PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewThe core tension that Baker and Glasser must overcome in The Man Who Ran Washington is making James Baker seem relevant today ... a reader can have the impression that the authors’ accounting of Baker’s achievements is tinted in sepia ... Yet the life story of the man Barack Obama’s national security adviser Thomas E. Donilon calls \'the most important unelected official since World War II\' is relevant and timely for two reasons. The first is that it provides deep insight into Baker’s strengths at diplomacy — skills that will become even more important as America’s influence ebbs in the coming years. The former secretary of state’s experiences as a public servant offer timeless lessons in how to use personal relationships, broad-based coalitions and tireless negotiating to advance United States interests ... The second reason this book matters now is that even though Baker sees himself as temperamentally and philosophically opposite to Donald Trump, his silence in the face of Trump’s outrages reflects the broader complicity of the so-called \'Republicans who know better\' ... Given Baker’s legendary reserve, one of the most touching parts of the book is its examination of the deep, humorous and also rivalrous friendship he maintained with Bush ... the authors do a splendid job reminding readers of the sheer number and weight of decisions that had to be made amid great uncertainty ... The authors rightly highlight the dimensions of Baker’s illustrious career that show so much about what is broken in the current American political system.
RaveThe Washington Post... immensely powerful ... It succeeds brilliantly ... Schwarz, a journalist born to a German father and French mother, makes two powerful, interwoven arguments. First, history is too often reduced to the story of victims and perpetrators, heroes and villains ... Although she has written a searing book about the past, Schwarz’s work is oriented toward the present and the future (she began writing partly as a reaction to the election of President Trump). And it is her second line of argument that makes the book so timely and necessary. Schwarz contends that when societies don’t grapple with their complicity—acting instead as though the inheritance they possess has been innocently won or that the crimes of the past were orchestrated by a few villainous outliers—they will lack the antibodies to prevent present-day intolerance and targeted violence ... as readable as it is persuasive. Schwarz embeds her appeal to citizens and nations to do memory work in a gripping detective story centered on her own family’s history. She has a gift for finding the single scene or exchange of dialogue that drives home her points ... Schwarz’s book deserves to be read and discussed widely in the United States principally for all it has to teach us about the urgency of confronting the darkest dimensions of our own history.
PositiveThe Washington PostLoughery and Randolph have...made an important and timely contribution to present debates, as the authors highlight stands Day took that have particular resonance in today’s divided America ... Loughery and Randolph have not written a hagiography. They are critical of Day for privileging her work with the poor over care for her own daughter, and they fault her reluctance to stand up for gay rights as she had for other oppressed minorities. They also question how she could fail to grapple with the costs of pacifism in the face of Hitler’s rise and terror. In citing the polemical headlines she penned in the Catholic Worker at the dawn of World War II, such as \'We Are to Blame for New War in Europe,\' the authors intentionally make readers cringe ... We can be grateful to Loughery and Randolph for reviving a voice for our times.