PositiveThe Wall Street Journal... wrenching ... moving and painful. Readers will wonder how they could possibly bear the same tragedy in their lives, and the inevitable guilt ... Mr. Dial doesn’t shrink from asking himself whether he recklessly promoted a \'sky’s the limit\' lifestyle, but his answer seems simplistic ... The Dials didn’t take the boring route as parents, and The Adventurer’s Son is a brave narrative about how they must now live with that choice.
RaveThe Wall Street JournalThe book reads as if Hicks deliberately left behind all of the details required for Mr. Cohen to piece together more than 150 years later a compelling portrait of the quirks and failings of 19th-century society ... Mr. Cohen wisely saves his richest material for last ... Mr. Cohen’s most valuable contribution is his social depiction of 19th-century New York, a city rife with inequality and glaring cultural contradictions ... The Last Pirate of New York is history-lite at its best, and readers will finish it with a satisfaction deeply relevant today. The truth about America’s past—the greasy pole of making a living, the lovable felons, the Barnumesque self-promoters—is a lot more interesting and useful to know than those patriotic fairy tales we were fed in school.
Eric Jay Dolin
PositiveWall Street Journal\"Eric Jay Dolin adroitly addresses these themes in Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America’s Most Notorious Pirates, an entertaining romp across the oceans that shows how piracy is an inseparable element of our past. Here, as in his earlier books Leviathan (2007), about whaling, and Brilliant Beacons (2016), about lighthouse keepers, Mr. Dolin explores a dreamy occupation and then shifts our focus to the gritty, perilous realities of leading such a life ... Mr. Dolin has a keen eye for detail and the telling episode. Readers will learn fascinating tidbits of language, habits and cultural assimilation.\
PositiveThe Wall Street JournalBrian Castner’s Disappointment River: Finding and Losing the Northwest Passage, a mixed history and travel memoir, goes a long way toward correcting the record of discovery in North America ... Discovering history, and not just new landscapes around the next bend in the river, is one of the delights of Disappointment River. And, during a time when so many American descendants of foreign extraction rail against immigration, it’s useful to recall that all of us originated in a diaspora.