PositiveThe Guardian (UK)Cohen’s kiss-and-tell account of the decade he spent at Trump’s side. It is an exhilarating and lurid story – part survivor’s memoir, part revenge tragedy. His verdict on the president is brutal. It is, for the most part, convincing ... There are gossipy sketches of the president’s family and flatterers ... illuminating on the theme of collusion with Russia ... There are a few things Cohen leaves out. We don’t learn anything about his meetings with the special counsel Robert Mueller and his FBI team, after Cohen broke with Trump in the summer of 2018 and came clean. Nor does Cohen say much about Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman, who was slipping off to pass polling data and other pieces of information to a career Russian spy ... Ultimately, Disloyal is an artful work of self-reinvention. It is (ghost?) written in rollicking style and confected to give the impression Cohen is humbly repentant and ashamed. Maybe he is and his moral awakening is for real. Cohen, though, doesn’t dwell much on why he stopped being Trump’s \'gangster lawyer\'. Perhaps we should merely be thankful that he is now ringer of the nation’s alarm bell and deliverer of cold truth to a complicit Republican party.
PositiveThe Guardian (UK)... offers a convincing analysis of what changed in the three decades since the cold war and with the arrival in the Kremlin of Vladimir Putin ... Shimer has assembled a broad collection of expert voices...It’s a shame Shimer doesn’t talk to other Russians; they after all are the biggest losers from Putin’s spy games ... offers a judicious overview of our unhappy times.
PositiveThe Guardian (UK)... a series of lively exchanges, fallings out and making ups. It is a fine and deeply considered portrait of the US-dominated 21st-century surveillance state ... Gellman has waited seven years to give his version. He has spent the time well—delving into some of the more abstruse programmes from the Snowden archive, and talking to sources from the tech and security worlds. Dark Mirror doesn’t alter what we have known since 2013: that the NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ routinely sweep up virtually all of our communications. But it does provide new and scary technical detail ... The most enthralling chapters cover the race to get the story out.
PositiveThe Guardian (UK)... an entertaining and readable account of the dossier’s origins, and of the cosmic fall-out once Buzzfeed put it online, to Fusion’s fury ... doesn’t radically alter our understanding of the collusion saga, but there are plenty of colourful details and anecdotes. Once Trump shuffles off stage – in 2020 or later – a movie version seems highly likely.
RaveThe Guardian (UK)Ben Macintyre’s wonderful The Spy and the Traitor complements and enhances Gordievsky’s first-person account ... Macintrye had no access to MI6’s archives, which remain secret. But he has interviewed all of the former officers involved in the case, who tell their stories for the first time. He spoke extensively to Gordievsky, who is now 79 and living in the home counties – a remarkable figure, \'proud, shrewd and irascible\'. The result is a dazzling non-fiction thriller and an intimate portrait of high-stakes espionage.
Vasily Grossman, Trans. by Robert Chandler and Elizabeth Chandler
RaveThe Guardian (UK)Stalingrad is a dazzling prequel ... In Stalingrad, Grossman transforms his reportage into a work of lyrical art and fierce power. His descriptions of battle in an industrial age are some of the most vivid ever written – the whoosh of enemy fire, how \'each splinter made its own particular sound\' ... Stalingrad’s long non-appearance in English is a mystery. It may have suffered from a lack of interest in Soviet culture. The novel was wrongly estimated on the grounds that anything published under Stalin couldn’t have literary merit. In fact Stalingrad is Life and Fate’s equal. It is, arguably, the richer book – shot through with human stories and a sense of life’s beauty and fragility.
PositiveThe Guardian\"Midnight in Chernobyl is wonderful and chilling ... [Higginbotham\'s book is an] exemplary [study], written with skill and passion. [It avoids] the fallacy of a redemptive ending