RaveThe Christian Science Monitor... not an easy book to categorize because it shuttles seamlessly between history, travelogue, and commentary. Ultimately, this is a personal narrative – a gifted writer’s effort to understand his grandfather’s life – that turned out to be far richer and more varied than the author ever envisioned when he undertook this journey. And it makes for a fascinating and thought-provoking read.
Robert D. Putnam and Shaylyn Romney Garrett
PositiveThe Christian Science MonitorCan a nation created to maximize individual freedom successfully pursue a common good? Robert D. Putnam and Shaylyn Romney Garrett tackle this question in The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again, a thoughtful and highly readable account of the way that these competing values have played out ... The analysis is complicated – as are most things in American history – because people who were not white males were almost always overlooked or excluded. Putnam devotes separate chapters to both race and gender, with often surprising conclusions ... Putnam invites the reader to think about whether Americans can reestablish a sense of concern for the whole community – what Martin Luther King Jr. called \'an inescapable network of mutuality\' – or whether as a nation we will continue to drift apart.
RaveThe Christian Science Monitor... engaging and insightful ... packed with telling insights and details about Tolstoy’s life that shaped the direction of the book ... the product of a lifetime of study. It demonstrates extensive research and great learning and is written by a gifted storyteller. The good news is that the book is not simply an academic treatise and will appeal to general readers. Indeed, Blaisdell’s sly humor and deprecating wit add to the pleasure of reading it ... This volume is unlikely to be read by those who have never read Anna Karenina. But for those who have, Blaisdell offers intriguing insights and fresh perspectives that will no doubt lead some, including this writer, to reread Tolstoy’s great masterpiece with renewed appreciation.
RaveThe Christian Science MonitorRoberts is a careful observer and he deftly organizes a complex, multifaceted series of events into a coherent, fast moving, and fascinating story ... This is a complex story with dozens of actors and events taking place simultaneously at different locations. Roberts effectively organizes the book by retelling the story through the eyes of several key participants ... Thanks to Roberts, we now have a better picture of what those long-ago protesters really accomplished.
RaveThe Christian Science MonitorPerl’s narrative makes Calder come alive ... Perl is a gifted writer and he tells the story with obvious affection for the artist. He seems to have seen every work that Calder made and writes about them with verve and insight. The sections about Calder creating sets for theater and ballet productions, along with his entertaining illustrated books, provide a full portrait of the artist and reveal Calder’s great gifts. Perl also addresses Calder’s skills as a draftsman and printmaker – two aspects of his oeuvre that are easily overlooked ... Unlike the other major artists of the 20th century, Calder has never had a comprehensive biography that set his life and work in context. Thanks to Jed Perl’s magisterial work, now he does.
PositiveThe Christian Science MonitorGorton weaves an entertaining history of this important journal and the people responsible for its success. While centered on events that occurred between 1890 and 1910, the tale she tells feels relevant today ... There are plenty of books about McClure, Tarbell, and McClure’s magazine. What Gorton does is provide a lively narrative that brings the three together in a strong, well-written, and compelling volume. Extensively researched, the book is written with flair. Readers will find themselves caught up in the story and rooting for the protagonists.
RaveThe Christian Science MonitorIn Land of Tears: The Exploration and Exploitation of Equatorial Africa, Yale University Professor Robert Harms deftly and authoritatively recounts the region’s compelling, fascinating, appalling, and tragic history ... This is a thoughtful and deeply researched book that makes for gripping, if sometimes uncomfortable, reading. This is history at its best: authoritative, insightful, and engaging ... History usually casts a long shadow. The legacy of the roughly 80 years of colonial rule still haunts equatorial Africa. One can only hope that Professor Harms will tell the next part of the story as vividly and effectively as he has told the first.
Arthur C. Brooks
MixedThe Christian Science MonitorBrooks marshals an impressive amount of evidence to make his point ... an important, powerful, and well-argued thesis ... Brooks goes easier than he should on the nation’s political class ... Brooks’ prescription that we treat others with love is praiseworthy and highly desirable. But it’s not clear that such an approach will get us very far if our leaders continue to spew anger and gratuitous insults in the public arena.
PositiveThe Christian Science MonitorAs with his other books on the major campaigns in Europe during World War II, [Beevor] deftly moves from the fox hole to the command post and provides candid portraits of the leading figures on both sides, frank judgments about strategy and tactics, and a brutally honest picture of the horrors of combat.