RaveThe Wall Street JournalIn this honest and deeply sympathetic meditation on her own fall through a gap in the \'mesh of the everyday world,\' Ms. May, a British novelist and essayist, proves that there is grace in letting go, stepping back and giving yourself time to repair in the dark ... she is generous enough to share her strategies for how to find respite in the dark and endure until a new spring arrives ... Ms. May is a clear-eyed observer and her language is steady, honest and accurate—capturing the sense, the beauty and the latent power of our resting landscapes, of lying fallow ... Her retreat and renewal is a personal experience, generously shared ... encourages us to accept our imperfections and trust in the world, with its cycles of hibernation and regeneration.
RaveThe Wall Street JournalIt is perhaps significant that, as a British expert on Viking Age Scandinavia and therefore something of an outsider, [Price] crosses both national and linguistic borders and the boundaries of academic disciplines, bringing together new evidence and recent international scholarship to show how the Scandinavians of the Viking Age came to \'bend the arc of history.\' His clear, engaging style introduces us to the Scandinavian communities of the eighth and ninth centuries, centered around the farmstead, before catapulting us overseas and outward into an expanding world where raiding and trading quickly boosted the wealth of individuals and the ambitions of the elites ... From these pages of violence, patriarchy and power struggle, individuals emerge, reassuring us that all aspects of human experience and identity can be found in the past. The stereotype of the Viking that we know from history books and popular media is here dismantled and presented anew by Mr. Price in all its wonderful, terrifying complexity and ambiguity. By clarifying the long-reaching effects of Scandinavian influence, Children of Ash and Elm brings a dramatically altered understanding of the Viking Age to a wider international audience.
RaveThe Wall Street Journal... a gripping account of exploration and ingenuity, sweeping across the economic alliances and great networks of trade that connected disparate regions around the globe. By touching down in different parts of the world at that precise moment, Ms. Hansen reveals the social and economic changes that linked individuals and societies in astonishing ways ... Ms. Hansen effectively describes how the forces of globalization changed peoples’ lives ... The cliché about traveling the world from the comfort of one’s home has never seemed more appropriate—or indeed so enticing. The coronavirus pandemic has effectively shut down society and isolated countries, communities and individuals. Through this generous and accessible distillation of global history, Ms. Hansen opens our minds to a world where it was still possible to venture, fearlessly, into the unknown.
Bernd Brunner, Trans. by Mary Catherine Lawler
PositiveThe Wall Street Journal... lightly steps us through some of the many \'particular enchantments\' of winter ... In this enjoyable examination of the enduring human fascination with snow and cold, Mr. Brunner rekindles the heat in our frozen childhood memories and offers insight into the history, art and science of winter ... would have benefited from a closer edit ... Mr. Brunner’s winning book is a reassuring, nostalgic reminder that winter is the season of both play and regeneration, which may yet turn to glorious summer.
Julia Blackburn, Illus. Enrique Brinkmann
RaveThe Wall Street JournalThis is an extraordinary book about time, absence and perception ...Through close observation and abstract ruminations, the vanished land that once connected...two countries starts to emerge both as a symbol of unity and a porous boundary between the living and the dead. By trying to see through \'the fact of absence,\' the author becomes aware of the continued presence of the past—hoping perhaps that, in this way, her husband will remain close ... as a writer, Ms. Blackburn can go beyond the scientific, switching on the light of imagination to reveal the people of the past ... Through tracing this consciousness back to the people who left their imprint on Doggerland, Ms. Blackburn shows us that, in a time of flux and friction, the gathering of uncertainties can bring greater awareness and a sense of wholeness.
Susan Hand Shetterly
RaveThe Wall Street JournalAs in her previous collection of essays Settled in the Wild (2010), Ms. Shetterly writes beautifully about the interconnectedness of humans and animals and the natural environment that we share. The twinned concepts of community and belonging are central to this story. By exploring the land where we live, we can begin to understand our place in the world. Seaweed Chronicles is an elegy to environmentalism and to the individuals in Ms. Shetterly’s local community who are committed to the stewardship of coastal Maine’s natural habitat ... \'Solastalgia\' is a relatively new word for the angst one feels when a familiar place is altered by climate change. This worry is palpable in Ms. Shetterly’s book, together with a longing for a world that can withstand the complexity and flux of our current society ... Ms. Shetterly is convinced and convincing about what constitutes a meaningful existence.
RaveThe Wall Street Journal\"Mr. Shippey... has accumulated an impressive body of knowledge about medieval literary sources relating to Northern European history. This is a fast-paced, exhilarating account of the psychology of the marauding Vikings ... Mr. Shippey sails gallantly between the skerries of faculty-room \'comfort zones,\' defiantly portraying the Vikings \'in their own terms\' ... Mr. Shippey shows us that both literary and archaeological evidence can help to bring us closer to the Old Norse mind-set, providing fascinating proof of the Vikings’ own intellectual examination of their place in the world.\
RaveWall Street JournalThreading together science and poetry with a sense of wonder, Adam Nicolson’s
The Seabird’s Cry reminds us that these birds are always there at the edge of our existence: at once familiar and utterly mysterious ... The elegance of the writing, and the very human curiosity and compassion for the seabirds themselves, is enthralling. As Mr. Nicolson sets out to explore 'the ways in which seabirds exert their hold on the human imagination,' we are enlightened by a wealth of expert and amateur voices ... and by Mr. Nicolson’s sustained and powerful cry for a greater understanding and empathy of [the seabirds'] unique environments.
PositiveThe Wall Street JournalTo categorize this work as merely memoir, nature writing or spiritual writing would understate her achievement ... I can see the fascination [T.H.] White holds for her, but are these passages really necessary to the fabric of Ms. Macdonald’s book? I don’t think so. I discern something of Macdonald the scholar behind the White passages, and I want more of Macdonald the writer, because her prose glows and burns ... If there was any lingering sense that women could not be part of the hunt—that they should stay by the hearth—she blows it out the window.