PanThe Washington PostI have many problems with this book, beginning with its lurid title...Neither do I like the author’s sycophantic take on the CIA, nor her cavalier accounts of CIA targeted killings. I am uncomfortable with her casual approval of all things macho in the world of paramilitary warfare. Nor do I like the author’s pretense that she has written a biography when the hero of her narrative makes only fleeting appearances. I’m annoyed by the sloppy research and the breathless quality of her writing. And I hate the fact that the author, and evidently her publisher, thinks all this is okay because, well, it is an exciting story about a real-life Rambo character ... You may ask if Surprise, Kill, Vanish is really that bad. Yes, it is ... My real problem with this work is the author’s underlying themes. To this end, she uses Waugh’s career to lionize paramilitary operations and targeted killings. The Israelis do it so well, so why can’t we follow in the celebrated footsteps of the Mossad? ... Men like Waugh are not listeners, they’re just boys with dangerous toys. And when she’s not pretending to be a biographer, Jacobsen writes TV scripts for shows like Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan — which explains a lot about this unfortunate book.
PositiveThe Washington PostDamn good ... paints on a broad canvas, showing readers the full arc of an incredibly complicated political tale ... Miller’s sources are more or less transparent, and his writing is measured and clear. Miller makes no pretense about knowing the end of the story ... Miller’s account of the Russian hacking of the Democrats is highly persuasive.
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review\"As a reader, I was enthralled by this collection of Freeman Dyson’s letters. But as a biographer, I am most annoyed with him for having squirreled all these missives away ... Maker of Patterns is not autobiography. That would require something more than just the long letters reproduced here, occasionally annotated with italicized commentary. But these letters will delight any reader with their often contrarian observations. Dyson is an excellent witness, an acute observer of personality and human foibles. This volume should make any reader pine for a deep memoir.\
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewThis is a strangely captivating book — dark and utterly frightening, despite or perhaps because of the author’s dispassionate tone ... Zak’s narrative is a perfectly measured blend of biography, suspense and history. He skillfully uses the small, finite story of the Y-12 protest to explore our national identity as a people whose culture is now intimately connected with things nuclear.