In the News, February 2017
Posted 02.18.17: “In his 72 years, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, who was raised in segregated Richmond, Virginia, acknowledges that he has seen much change, often for the better, including advances in the 1960s. But in his elegant new memoir, All Falling Faiths: Reflections on the Promise and Failure of the 1960s, he explains why today's distemper was incubated in that ‘burnt and ravaged forest of a decade.'… At this moment of pandemic vulgarity and childishness, his elegiac memoir is a precious reminder of what an adult voice sounds like.”—George F. Will, The Washington Post
Posted 02.16.17: Kirkus Reviews on Harold Bloom's forthcoming Falstaff: Give Me Life: “An ardent admirer of Shakespeare analyzes an incomparably robust character. For esteemed literary critic Bloom, MacArthur Fellow and winner of multiple awards and honorary degrees, Shakespeare's Sir John Falstaff has enduring appeal, a character who ‘springs to life' anew each time he is read or seen on stage.... Bloom brings erudition and boundless enthusiasm.” Falstaff: Give Me Life is the first in a series of five brief volumes, “Shakespeare's Personalities.” The others are Cleopatra: I Am Fire and Air, Oct. 2017; King Lear: The Great Image of Authority, April 2018; Iago: Nothing If Not Critical, Oct. 2018; Macbeth: A Dagger of the Mind, April 2019.
Posted 02.15.17: "This truly extraordinary book combines the scholarship of a profoundly impressive work of history with the white-knuckle tension of a thriller. The reader is naturally overawed with the sheer courage of the American Special Ops Forces, but also with the quality of their training, the depth of their professionalism, the acuity of their instincts, and the decency apparent in their innate modesty. Mark Moyar has done them, and us, a fine service in writing this groundbreaking book."—Andrew Roberts, Professor, War Studies Department, King's College, London, on Oppose Any Foe: The Rise of America's Special Operations Forces by Mark Moyar
Posted 01.27.17: “In The Campus Rape Frenzy: The Attack on Due Process at America's Universities, KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor, Jr. dismantle this myth of a campus rape crisis and show how, with alarming frequency, colleges mistreat students accused of assault by failing to allow them any meaningful opportunity to prove their innocence…. At the same time that activists are expanding the definition of sexual assault, university disciplinary committees are systematically depriving accused students of basic due process protections…. As Messrs. Johnson and Taylor show powerfully, the current system has its own victims and ultimately undermines the credibility of actual rape survivors whose cases belong in court, not in Kafkaesque administrative tribunals.”—Jennifer C. Braceras, The Wall Street Journal
Posted 01.26.17: A starred Booklist review for Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion, and Law from America's Origins to the Twenty-First Century by Geoffrey R. Stone: "An elegantly literate précis of historical attitudes about sex in the U.S…. Brilliant historical distillations of social phenomena…. This is the definitive account of its past and present.”
Posted 01.20.17: “Oppose Any Foe: The Rise of America's Special Operations Forces is a superbly researched, wonderfully readable account of the evolution of America's Special Operations Forces, with very thoughtful—and thought-provoking—reflections on the employment of SOF in our recent wars. Oppose any Foe is, in particular, a fitting and timely tribute to the extraordinarily talented, courageous, and selfless Special Operators with whom I was privileged to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.”—General David Petraeus, Commander of U.S. and Coalition Forces during the “surges” in Iraq and Afghanistan and, subsequently, Director of the CIA
Posted 01.10.17: “A definitive account that reads like a well-crafted novel. Mark Moyar balances the audacity, egos, expertise, and mistakes that comprise the true history of America's Special Operations Forces to produce a fascinating story that is as instructive as it is entertaining. A must read for current and future policymakers.”—Stan McChrystal, General (Ret.), U.S. Army, Commander of Joint Special Operations, 2003-2008, on Oppose Any Foe: The Rise of America's Special Operations Forces by Mark Moyar, forthcoming in April from Basic Books
Posted 01.02.17: A starred Kirkus Review for Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion, and Law from America's Origins to the Twenty-First Century by Geoffrey R. Stone: "A broad, fascinating overview of the nation's shifting, often incendiary, attitudes toward sexuality and the impact of those attitudes on politics and law…. Stone enlivens his narrative with deft portraits…. A compelling history of a nation grappling with the moral and legal freedoms that the founders strived to ensure."
Posted 12.03.16: “Bloch is to be congratulated on capturing pleasurably an entire era, largely through adducing a stream of mostly entertaining stories, some famous, some surprising. In the process, he also reveals an impressive erudition, covering a good many fields…. [One Toss of the Dice] reads engagingly.”—John Simon in The New York Times Book Review on One Toss of the Dice: The Incredible Story of How a Poem Made Us Modern by R. Howard Bloch
Posted 12.02.16: "Bloch's careful analysis of 'One Toss of the Dice' . . . will surely give readers a new appreciation of the poet's ambition and, at times, startling foresight."—Micah Mattix in The Wall Street Journal
Posted 12.01.16: Anthony DeCurtis in The New York Times Book Review on Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B and Pop by Marc Myers: "Each story is a pleasure to read and will deepen your listening experience. Which is saying something…. You might initially wonder what's left for you to learn…. Turns out to be plenty…. Myers bears down hard on these songs, and the artists rise to the standard he sets…. The magic happens when the artists themselves speak, and they deftly—and movingly—cover a range of issues, from the technical to the emotional."
Posted 11.28.16: "A treasure trove of music trivia between hard covers…. [A] splendid volume." — Charles Kaiser in The Guardian on Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B and Pop by Marc Myers; “A highly developed critic, fascinated by the technical aspects of musical production, and yet at the same time the least judgmental…. All the songs he examines have that inexplicable power of persistence, classics that have entered the permanent deposit of popular song…. The result is surprisingly sweet…. The critical ability of Marc Myers shows in his selection of topics and his persistence in hunting down the right people to talk about their songs. But his talent as a writer shows in his willingness to get out of the way and let them talk…. Myers pushes his subjects to recollect what had really happened that day in the studio, that moment when the song first came to mind, that instant when the radio began to play it.”—Joseph Bottum in the Washington Free Beacon
Posted 11.28.16: “In her new book, No Child Left Alone: Getting the Government Out of Parenting, Abby W. Schachter delves into how the federal government has been meddling in the bedrock of human society: the family…. The book documents how, at daycares and schools, the federal government has put in regulations that infringe on the rights of parents…. Her book gives many compelling examples of when the state has gone too far. Readers will be shocked and disturbed at how involved the government has become in trying to take over the job of child-rearing. Every parent—or expecting parent—should read this book to see what they are up against.”—Tyler Arnold, Washington Free Beacon
Posted 11.18.16: "It is a new book which goes way beyond the standard cultural discussions of Pilgrims, turkey, holiday traffic and early morning bargain shoppers. Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience by Melanie Kirkpatrick is handsomely packaged and offers uncommon resources for those seeking insight on why we observe the day…. She has drawn on vintage newspaper accounts, private correspondence, historical documents, and even very old cookbooks to craft her portrait of the day."—Jennifer Harper, The Washington Times
Posted 11.08.16: “One of the most informative music books in a long time…. Starting with Lloyd Price's 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy' in 1952, there are enough inside tales to mesmerize fanatics and semi-fanatics who remain enthralled by rock & roll and all its eras. The arc can't be beat: from Price to the Isley Brothers, Janis Joplin, Dion, the Doors, the Young Rascals, the Rolling Stones (Keith Richards' recollections of recording 'Street Fighting Man' are priceless), right on through to Elvis Costello, Cyndi Lauper, and R.E.M. The amount of details unearthed in the interviews feels like eavesdropping on two longtime friends talking about old times. One of the winning elements is that the chapters are short, and leave the reader fulfilled but still wanting just a little more. It's kind of like the original 45s that are being celebrated…. Anatomy of a Hit: The Encore is on the horizon. More, more, more!”—Bill Bentley, The Morton Report, on Marc Myers' Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B and Pop
Posted 10.31.16: Parade Magazine: "We all know how important music is, and can be. Now find out about the stories behind five decades of songs that changed and shaped the world—or at least the movements of pop culture—in Marc Myer's terrific Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B and Pop (Grove Press). Hop aboard the literary jukebox and find out the back stories of the Isley Brothers' 'Shout,' The Kinks' 'You Really Got Me,' Led Zeppelin's 'Whole Lotta Love,' Aerosmith's 'Walk This Way,' Merle Haggard's 'Big City,' R.E.M's 'Losing My Religion' and many other familiar tunes from the artists who wrote and recorded them.
Posted 10.31.16: "The essays here are unapologetically and refreshingly opinionated. Moreover, Amar supports his opinions with the scrupulous attention to method and evidence that only a scholar of his caliber could muster…. The Constitution Today: Timeless Lessons for the Issues of Our Era hits hard; what is more, it dares the reader to hit back. In this regard, it showcases scholarship fulfilling its greatest potential: engaging meaningfully and unflinchingly with the world beyond the university in terms intelligible to the layperson... reflecting the capacity of a serious scholar and gifted teacher to educate an audience beyond the lecture hall—to distill complex constitutional questions into terms accessible to inquisitive citizens."—Tara Helfman, The Weekly Standard, on Akhil Amar's The Constitution Today: Timeless Lessons for the Issues of Our Era, published by Basic Books.
Posted 10.18.16: Booklist on Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B and Pop by Marc Myers: “This will entice general readers and music lovers alike. In his introduction, Myers calls the book an 'oral history jukebox,' and popular-music fans everywhere will want to be ready with a pocketful of dimes.”
Posted 10.04.16: A starred Booklist review for One Toss of the Dice: The Incredible Story of How a Poem Made Us Modern by R. Howard Bloch: “The biography of a person and a great book, this is altogether extraordinary.”
Posted 09.07.16: Two starred reviews for Akhil Amar's The Constitution Today: Timeless Lessons for the Issues of Our Era: "Bringing an unusually informed and cool head to the tumult accompanying unfolding events, Amar performs a valuable service for his fellow citizens."—Kirkus Reviews “Impressively, Amar presents a panoramic view of recent history through the lens of Constitutional interpretation. Moreover, he accomplishes this in layman's language, so that his insights are accessible to general readers. Indeed, Amar's professed intent is to educate journalists on Constitutional issues, and he succeeds unequivocally, explaining what's at stake in landmark cases.”—Library Journal