThe Washington PostReading it is a sobering experience, one that shows what’s really at stake when it comes to our sprawling, costly and illogical health-care system ... Rosenthal — who practiced medicine before entering journalism and now serves as editor in chief of Kaiser Health News — combines her reportorial and medical skills to provide an authoritative account of the distorted financial incentives that drive medical care in the United States. As a result, she has produced a fairly grim tale of how patients — and at times, insurers — are getting ripped off, sometimes with devastating consequences ... While Rosenthal does her best to squeeze in a few jokes (mostly lighthearted references at pathologists’ expense), the subject matter makes for dense reading at times. This is a thorough book, but it’s hard to envision a casual reader picking it up and whiling away the weekend with it ... Maybe every lawmaker and administration official should pick up a copy of An American Sickness. Then, at last, the serious debate could begin.