In the News, December 2018
Posted 12.14.18: "Victor Davis Hanson's The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won is essential reading, as is everything he writes, but few works of history better capture the enormous scope of its subject. Combining an expert account of strategy and tactics on all sides with clear and adept analysis of the role of politics and economics and technological innovation, of manufacturing, supply, and logistics, it captures the overwhelming scale of this greatest of human conflicts.... This is history at its most sweeping."—Wilfred McClay, The Claremont Review
Posted 11.27.18: Publisher's Weekly on Harold Bloom's forthcoming Macbeth: A Dagger of the Mind: "Acclaimed critic Bloom once again plumbs the depths of a Shakespeare play to reveal new insights, this time offering a richly detailed character sketch of Macbeth. In a close, scene-by-scene reading, Bloom presents Macbeth as an ambitious visionary driven by a ‘prophetic imagination,' while leaving death and destruction in his wake.... As he has so often done, Bloom will shift the reader's perceptions of a literary classic."
Posted 11.08.18: Publishers Weekly has named Of Monkey Bridges and Banh Mi Sandwiches by Oanh Ngo Usadi as the finalist in Memoir/Autobiography for the 2018 BookLife Prize. Her book is one of six finalists and the only nonfiction work. Judge Julie Powell wrote: “In dark times like these, the ability to find what binds us is vital. In Of Monkey Bridges and Banh Mi Sandwiches, Oanh Ngo Usadi brings empathy and vivid storytelling to her young life as a Vietnamese girl fleeing the country with her family after the Vietnam War. At once an ode to the beauty of her home country and a harrowing depiction of the horrors of leaving it for an uncertain new life, Of Monkey Bridges and Banh Mi Sandwiches is the sort of book we need right now, to remind us that for all our differences, we share love, fear, and the hope of redemption. As Usadi and her family slowly adjust to their new lives in Texas, it becomes clear that theirs is a quintessentially American story.... Plot: This memoir is gripping and well crafted. Prose: Beautifully written, this powerful memoir uses concise, deliberate language. Originality: This story of perseverance, resourcefulness, and determination is original and important."
Posted 10.04.18: "He sets out his case with characteristic brilliance and conviction." — The Economist on The Jungle Grows Back: America and Our Imperiled World by Robert Kagan
Posted 09.21.18: A New York Times Best Seller! Contempt: A Memoir of the Clinton Investigation by Kenneth W. Starr
Posted 09.11.18: “In an explosive new memoir, Contempt: A Memoir of the Clinton Investigation, former independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr revealed that he considered bringing perjury charges against Hillary Clinton after a 1995 deposition with investigators…. ‘In the space of three hours, she claimed, by our count, over a hundred times that she “did not recall” or “did not remember.” This suggested outright mendacity. To be sure, human memory is notoriously fallible, but her strained performance struck us as preposterous.' Starr said that he ultimately decided not to bring charges against the then-first lady because it would be difficult to prove that she lied when she said ‘I don't recall' and ‘I don't remember.'”—The Daily Wire
Posted 07.10.18: Publishers Weekly on Sex Matters: How Modern Feminism Lost Touch with Science, Love, and Common Sense by Mona Charen: "Charen delivers a scathing critique of modern feminism in this brash treatise. Each chapter focuses on a different issue plaguing women today—campus sexual assault, divorce rates, and so on—that, she argues, has been exacerbated by the gains of feminism."
Posted 07.08.18: Voice of America on Of Monkey Bridges and Banh Mi Sandwiches by Oanh Ngo Usadi: "Heartrending and funny.... Usadi writes poignantly about her life before and after the fall of Saigon to the communist north, from the Mekong Delta to refugee camps in Malaysia and the Philippines, to her ultimate resettlement as an immigrant in the small Texas town of Port Arthur."
Posted 05.12.18: Publishers Weekly on Iago: The Strategies of Evil by Harold Bloom, published next week by Scribner: “There are few readers more astute than Bloom, as is proven once more in this perceptive study of Othello. The fourth entry in a series devoted to ‘Shakespeare's Personalities' finds Bloom wrestling with Iago.... The book evokes the experience of reading Shakespeare's text along with Bloom.... The true value of Bloom's sensitive reading lies in his ability to articulate his emotional response to the play. He leaves readers with a memorable new perspective on Othello, concluding with the observation that none of Shakespeare's other plays is as disturbing.”
Posted 04.21.18: "Whether one is reading ‘Lear' for the first time or the 14th, Mr. Bloom is a sure-footed pathfinder, clarifying arcane language, posing illuminating questions and weighing interpretations…. Mr. Bloom's companionable reading is a master-class lecture for curious students, a compilation of fan's notes on one of the most wrenching and mysterious works in English. Here he is the affective critic, measuring the emotional shocks delivered by the play until they outstrip our ‘resources to receive [their] increasing chaos.' Mr. Bloom sometimes declines to offer decisive interpretations, accepting the play's many suggestive but unfathomable recesses."—David Yezzi in The Wall Street Journal on Lear: The Great Image of Authority by Harold Bloom
Posted 04.15.18: A starred review in Library Journal for Joseph Tartakovsky's The Lives of the Constitution: Ten Exceptional Minds that Shaped America's Supreme Law: “Avoiding legal jargon and sketching vivid, memorable portraits of his subjects, the author offers a scholarly yet accessible book to general audiences. Verdict: A thoughtful, clever work on how different generations have thought about the Constitution. Well worth the time of American history and law students.”
Posted 03.22.18: Peter Schweizer's Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends is #1 on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and Amazon Best Seller lists!
Posted 03.14.18: Janet Malcolm on Making It: 50th Anniversary Edition by Norman Podhoretz: “Writing as lucid and vital as Podhoretz's is not often encountered and should have been acknowledged. But the original critics were evidently too irked with the boy wonder to give him an inch. Perhaps more to the point, they could not distinguish between the book's narrator and its author. When we read a novel narrated in the first person we do not make that mistake.”—The New York Review of Books, March 22, 2018
Posted 02.06.18: “A new classic.... Profoundly-researched, extraordinarily well-written and insightful.… Penetrating.… Hanson supports his theories with a rich panoply of examples…. There is a moral core to this book that is as important and powerful as the military insights it gives.”—Andrew Roberts on Victor Davis Hanson's The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won in The Claremont Review of Books
Posted 02.06.18: Katherine A. Powers at Literary Hub on The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek by Howard Markel: "Magnificent.... This is the best sort of biography, one that reveals the dialectic between, in this case, two individuals and their historical circumstances, between their contribution (for better or worse) and the times that gave rise to them."
Posted 01.29.18: “The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won is scholarly popular history at its very best, offering as it does a brilliant overview of the war. It is also full of fascinating detail…. Victor Davis Hanson's book is a summing up that only an historian of great learning and perspicacity could have produced.”—Edward Short, City Journal
Posted 01.23.18: The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek by Howard Markel has been nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award in Biography. The book also is a nominee for the PEN/Bograd Weld Prize for Biography, and was chosen as a “Best Book of 2017” by the Boston Globe and Kirkus Reviews.
Posted 01.05.18: Craig Morgan Teicher in the Los Angeles Times on The Complete Poems of A. R. Ammons: Volume 1, 1955-1977 and The Complete Poems of A. R. Ammons: Volume 2, 1978-2005, “In his poems—all of which are collected in these two long-awaited, definitive volumes—we get to watch someone brilliant and deeply capacious thinking through everything he encounters…. He was a successor, as the critic Harold Bloom famously noted, to Walt Whitman, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams and Robert Frost…. His great poems—and some of them are truly among the greatest of the second half of the 20th century—manage to take the most cosmic and abstract long view and simultaneously observe the world at hand with startling specificity…. Like Frost, Ammons believes poetry can offer, through, in and by means of close and deep attention to words themselves, ‘a momentary stay against confusion'. These two mammoth volumes offer more of these moments than one can count.”
Posted 01.03.18: Kirkus Reviews on Lear: The Great Image of Authority by Harold Bloom, forthcoming from Scribner: "The noted critic and English professor digs deep to uncover what makes this play so profound. After books on Falstaff and Cleopatra, the third installment in Bloom's Shakespeare's Personalities series takes on King Lear, whom, along with Prince Hamlet, is one of ‘Shakespeare's most challenging personalities.' These two plays are the ‘ultimate dramas yet conceived by humankind.' High praise indeed from the prolific author who, now in his late 80s, wrestles with the complexities of another man also in his 80s. Bloom brings this dark tale of a king in search of love to life via his incisive close reading of the text."
Posted 12.27.17: "The publication of The Complete Poems of A. R. Ammons is one of the biggest literary events of this year…. Shows the tremendous range and innovation that helped establish him as one of America's most original and important 20th-century poets."—Elizabeth Lund in the Washington Post on The Complete Poems of A. R. Ammons: Volume 1, 1955-1977 and The Complete Poems of A. R. Ammons: Volume 2, 1978-2005.