RaveThe Washington Independent Review of Books... a gem about how a teenager with nothing but a desire to be a reporter became — against all odds — a great journalist. It should be required reading in every journalism school in America ... Readers less obsessed with the news business than I am — I was a broadcast journalist for 35 years — may find some of the book’s day-to-day accounts of life in the newsroom somewhat tedious. It’s a minor issue ... For me, this book works on three levels: It’s first and foremost a compelling story about the transformation of an aimless kid into a prominent journalist. Second, it’s a detailed chronicle of the newspaper business in the 1960s and of newspapers’ once-prominent role in society. And finally, it’s about race.
RaveThe Washington Independent Review of BooksThere is nothing in this book to cheer about. I didn’t know whether to read it with interest or throw it across the room. Whitlock does an outstanding job of laying out the failure.
MixedWashington Independent Review of BooksAs it turns out, there’s money to be made from Civil Rights tourists ... [Tell\'s] book offers details of not only the execution of the boy, but also of the legal and civic efforts to deal with its aftermath ... And that’s what Tell’s book is about: the murder, the trial and its aftermath, and the efforts to remember. Yet he spares no detail about the economic considerations. I could not decide whether to be enlightened or appalled. How would Emmett Till react to having his murder be the catalyst for tourist dollars? Is it better to exploit the horrific crime than to ignore it altogether?
Christian Kracht, Trans. by Daniel Bowles
PositiveThe Washington Independent Review of BooksSwiss author Christian Kracht’s latest book, The Dead, is a slim volume that can suck the joy out of your afternoon, in an arthouse-movie kind of way. In fact, this is a book to read if you’re in the mood for a gloomy theater experience but don’t have the energy to get out of bed ... Despite the hope-starved characters, Kracht makes his book worth reading through the sheer strength of the writing. Credit must also be given to Daniel Bowles, who translated the book from the original German.
RaveThe Washington Independent Review of BooksIt is a must-read for students of the Cold War and for anyone who thinks nuclear brinkmanship is a productive way to conduct foreign policy. The book is a chronicle of a time when the United States and the Soviet Union came close to destroying civilization in a confrontation of thermonuclear insanity ... This is not a book for readers with a casual interest in the Cold War. Downing squeezes a wealth of details into a short period of time and provides background into once-powerful men who have passed into history, many without so much as a mention in today’s world ... It reminds us that those who hold our lives in their hands are not as wise as we wish they were.
PositiveWashington Independent Review of Books...we can all agree that a disaster book that opens with the description of an adorable little girl has plenty of dread in store for readers ... Roker did his research as far as uncovering who these people were. He tells us their stories, good and bad. Parts of Ruthless Tide read like a thriller and will have you turning the pages with a pounding heart. Other sections will send you into a rage against the ultra-rich.
William C. Rempel
RaveThe Washington Independent Review of BooksReading about Kerkorian is a bit like reading a movie script, complete with family evictions, wartime derring-do, smarts, and almost miraculous luck. William C. Rempel’s The Gambler has it all ... William Rempel has told a heck of a story in detailing Kirk Kerkorian’s life. It gets a bit bogged down in the details of some of the financial schemes that bankrolled his big ideas, but that may be a plus for readers interested in how the big money is played at high stakes. At the very least, it’s a story about an extraordinary man who outsmarted everyone around him and became an American legend.