PositiveThe New Republic[A] smart and dark and confounding debut novel ... Oyler, a prolific critic and reviewer, has written a novel that is a pleasure to read and easy to inhale. The writing is brilliant, bringing to life a narrator with a penetrating gaze and a mordant, misanthropic voice. And yet Fake Accounts is a strange and difficult book, one in which the writer takes a dazzling premise and does little with it beyond making a string of wry comments. That this review is critical of Fake Accounts should be taken as a sign of my respect for the novel. I loved it. But even a great novel can also be fairly inexplicable ... Oyler’s first-person narration is nothing if not a vehicle for funny and trenchant observations. Her narrator is ostensibly a writer, but one who seems to think quite little about writing, much less do it with any frequency ... Indeed, Fake Accounts has essentially no characters other than the protagonist—certainly, there are none with any interiority. Instead, there is the protagonist and her witty, deadpan musings ... To be sure, Oyler has not reproduced all of the trends she has interrogated as a book critic ... The narrator is hilarious. It’s just a shame that she says so much and means so little.
RaveThe New Republic\"Culture Warlords is not truly a history or an ethnography or a memoir or even really a travelogue from racist site to racist site. It belongs, rather, to an older model of writing. It is a jeremiad, in the very best sense. There may be deeper, more comprehensive studies of the far right, but the value of Culture Warlords is its anger ... Much of the anthropological information Lavin conveys about these white supremacist online communities is, sadly, no longer surprising ... But Lavin also reveals less well-known information, which shines a light on the profound unreality of modern racist communities ... As Lavin shows, a vital tool in the anti-fascist arsenal is unmasking white supremacists in public, denying them respectability and anonymity.\
RaveLos Angeles Review of Books... brilliant ... his book is more than just an indictment of the disaster readiness of his precarious hometown, or a meditation on what it’s like to live in constant fear of biblical catastrophe. More than just a recounting of the history and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, it is an argument for the relevance of history itself ... If you want to read only one book to better understand why people in positions of power in government and industry do so little to address climate change, even with wildfires burning and ice caps melting and extinctions becoming a daily occurrence, this is the one ... Horowitz shows—patiently and damningly—how the decisions made by Louisiana’s political and business elite systematically rendered the region vulnerable to disaster ... Horowitz...muster[s] considerable evidence to argue that the \'pain\' that came from Katrina was not \'fair, or natural, or inevitable,\' or the \'consequence of some external disaster. It is the disaster itself.\'
MixedThe New RepublicNelson paints an utterly damning portrait of the rise of the modern right, of ostensibly Christian political activists partnering with fabulously wealthy industrialists to effectively take over the country. She identifies the owners, purveyors, and funders of right-wing media, and delves into the political donations of right-wing millionaires and billionaires, which have been enormously effective at lowering taxes and eliminating regulations. While this occasionally descends into what feels like a numbing list of names and organizations, Nelson largely succeeds in throwing light on the vast power of her cast of antagonists ... But if her goal was to identify what she called the \'nerve center\' or \'secret hub\' of the conservative movement, she largely fails. This is because, even after several hundred pages, it’s unclear what exactly the CNP actually does ... Nelson presents no evidence to suggest that the CNP is pivotal to—or even particularly incidental to—its members’ political activities. Their membership seems, rather, more like a stamp of conservative approval, the establishment’s imprimatur for worthy plutocrats ... Perhaps because Nelson herself is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, she believes in the influence of exclusive think tanks with glittering memberships, but her conspiratorial framing significantly undermines the impact of her otherwise trenchant journalism ... Unfortunately, and surprisingly, Nelson lets her antagonists off the hook at the end. In seeking to impart some lesson to her readers, she descends into the mire of both-sides-ism ... Although Shadow Network does vitally important work exposing the inner workings of secretive, influential groups, it’s hard to hope for more books in this genre. If we can rebuild democratic institutions and reestablish the conditions that enable them to function, there will be far fewer shadow networks to read about.
RaveThe New Republic...a nuanced and ultimately devastating indictment of government complicity with the worst excesses of American capitalism. The Cigarette looks beyond individual consumers and their choices and aims its penetrating gaze straight at the larger phenomena shaping all of our lives: the exigencies of war, the rise of organized interest groups, the fall of government regulators, and the immense, unseen influence of big business ...The Cigarette, while excellent, is far from the first book to document the harm wrought by Big Tobacco ... But Milov has provided the premier account of the government’s complicity with the exacting of this human cost, of the way Big Tobacco has evolved and adapted and neutralized lawmakers and regulators—and thrived. And of a billion needlessly lost lives. The lessons of her book remain stunningly relevant today.
Scott W. Stern
RaveThe New RepublicThe end result [of Stern\'s research] is this meticulously researched, utterly damning work that lays out just what measures the United States government took to control women’s sexuality and autonomy—and how perfectly happy local officials and law enforcement were to go along with it ... The truths revealed in this book are truly shocking, and even more so because they are so little known. The culture of silence that has impacted sex workers for so long has finally begun to dissipate, but potent dangers remain ... One hopes the fact that more authors are now working to tell those stories means that more people will fight back.