MixedThe St. Louis Post-DispatchNathaniel Philbrick’s In the Hurricane’s Eye, the final book in his trilogy on the American Revolution, showcases the same research and storytelling skills that made the first two books, Bunker Hill and Valiant Ambition, successful. Philbrick brings a third strength to Hurricane’s Eye: a personal understanding of sailing ... For a landlubber, the detail can be too much at times, and maps, so good at charting land battles, don’t work so well on water ... Some of the best material in the book recounts the battle of egos and strategies between [George] Washington and the French.
MixedSt. Louis Post-DispatchAddressing his departed aunt, with whom he lived on first moving to Dublin but whose death he ignored, he writes, 'Forgive me, dear old aunt ... one’s inner monster stays forever young' ... That kind of introspection is rare in this book. It’s about Dublin. Of the book’s 49 striking photographs taken by Paul Joyce, only a few include Banville. He’s facing away from the camera in all of them.
PositiveThe St. Louis Post-DispatchIn language as spare and affecting as that land north of Tulsa, author David Grann vividly tells how the killer, an influential rancher, systematically arranged for the murder of at least two dozen members of the Osage Indian Nation and how he was brought to justice.
PositiveThe St. Louis Post-DispatchShroder is a skillful writer and has good raw material ... The book doesn’t start well. Shroder tries too hard, using too many words, to find parallels in his life with his grandfather’s life...Later, Shroder tightens things up, and the book develops into a deeply interesting examination of the threads connecting Shroder, his grandfather and even his great-grandfather.
PositiveThe St. Louis Post-DispatchUsing remembrances from Capone’s descendants, particularly three granddaughters, Bair paints a fuller and more intimate picture of the gangster ... The narrative of Capone’s rise and fall frequently comes to a halt because of the biographer’s tendency to present several versions of a Capone story, then decide which is probably true. That kind of detour is better left to the footnotes. That said, Capone provides tremendous insight into the man who, decades after his death, may be the best-known Chicagoan of all time.
PositiveThe St. Louis Post-DispatchBascomb’s book makes a strong case for upgrading [Operation] Gunnerside’s profile ... Bascomb’s book brims with heroes. The most intriguing of the characters is Leif Tronstad, an esteemed Norwegian scientist who spent most of the war in London. He fled there in 1941 with details of the Nazis’ plans for the heavy water produced at Vemork. He directed Norwegian resistance but felt guilty over his comfortable residence near a London park...After three years in London, he returned to Norway to fight the hated Nazis.
RaveThe St. Louis Post Dispatch...a gem of a book — well-reported, deftly written, tightly focused. It’s a book that will appeal to the urban planner and the Mardi Gras reveler ... Katrina is a genuine success, and is a starting point for anyone interested in how The City That Care Forgot develops in its second decade of recovery.
RaveSt. Louis Post-DispatchGiven the number of words written about Custer, author T.J. Stiles acknowledges at the end of his new book that he is not sure he has found out anything about Custer that will be new to all readers. True, perhaps. Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America is nevertheless an immensely interesting and engaging story of Custer and his times.