PositiveThe Pittsburgh Post-Gazette... a good old-fashioned monster story ... Mr. Robinson’s intrigue and geopolitical drama are well supported by his meticulous research into every sort of environmental theory, proposed solution and geo-engineering possibility, which he deftly incorporates into his work. If you’ve been looking for an environmental monster story in which the heroes are scientists who aren’t above taking off their gloves and getting their hands dirty, this might just be the campfire story for you.
Kristin Kobes Du Mez
PositivePittsburgh-Post GazetteMs. Du Mez digs deeper into the evolution (no pun intended) of the white, masculine, American-branded faith that most of the rest of the country is still trying to figure out. Ms. Du Mez is a product of the world she researches ... She maintains that Donald Trump was only the frosting on top of a cake that had been baking for decades ... Ms. Du Mez is at her best while describing how a faith movement soon became a uniquely American consumer culture with the development of Christian music, television, publishing, and movies ... Ms. Du Mez’s book is a much needed and painstakingly accurate chronicle of exactly \'where many evangelicals are,\' and the long road that got them there.
Ibram X. Kendi
PositivePittsburgh Post-GazetteWhen Ibram X. Kendi speaks or writes about race, his words are measured, clinical, precise. He does not shout to the rafters or bellow through a bullhorn. He is not so much a provocateur but more like a physician diagnosing a particularly invasive disease. This is not to say that his gaze is not penetrating or his critique is not biting ... Mr. Kendi is fond of clear-eyed and rigid definitions regarding racism ... People entrenched in the day-in-and-day-out struggle for civil rights may quibble with the dispassionate limits of Mr. Kendi’s definitions, or the fact that they even need to be preached to about what racism is and isn’t. Those who suffer the daily aggressions and indignities because of the color of their skin may roll their eyes when Mr. Kendi suggests that people are not inherently racist, they simply have racist ideas or act in racist ways ... Where I question Mr. Kendi is with his assertion that antiracist policy drives antiracist opinion. It seems to me that the rapid policy changes in this country surrounding gay marriage were driven by a lot of hard conversations in families and workplaces around the country. In other words, I believe it was those slow changes in mind-set that eventually led to rapid changes in policy, not the other way around. It’s a moot point anyway. The fight against racism in this country needs to happen in both legislatures and living rooms. It’s just that most of us have more access to one than the other. To that end, I find How to Be Antiracist helpful in having those hard conversations, in not writing off the racism skeptics in my life as lost causes, and in defining certain things that I don’t have to experience for myself every day.
PanPittsburgh Post-GazetteFor a book of such length, these plots fall into laps a bit too quickly and coincidentally. There’s a lot more skull cracking than actual police work here ... What I got in This Storm is a 600-page entanglement [that is] so dark and disturbing ... Gone is the fun. Gone are the winking nods and mocking observance. Now we are participants in the mayhem. Mr. Ellroy seems to revel in the debauchery, and in doing so, he seems more like a twisted caricature of his previous self. It feels as though we are now just playing at cops and robbers so we can relish doing horrible things and spewing the most vile and racist dialogue you can imagine ... It’s one thing for horrible characters to say horrible things. It’s begins to weigh on you when the racist epithets find their way into the third-person narrative ... This former fan is in need of a shower and a literary palate cleanser.
PositiveThe Pittsburgh Post-Gazette[Vuong is] a rather amazing virtuoso ... both unique and endearing ... If I had any complaint, it would be that Little Dog’s mother, Rose, is rather flat and colorless in the retelling. Her only modes seem to be hard work, exhaustion and physical abuse of her son ... To call this a story is a bit of a stretch. There is no plot, no protagonist or antagonist, and no conflict-driven three-act structure to grasp the hero’s prize ... But what keeps the pages turning are the honest moments indelibly burned into the memory ... When I began the book, I wondered if I would be able to relate to the tale of a gay Vietnamese immigrant. But within a few pages, it became clear that the story of family and of discovering yourself as you come of age, is universal ... This immigrant’s life is as deeply an American story as George Washington’s truth-telling or Benjamin Franklin’s kite, but this one is much more expertly told.