PanThe Washington Independent Review of BooksAccording to its inside flap, Kraft is funny. But I didn’t see much humor in the story of a politically conservative European academic who moves to America to try to win a million-dollar award for writing an essay confirming that \'Whatever is, is right\' ... Instead of wit, I saw ennui: a particularly European haze through which an unhappy man sees darkly ... This is a pretty light structure for a novel, and the feeling conveyed throughout the first chapters is narrowness of vision. We only see or feel anything through Kraft, and little of that is actual sensation. It’s mostly just him thinking about feelings and past incidents that caused feelings ... The sentences, ably translated by Tess Lewis, are long — as one might expect from a stream-of-consciousness look back on one’s detached, scholarly life — and quite accomplished at bouncing all over the place, leaving the reader in doubt about what is real and present versus illusory and past ... This is as deep as it gets with Lüscher’s protagonist, and the rest of the book operates on the less-than-galvanizing theme that nothing is simple ... if you like to read about old white men who’ve lost their self-assurance as they scan their mental libraries for the moments that cost them their confidence, Kraft is the novel for you. Otherwise, you might be satisfied with simply remembering that nothing is simple.
Alan D. Gaff
PanThe Washington Independent Review of BooksForgive, dear reader, my skepticism, but what is this book supposed to accomplish? Gaff follows \'the lost memoir\' with another 90 pages of biographical essay, which shows he is merely fulfilling Walsh’s dreams of telling mythological stories about people we want to be our heroes ... take Lou Gehrig: The Lost Memoir with a grain of salt. Enjoy the stories and the history without believing all of it. Fame has always been a mirage, but making money? Well, that’s a different story…
PositiveThe Washington Independent Review of Books[Neiman\'s] perspective of being Jewish in Germany is compelling ... The reader can easily see how the Trump administration is rending the tender social connections she is documenting ... an important book for showing us a path we can follow.
RaveWashington Independent Review of Books\"The reader’s great honor and delight is to follow Luxenberg as he intertwines their stories from widely singular strands at the beginning, to their historical moments on stage together in 1896 ... In explaining the lead-up to the Civil War, Luxenberg offers a clarifying analysis of the catalyzing effects of the Runaway Slave Act, particularly in the North ... With this monumental work, Luxenberg shows us precisely how [our current political landscape echoes those of the past] — through the workings of malleable law.\
PositiveWashington Independent Review of Books\"If you’re the kind of reader who admires humility and are sensitive to its absence in an author, this book is not for you ... But no one can complain about the volume of information, the depth of insight, the compelling anger of this story.\
PositiveThe Washington Independent Review of BooksMake no mistake, Henry’s is a hard-luck story ... We’re told on the first page of Mad Boy that Henry Phipps, the boy of the title, is 10 years old and that he’s running because he thinks his brother, Franklin, has been executed as a deserter from the U.S. Army in Bladensburg, Maryland, in 1814. From that moment forward, he never stops moving and, like Ulysses, his goal seems to move from him as he flees toward it ... a page-turner that stands up to scrutiny ... paints the picture of an America that is not conducive to reasoned consideration ... a novel that will make the reader wonder, “Who is mad in a world at war?”
PositiveThe Washington Independent Review of Books\"Because Tara had to fight to break free from her family’s limiting influences, Educated will be an inspiration to some. Her storytelling, characterizations, and dialogue are strong. Any sensitive reader will respond to the hopefulness of her academic and literary achievements. And yet, everybody in every family (even in the best of circumstances) has the challenge of establishing a singular identity against a lacerating background. This book has what modern memoir promises (a cut, a scab, and the endless compulsion to pick at it) but, in the end, that formula doesn’t guarantee resonance.\
PositiveWashington Independent Review of Books\"Because Tara had to fight to break free from her family’s limiting influences, Educated will be an inspiration to some. Her storytelling, characterizations, and dialogue are strong. Any sensitive reader will respond to the hopefulness of her academic and literary achievements ... And yet, everybody in every family (even in the best of circumstances) has the challenge of establishing a singular identity against a lacerating background. This book has what modern memoir promises (a cut, a scab, and the endless compulsion to pick at it) but, in the end, that formula doesn’t guarantee resonance.\
Jared Yates Sexton
RaveThe Washington Independent Review of Books...perhaps you’re ready for a wise and energetic narrative of how the United States was Putinized. Perhaps you’d be willing to consider resistance if you heard a compelling witness. If you think that knowledge of the truth is more useful than memories of pain, then The People Are Going to Rise is for you ... You may not be looking for a reminder of these days, but if you’re unwilling to keep your head in the sand, Sexton’s book will help you see and understand them better.