PositiveThe St. Louis Post-DispatchThe Midwest is not merely flyover country, as Phil Christman shows with Midwest Futures, a collection of essays and observations that disputes that hackneyed phrase used by bicoastal elites ... This book is an easy read if you like nonfiction that reminds us what a history-rich region is the Midwest. If you appreciate essays providing facts and observations about a part of America you think you know and understand, this little book may be for you.
PositiveSt. Louis Post-DIspatch...a complex plot that extends halfway around the world ... This is to be Lagercrantz’s last Blomkvist mystery. (Another writer will take over.) He’s going out on a high note. This reviewer found it hard to stop reading, day and night.
PositiveSt. Louis Post-Dispatch\"The further I read into this story of Peter and Arie, the more I liked it. Historical novels can be tedious and disappointing. If the history is recent and pretty well known, the author can stumble over incorrect details the reader catches. Fletcher the journalist does not have this problem. His characters are believable without being overstated heroic caricatures ... For readers who want to understand this side of Israel’s long-simmering conflict with the Arab states and people, Fletcher has given us an imaginative, memorable story.\
RaveThe St. Louis Post-DispatchElsa Hart’s third mystery is her best featuring Li Du as a out-of-favor court librarian in 18th-century China. She hits the mark with detailed but readable descriptions of the early Qing Dynasty and its stratified customs ... Hart describes her main characters well ... dialogue is quick and informative—about the knowledge of her protagonist and of Chinese publishing. Hart’s research and storytelling make for a compelling read that tells us about China 400 years ago and holds our interest until the story’s surprising conclusion.
RaveSt. Louis Post-DispatchFor the most part, dictators are not particularly good writers. Often, Kalder says, the dictator-to-be’s efforts are ponderous, abstract, sometimes painfully personal, a screed of pain that becomes, for instance, the basis of a national movement, as in the case of Germany’s Adolf Hitler ... I’d put Kalder’s analysis of 'dictator books' with others out today that warn of the decline of Western liberal democracy. We should learn from the grave mistakes of the 20th century.
PositiveThe St. Louis Post-DispatchMuch of the new book is a review of strategies since the U.S. dropped two atomic bombs on Japan in August 1945 to end World War II. Some of the schemes he cites are beyond bizarre … His point is simple: We and our political leaders must stop thinking of nuclear war as a manageable risk. We must stop thinking of the possibility of nuclear war as normal.
PositiveThe St. Louis Post-DispatchAnyone who wants to understand the United States’ racial divisions will learn a lot from reading Kaplan’s richly researched account of one of the worst periods in American history and its chilling effects today in our cities, legislative bodies, schools and houses of worship ... Kaplan’s prose could be improved by sharper editing, since he repeats himself. Yet his central point is strong — that the divisions that defined the national debate over slavery, abolition and the U.S. Constitution continue today and will long into the future.
Mary V. Dearborn
PositiveThe St. Louis Post-DispatchDearborn, who has written biographies of Henry Miller, Norman Mailer and others, tackled Hemingway with diligence and prodigious research into letters, stories and interviews to try to explain what brought him to kill himself in 1961 ... Hemingway books just keep coming out. At least eight are expected this year. Dearborn has written one that Hemingway admirers will want to read, keep and read again.
PositiveThe St. Louis Post-Dispatch...a fascinating treatise on the impact of Adam and Eve on human thought in the Western world ... Feiler weaves in his thesis that Adam was incomplete without Eve and vice versa. From that he concludes that all human beings are incomplete without loving others. This isn’t an original thought, but Feiler’s interpretations of the works of writers, scholars, priests and rabbis — since the story was believed to be written down about the sixth century B.C. and passed on in oral tradition before that — establish that Adam and Eve are very much with us today ... Missing from this book is an exploration of the people who told and retold the Genesis story, as well as those who wrote it down and created the foundation of the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament. That could be Feiler’s next adventure in print.
PositiveThe St. Louis Post-DispatchThis is a complex story, involving some deeply troubling Akha customs such as killing twins at birth because tribal customs see them as an evil omen ... This reviewer had no idea how much there was to learn about the many varieties of tea, its marketing and how many people have become rich selling it around the world. The real reward in See’s latest novel, though, is following the story of Li-Yan as she moves to the United States, yet never severing her connections with her home in Yunnan province. This modern novel fills in interesting details about Chinese adoptions, and many readers will find it quite satisfying.
Amos Oz, Trans. by Nicholas de Lange
PositiveThe St. Louis Post-DispatchHere’s the reason to like and value this latest novel by Israel’s pre-eminent novelist, regardless of faith or no faith. As he has for decades, Oz, ever the sharp, critical thinker, takes complex issues that many writers avoid and plunges right in ... Judas grapples with big, historical matters for which there are no simple answers: the founding of Israel and the founding of Christianity. Both remain rich subjects to explore today.\
PositiveThe St. Louis Post-DispatchThis book delves deeply into the details of U.S policy. As such, it’s valuable and useful for anyone who wants to understand how the policies of two states sometimes converge and sometimes sharply conflict.