PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewThis is primarily a construction saga, albeit a highly readable one set in an anxious nation that didn’t know it needed Disneyland until Walt provided it ... No detail is too small for Snow ... therefore a disappointment that [Snow] includes only an alphabetical list of books and articles instead of endnotes, especially in a narrative full of reconstructed scenes that cries out for firmer sourcing ... Snow also includes remembrances of the Disneyland from his childhood that would be perfectly at home in an afterword, but he lodges them distractingly in the second chapter. And for a book, like many others of its historical genre, that purports to show how its subject \'changed the world,\' he gives only brief treatment to the multiple criticisms of Disneyland and its effect on American life. Some of these attacks come from academic reactionaries, certainly, but the park’s social legacy calls for more conscientious treatment than three pages, which is significantly less attention than Snow gives to Walt’s extended haggle with television networks. Despite these minor shortcomings, the pacing is well-timed ... a worthy peek behind the drapes.
MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewRutkow paints convincing portrayals of technocrat-heroes like Logan Page and Thomas MacDonald at the federal road office, who handled their jobs with efficiency and prudence even while commanding staggering amounts of money. At times, the book reads like an executive summary of the various conferences organized to promote the highway, while potentially colorful episodes are brushed over. Rutkow is a superb fact-hunter ... Yet not every quotation about the highway feels necessary to the story, and there’s a paucity of description of the road itself or its surrounding landscape. And for such a well-researched book about a bicontinental project, there’s another strange omission. The route through South America receives precious little attention, with almost all the focus trained on United States policy toward road-building in Central America. Rutkow is a graceful writer with a penchant for well-placed classical allusions, yet he possesses a distracting literary tic: a heavy reliance on the adverb \'finally,\' which occasionally occurs twice on the same page ... The narrative finds its highest velocity near the end, with a fascinating section on a North Carolina schoolteacher’s efforts to bushwhack his way through the Darien Gap, and Richard Nixon’s stated desire to drive the finished road himself in time for the 1976 bicentennial.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review\"...it goes a long way toward dispelling the image of Theroux as a long-suffering misanthrope setting out on the rails and the roads yet again. What emerges instead is a portrait of an optimist with curiosity and affection for humanity in all its forms, as well as a ravenous appetite for the literary efforts of others ... Taken together, these essays draw a picture of a cheerful polymath thoroughly enjoying even those conversations that he later pretends to find tiresome.\
RaveThe Los Angeles TimesThis spiritualization of corporeal feelings is the idea at the heart of Ghostland, a book that repeats this thesis over and over again, but does so in such creative and even ingenious ways that the reader pays no mind to that lingering echo in the basement ... Part of the special delight of Ghostland is its many informed asides, revealing Dickey’s long hours of spading up obscure facts and quotes.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewMost of these stories are already well known, and MacQuarrie might have been better off choosing less well-traveled paths, but he writes smartly and engagingly and with a sense of populist enthusiasm about the variety of South America’s life and landscape.
MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewIt...reads like a particularly long issue of The Economist — strong in terms of background, authority and seamlessness of prose. But there’s not much in the way of the unexpected and not much reported from the 21st century, since Ziegler’s focus is squarely on the deeds of past centuries.