RaveThe New York Times Book Review... abundantly clever ... [Rooney\'s] notion is that time-noting instruments of one kind or another (his impartial passion for such items, sundials to plutonium-fueled clocks, he recounts quite touchingly) have been central to human endeavor, and he illustrates the power of such influence by scores of well-curated examples ... The consequence of serving up history in such digestible chunks could be an ultimate want of satiety. But Rooney cleverly manages to avoid this, and though some of his chapters are better than others the majority are deftly navigated ... Though the device of structuring books in this particular way may be approaching its sell-by date, this is a lovely and engaging example, with myriad fascinations on every page. Such that Rooney may well be persuaded to examine more closely one or other of his themes — how long-term thinking, for example, might contribute to a sorely needed notion of peace — and expand it further, dive more deeply. That would take time of course, but for Rooney and his readers, I suggest it would be time well spent.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewWhere did they come from, when did they get there, and how? ... in Sea People, her fascinating and satisfying addition to an already considerable body of Polynesian literature, she succeeds admirably ... Thompson keep[s] up the gripping pace of this particularly exciting part of the story.
MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewThe portrait Baker seeks to paint turns out, perhaps, to be near-impossibly ambitious. She attempts to chronicle and assess the behavior and achievement of a raft of these self-deludingly superior Englishmen and their kin ... they are faults that make for a reading experience some will think hugely colorful and minutely observed. Most, I fear, will find the labyrinthine narrative of The Last Englishmen just too rich, too stuffed with an \'inside-cricket\' chumminess (amplified with gratuitously inserted chummy slang: \'knackered,\' \'the trots,\' \'nicked\') and its assumption that all will know their K2 (a real mountain) from their F6 ... Baker’s book is itself not unlike the Calcutta adda. One can imagine it being debated, phrase by well-turned phrase, over endless cups of Coorg kaphi, with the aromas of bidis and State Express 555s lacing the air, until another steamy dawn arrives over the Maidan and everyone stumbles out into the brief damp cool of morning, wondering what all that was really about, while the Hooghly River groans on like syrup to the bay.
MixedThe Washington Post\"In her book, and after a lifetime studying the seismicity of Southern California, Jones appears to take much the same view, stoically. She reminds us, in sober terms, that the forces that bring us earthquakes and volcanoes and tsunamis and cyclones (and that also help form dramatic scenery and climate, of kinds among which we generally like to live) are also capable of bringing down more wrath and destruction than can ever be withstood ... It is a little disappointing to read that Jones has only the most anodyne and predictable of suggestions for dealing with all this impending doom — we must educate ourselves, build better and more resilient buildings, ape the Japanese, get our kids to drill, engage with local leaders, don’t assume the government will be much help (As if. See Michael Brown).\
RaveThe New York Times Book Review...[a] joyously delicious account of Britain’s gastronomic influence on the world ... original and supremely captivating ... In British terms, she is Henry Mayhew and Mass-Observation rolled into one — a stellar observer of the day-to-day and the mundane, a social historian of extraordinary talent ... From such lavish depictions we derive with infinite pleasure a pointilliste picture of the world’s food economy in all its magical complexity.
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review[Rappaport] he tells with authority how tea and the culture of tea drinking has influenced the greater history of the British Empire and the British-influenced world beyond … Rappaport’s description of the ways in which tea has been marketed over the years is entirely absorbing, especially for an academic audience. Absorbing and, to some, unsettling...Still more unsettling is the coming reality that coffee — quelle horreur! — is fast overtaking tea as the national drink of England. That is seen as a sea change of as much significance as Brexit and the rise of Jeremy Corbyn, the decline of the five-day cricket match and a slipping national fondness for Marmite and Gentleman’s Relish.
Richard Lloyd Parry
PositiveThe New York Review of BooksThat memory of this disaster endures is thanks in no small measure to books like Ghosts of the Tsunami, a lively and nuanced narrative by the British journalist Richard Lloyd Parry, the longtime and widely respected correspondent in Tokyo for the London Times. Though in part he presents vivid accounts of what was a very complex event, with this book he wisely stands back — after what is now a decent interval — to consider the essence of the story, the manner in which the earthquake might have in some way effected a change of sorts upon Japan ...The dreadful consequence of the dithering incompetence of the more culpable of the staff at the Okawa Primary School makes for heartbreaking reading ...in his account Parry is careful not to suggest that anything akin to a major change is in the works, or that the Japanese are, as a result of so huge a disaster, at last becoming comprehensively distempered and litigious — are becoming a little more like us, in short.
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review...[a] timely and comprehensively informative book ... What policy makers in America now need to grasp — and what isn’t fully illustrated in this new book — is that little has changed today. There remains a deep-seated disdain among all too many Chinese toward upstart Westerners who crave the approval and affection of today’s rulers of the People’s Republic ... Pomfret has more than adequately told the story of the last quarter-millennium’s acquaintanceship from America’s standpoint. What we need now is to know just how the 'entangling embrace' is regarded by China.