RaveThe New York Journal of BooksWoodward and Costa give us interesting and significant information on the individuals who have shaped US politics ... We also learn a great deal about those who hovered close to Donald Trump—his children and his third wife; Steve Bannon; Bill Barr; and the sycophants at Fox News. We learn not only what they said and did but the idiosyncrasies that help explain their actions ... very comprehensive ... We are fortunate that, despite the diet of distorted alternative facts fed to many Americans, hard-driving journalist-historians like Woodward and Costa can investigate and publish such a well-founded version of recent and current events.
PositiveThe New York Journal of Books... could be one of the most interesting and—at bottom—saddest books you will ever encounter ... Why are these tales so sad? An outsider might hope that some humans had developed a top-down hierarchy that used reason and positive rewards to direct a hard-working people to do great things. What Shum describes, however, is a system where a privileged elite is wined and dined (with aged Moutai liquor as well as French wines) to obtain permission to do anything and later get a cut from whatever profits ensue. The children and grandchildren of early revolutionaries (1920s–1940s) deploy their assets to enrich their own offspring so as to keep both power and wealth within the family.
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksThe authors infer that Trump cared more about himself than the country. Their meticulous history of his last year in office certainly supports that view. Their book may be somewhat hefty for the casual reader, but it is an essential read for anyone seriously concerned with the fate of democracy in the United States. The book belongs in every library seeking to record the major forces and personalities shaping the 21st century.
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksHere is vital reading for Americans and people anywhere who seek to understand what is happening \'after the fall\' of the global system created by the United States and shaped increasingly by China under Xi Jinping. The book’s analyses of recent events and apparent trends are based on facts, as the author finds them, presented in an offhand, nearly conversational manner. Other experts may disagree with the interpretations of Ben Rhodes but must take account of the realities he describes. A trimmed-down version of After the Fall could serve as an eye-opening supplementary text for AP, college, or adult ed courses on world affairs.
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksTo understand the challenges posed by Communist China, and the difficulties experienced by the United States in dealing with these challenges, there is probably no better book than Chaos Under Heaven. Author Josh Rogin, a reporter and opinion columnist for the Washington Post, knows many of the relevant actors in the U.S. capital, New York, and beyond. He combines his analysis of who did and said what with investigations of their personal and institutional interests ... Rogin notes the influence on U.S. policies of many Harvard University graduates and professors. He errs, however, in claiming that diplomat-scholar Kennan had a Ph.D. from Harvard ... Chaos Under Heaven emphasizes chaos in the United States. It could do more to detail chaos in China. On balance, it is a fascinating and illuminating account of the hard choices facing policymakers in both countries.
RaveNew York Journal of Books[Gates\'] book is not simplistic and is guardedly optimistic ... This clear and reader-friendly \'how-to\' book argues that it is important and do-able for the world to live with zero emissions by 2050. Gates is acutely aware of the difficulties in reaching this goal ... How to Avoid a Climate Disaster covers nearly every facet of the problem. The book synthesizes the knowledge of experts in dozens of relevant sciences. Gates presents the problems and potential solutions as complex systems. How to Avoid a Climate Disaster is a primer for every citizen and a checklist for specialists to make sure they have the big picture.
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksJentleson offers incisive portraits of the powerful senators who laid the foundation for the modern Senate ... Jentleson offers reason for hope.
RaveNew York Journal of BooksEvery sentence in this book deserves to be treasured and relished. Each word reflects a mind and spirit that inspire respect for all humans, for truth, and for wisdom in decisions that affect the United States and the world. The personal characteristics behind each phrase are so different from those that blurt and spew out erratic tweets from the Trump White House that an ET visitor, if it read both authors, could infer it had landed on two different planets.
Catherine Grace Katz
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksWhat if Jane Austen could write meticulous diplomatic history combined with a social portrait of American and British aristocracy? The product might resemble The Daughters of Yalta ... Not unlike the novels of Jane Austen, Katz casts a spell as she relates the twists and turns in the lives of her main characters. But her account of the Yalta Conference is as informative as it is intriguing ... Katz does not cite any Soviet sources. They would not be central to her story, but it would be interesting to know how Stalin and his entourage perceived the three sisters, one of whom—Kathleen—was said to be the best-known American woman in Russia after Eleanor Roosevelt and Deanna Durbin ... dds a human touch to the excellent but more conventional diplomatic histories by Diana Preston, Serhii Plokhii, Fraser Harbutt, and Diane Shaver Clemens.
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksRage gives the reader the context for...major political events. But it also provides insights into the interactions between the president and those close to him ... essential reading for anyone hoping to understand Trump and his place—as cause and consequence—in American politics.
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksGranted that Bolton’s account is self-serving and fragmentary, his memoir is valuable. Bolton shows the reader how one highly intelligent and experienced adviser to the president viewed hot spots around the globe—from China, Russia, and Iran to Venezuela. His description of debates within the administration gives clues as to how other officials saw these critical areas. In these respects, Bolton’s book performs a service for concerned citizens and policy analysts parallel to that of No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington by Condoleezza Rice ... Bolton’s book casts a dark light on himself as well as on the president. Bolton reveals himself as an egotistical opportunist, one who is now breaking his pledge to keep quiet about what he observed or heard inside the White House.
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksHaass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, provides the reader with a comprehensive analysis of our world—a valuable guide for every alert citizen as well as for scholars and students of international affairs ... Although much of what Haass writes should be familiar to readers of major newspapers, many will be enlightened by the author’s descriptions of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and why the US dollar remains the world’s most used currency ... Most controversial is the book’s final section on order and disorder—all the elements of chaos and those that have been integral to the liberal world order. In all these discussions, there is a right-of-center tilt, one that finds comfort in \'realism\' and worry about \'idealism.\' But the author’s most urgent concern is with the Trump administration and its subjective choices that are neither realist nor idealist.
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksScum-bag\' is the most fastidious term used by Rick Wilson to describe the U.S. president. The term also implies the kinds of campaign Wilson recommends to Democrats if they are to take on and defeat Donald J. Trump in 2020 ... The author is a \'never-Trumper\' who used to work for the Republican Party when he regarded it as genuinely conservative. He knows how the party works—or worked—from the inside. His get-tough-in-the-street strategy is a far cry from the elevated thoughts of Michelle Obama in Becoming or Samantha Power in Education of an Idealist, both reviewed here in 2019. Their blend of idealism and realism could make a reader feel good about struggling for a better world. But if Wilson’s tactics are the only way to wrest the White House and save America from a band of miscreants, some readers will prefer to emulate the legendary St. Jerome and retreat to a cave and study the Holy Writ.
PositiveThe New York Journal of Books... an authoritative, blow-by-blow account of Donald Trump’s first three years in the White House ... Most of the events described will be familiar to readers of the Washington Post, New York Times, and other major news sources. But the reporting by Rucker and Leonnig illuminate the petty and often vindictive quality of the president’s thinking ... In many instances the authors give rich detail on events covered more broadly in the news.
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksReading this book will help you appreciate that, despite many trends in the opposite direction, we live in a world where the values of the Enlightenment still exist ... Readers of Krugman’s work over recent decades will have seen most of this book before. Taken together, however, the book’s wide-ranging essays provide an astute picture of what has gone wrong in the United States. While Krugman blames most of these trends on the unholy alliance of big money and Republican politics, he fails to address the vulnerabilities in the American psyche, education, and culture that have led four out of ten voters to endorse Trumpism. The book has six pages on Fox News but could have offered more on the shaping of truly fake news.
PositiveNew York Journal of Books\"This an authoritative and highly readable history of the Damocles Sword that has hung over humanity for some 70 years and shows no signs of being sheathed or turned into plowshares ... Kaplan’s book is nothing if not alarming. The plans concocted in Washington and probably in Moscow often verged on madness—complete neglect of morality as well as practicality ... The Bomb excels at conveying the thinking of America’s strategic planners since 1945, but it lacks perspective on the processes of action and reaction—how the United States and its rivals interacted to fuel the arms race and its dangers.\
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksNeal Katyal makes an unimpeachable case, concise but comprehensive, for impeachment ... This book is nothing if not up to date. Published in November 2019, it refers to many events and documents released as recently as September. To be sure, much of the material has already been in the public domain, but Katyal with his legal mind analyzes it in a novel way ... The president, according to Katyal, has committed impeachable offenses, but justice will not be served unless the American people demand that Sections 3 and 9 of the Constitution’s Article 1 are implemented. If Americans read this short book, they may do just that.
RaveThe New York Journal of BooksThis is not a feel-good but a get-mad book ... Maddow’s investigations get us below the surface. Does she exaggerate? Not much, if at all ... The often muck-raking journalist can be sensational, but she does so with the skills of a Ph.D. in politics from Oxford University ... Though not all her claims are based on original research, she masterfully integrates information from many quarters ... The book contains much material to make many readers irate, but also some that is downright entertaining.
RaveThe New York Journal of BooksThis is an amazing tale—a veritable profile of courage plus persistence ... The book educates the reader about multiple crises in world affairs and how an idealist comes to think about and deal with them ... this is a good read for any empathetic, intellectually alive reader wondering about the world and the meaning of life.
Jon Meacham and Tim McGraw
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksSome of this story will be familiar to many readers; for most readers the book will open an expanding chamber of discovery ... The book could intrigue professional historians as well as high school or college students wanting a vibrant supplement to standard textbooks. It should also inspire if not electrify modern suffragettes and supporters of civil rights, cultural cosmopolitanism, and bedrock patriotism.
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksFor anyone who wishes to understand the perils to democracy, in the U.S. and worldwide, this book provides a reliable and quite readable instruction manual ... Stanford professor Larry Diamond...depicts the big picture in Russia, China, and the United States and illustrates it with telling details; he enlarges that picture with snapshots of life in other countries, such as Hungary, Thailand, and the Philippines, where he has talked with those who suffer from government repression as well as some of the repressors.
Hal Brands and Charles Edsel
RaveNew York Journal of BooksBottom line: This is a book that should be read by all students and citizens concerned with the lessons of history. The deep insights in this book may not be absorbed or followed by American voters or even by many elected representatives. Nonetheless the alert citizen of the US and any concerned member of the human race will learn much from this learned and very readable treatise.
MixedNew York Journal of BooksAbout power and, ultimately, morality ... Crawford’s book omits the downsides of Internet connectivity ... If more and more actors enjoy fiber access, will the Internet be mainly a tool of the rich and powerful or will it level the playing field, an instrument of asymmetric warfare?
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksThis book can be treasured by history buffs for its fascinating facts and the author’s graceful and engaging style ... Quick paced and reading like a novel, this book provides a psycho-history of Hitler ... a masterful fusion of information found in at least 140 secondary sources ... [an] epic tale ... The font and layout of the book are pleasing to the eye, but the editing fails to correct many typos in German and several in English.
MixedThe New York Journal of BooksIllustrates its recounting of U.S. history with many rich details ... However, the theory behind the book’s thesis is amorphous and poorly defined. Sexton could do more to note parallels and differences in his own analysis with those of other scholars.
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksCritics writing in the New Republic and other outlets accuse Abramson of cherry picking the news to support a conspiracy theory. But his book has 109 pages of notes to back up 320 pages of text. ... Rather than term Abramson a conspiracy theorist, perhaps we should refer to him as a serious researcher working to test a bold hypothesis. If and when we learn the results of the Mueller investigation, we will have a better foundation to assess Abramson’s hypothesis ... ven if some of Abramson’s claims are too broad, any future study of Trump and Russia must use his book as a compendium of facts and assertions that must be included as a starting point if not an end point of investigation.
PositiveNew York Journal of Books\"Read this book and you will be more thankful and even proud to be part of the human race from which this woman (and her husband) emerged. Becoming will assure you that not all figures in public life are professional liars, fakes, thieves, sexual bullies, and assassins ... Becoming, translated into more than 30 languages, injects deep breaths of fresh air and honesty into global consciousness. The book says little directly about politics, but every page reveals a lot about context.\
MixedThe New York Journal of BooksA careful reader of all these sources would find little new in The Apprentice. But the reader will find an integrated synthesis—a solid account that goes back many years to get elements of a full picture. Miller offers little in the way of deep analysis, but he provides many facts from which the reader can draw his or her own conclusions.
RaveThe New York Journal of BooksHe [Pearlstein] is not a Ph.D.-type economist, but he reads widely and aptly summarizes what academics such as Edward Banfield, James Coleman, Amartya Sen, and Robert Reich have written about trust and income distribution. He explains the Gini coefficient in reader-friendly terms and then presents easy-to-read tables showing the distribution of wealth and income around the globe ... Pearlstein has written a book that underscores difficult economic and social problems and suggests how to confront them with policies that are moral as well as practica ... This book is full of deep insights and good ideas.
MixedThe New York Journal of BooksPulitzer-prize winning author Chris Hedges argues that America’s ruling elites have rigged the system and neutered government controls so as to aggrandize their profits while immiserating nearly everyone else. Other authors have reached similar conclusions while pouring over statistics and writing op-eds in their ivory towers. But Hedges has gone where despair and hate penetrate everyone and everything—from boarded-up factories and porn studios to bankrupted Trump casinos ... The views of Chris Hedges reflect not only the experiences of a well-traveled journalist and war correspondent (who covered violence in Central America, Sudan, Palestine, East Germany, and Yugoslavia) but also his close reading of scholars such as Hannah Arendt and Pankaj Mishra.
Each chapter is backed by dozens of citations ... Hedges sides with Rosa Luxemburg (assassinated in Germany in 1919) against Lenin. As she warned, revolutions from above end in tyranny. But then Hedges writes that Lenin \'to achieve power in the 1917 revolution, was forced to follow her advice, abandoning many of his most doctrinaire ideas to respond to the life force of Russian Revolution itself\' ... This kind of distortion—not a black on white falsehood—should lead readers to take other sweeping statements with more than one grain of salt.
Benjamin Carter Hett
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksDeeply researched and well balanced, Hett’s book offers profound lessons for Americans and others—warnings about the political dangers they face and what real democrats should oppose ... Given that Hett tells this story in a relatively short compass, he could have done more to assess the role of external forces ... Hett could have done more to underline how Stalin’s directives to the German Communist Party prevented a leftist voting bloc against Hitler in 1932 elections. Too late Stalin saw his mistake ... Germans, Hett concludes, could hardly be blamed for not foreseeing the unthinkable. \'We who come later have one advantage over them: we have their example before us.\'
RaveThe New York Journal of BooksA master of analysis using multiple sources, Snyder draws on Russian, German, and other European languages as well as a wide spectrum of books and periodicals in English to make the case. His synthesis describes and documents how Putin’s agents worked with Trump’s entourage to steal the election for Trump ... Snyder calls for a politics of responsibility and virtue rather than hubristic trust that America is a predestined model of progress. His book, however, underscores the difficulty in opposing the oligarchical clans who have shaped recent politics—the Mercers (Breitbart News and Steve Bannon), Trump-Kushner, and the Koch brothers (unlimited campaign contributions) ... Snyder’s book is quite readable—its text backed by more than 50 pages of lengthy endnotes, one or two notes in multiple languages for nearly every page of text.