PositiveThe Wall Street Journal... an adventure memoir, love story and harrowing salute to those who have perished in underwater caves ... Ms. Heinerth is very good at making you understand both the otherworldly euphoria and claustrophobic horror of cave diving. She’s a solid writer, as adept at rendering the decor of her grubby student apartment in Toronto as she is at describing what it’s like to be trapped in a current inside an Antarctic iceberg 130 feet below the surface ... Ms. Heinerth takes careful notice not just of the psychological burdens of cave diving but of the physical ones as well.
Roger D. Hodge
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review...a fervent pastiche of memory and reportage and history... Hodge begins his book with an atmospheric prelude that to my ear echoes the opening of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian ... If Hodge is susceptible every now and then to the hypnotic Bible rhythms of McCarthy’s language, for the most part he writes with an earnest, stripped-down clarity. He’s smart, observant and skeptical. He has no interest in adding another volume to the library shelves of rousing Texas hoohah ... Hard ground and lived experience are what Texas Blood is all about ... All of this is often riveting, but it can be frustrating too, because Texas Blood is more a box of parts than a smoothly cresting narrative ... His reporting is vigorous ... Best of all, Hodge is haunted. He never gets mystical, but neither is he ever out of touch with the shimmering, mysterious history of the land he’s writing about, or the unfathomable allure it had for ancient peoples and his own pioneer family.
PositiveThe Wall Street Journal...[a] lively and sweeping chronicle ... Mr. Knowlton writes well about all the usual fun stuff: trail drives, rambunctious cow towns, gunfights and range wars. What makes it a 'hidden history' is the way it enlists all these tropes in support of an intriguing thesis: that the romance of the Old West arose upon the swelling surface of a giant economic bubble ... I sometimes wished that Mr. Knowlton hadn’t felt the need to think quite so hard, especially since his book otherwise coasts along just fine on the strength of his curiosity and storytelling ease ... Mr. Knowlton resists the temptation to chastise the past about animal rights from our supposedly more enlightened century, but he steadily, sneakily reminds us that, even as the cattle bubble was bursting and the shareholders were being thrown into ruin, it was their four-footed commodity that did the real suffering.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewTaylor, a biographer of Proust, is less concerned with a moment in time than with the mystery of time itself. His narrative is elusive and elastic, ranging widely before and beyond that handshake. Ruminations and reminiscences drift into place like the fluttering contents of a snow globe ... Taylor’s self-portrait of an odd, bewildered boy born into the frightening middle of the 20th century is touching, and a little shattering. Sometimes his prose can be fuzzily poetic, but more often it’s precision-guided ... 'The future is dark,' Taylor writes, 'the present a knife’s edge. It’s the past that is knowable, incandescent, real.' It’s an arguable premise, I suppose, but Taylor’s remembering is fierce enough to sell it. His brush with history has the breath of life.