RaveThe New York TimesDavid Levering Lewis’s book, The Improbable Wendell Willkie, is aptly titled. Like a shooting star, Willkie burned brightly, if briefly, over this country’s political landscape, leaving behind an astonishing legacy of bipartisanship that had an outsize impact on the outcome of the war ... Lewis...offers an insightful...portrait of this political neophyte from the Midwest — a registered Democrat until 1939 — who stunned his newly adopted party and the nation by snatching the nomination away from the front-runners Thomas Dewey and Robert Taft and then sabotaged his own campaign by putting country above party ... Over the last seven decades, Willkie has largely disappeared into the mists of history, recalled, if at all, merely as one of Roosevelt’s defeated rivals. As Lewis makes clear, he deserves so much more, not only for his crucial contributions to American unity in World War II but also for his lifelong commitment to civil rights and intense opposition to racism.
Thomas E. Ricks
MixedThe Washington PostMore than half of Churchill and Orwell is devoted to a detailed recounting of Churchill’s life, much of which is familiar material and has little or no relevance to Ricks’s main topic. The book would have benefited from a deeper exploration of the wartime conflict between Orwell and Churchill’s government over the complexities of truth and its suppression — an issue that has obvious significance today. Nonetheless, for all of Churchill’s shortcomings in this particular regard, there’s no question that, overall, both he and Orwell demonstrated moral courage and a fierce dedication to the importance of democracy and individual freedom — increasingly rare qualities today that Ricks rightly celebrates.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review...a gripping, deeply human account of the last 16 months of Roosevelt’s life ... In reading Lelyveld’s moving, elegiac portrait of Roosevelt’s last months, one comes away with conflicting emotions about the man and his final mission.
PositiveThe Washington PostThis is well-trodden territory, and, unlike in her earlier works, Millard offers few new facts or insights about Churchill and his South African adventure. Yet, thanks to her formidable storytelling skills, she has succeeded in infusing this familiar narrative with color, excitement and life.
PanThe New York Times Book ReviewReading 1944, I was reminded of Where’s Waldo?, the classic picture book series whose brightly colored illustrations challenge young readers to find the title character, hidden in huge crowds.