In the News, May 2017
Posted 05.17.17: A starred Booklist review for Howard Markel's forthcoming The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek: "Markel's amazing amalgamation of biography and history, covering the pursuit of health in late-nineteenth- and early twentieth-century America, industrialism, and the invention of cold cereals is adorned with fetching photographs and illustrations. Sibling rivalry has rarely been so dastardly and delectable."
Posted 05.10.17: In memoriam: Allan H. Meltzer, author of Why Capitalism?, "Allan H. Meltzer the great economist of monetary affairs who died Tuesday at age 89, was the consummate insider who understood the value of staying outside the government.... Meltzer made a distinguished career offering constructive criticism to the powers that be…. Meltzer was at the center of most of the great debates about the direction of U.S. economic policy…. His was a career born of deep and caring respect for the institutions of economic governance. Meltzer understood that economic decision-making is a powerful force in the life of nations, and he dedicated his life to ensuring that his profession performed that role with intellectual rigor and honesty for the public good."—Editorial in The Wall Street Journal, May 10, 2017
Posted 05.10.17: Three terrific pre-pub. quotes on Howard Markel's forthcoming The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek: "In this rollicking tale of family intrigue and inventiveness, Howard Markel traces the lives of the Kellogg brothers, describing how they started the world down the path to packaged foods. This full exegesis of their unseemly personalities makes for a riveting read."—Andrew Solomon "The story of the Kellogg Brothers is the story of innovation, of determination, and the creation of a giant industry as American business came of age just prior to the Second World War. It is a tale of grit, controversy, faith and the emergence of the 'wellness' movement. In the hands of Markel, a trained historian, physician, seasoned writer and chronicler of America, this tale comes alive. A fabulous read."—Abraham Verghese "Markel's The Kelloggs recounts the incredible exploits of the amazing Kellogg Brothers—John and Will—who turned nineteenth-century medicine upside down for the better. Markel does a marvelous job recounting the birth of the Kellogg cereal empire and the Battle Creek sanitarium. An amazing American story!"—Douglas Brinkley
Posted 04.26.17: A starred Kirkus Review for Howard Markel's forthcoming The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek: “A dual biography of the highly successful Kellogg brothers, who ‘fought, litigated, and plotted against one another with a passion more akin to grand opera than the kinship of brothers.' One brother invented Corn Flakes, and the other was the most famous doctor of his time. They hated each other. Readers who suspect their lives might provide entertainment will not be disappointed by this delightful biography…. A superb warts-and-all account of two men whose lives help illuminate the rise of health promotion and the modern food industry.”
Posted 04.25.17: “Oppose Any Foe: The Rise of America's Special Operations Forces will serve as an invaluable and highly readable overview of SOF's history not just for those newly joining its ranks but also for anyone who seeks to know more about these glamorous and little-understood forces…. Excellent.”—National Review on Mark Moyar's just published popular history of U.S. commando warfare.
Posted 04.25.17: An interesting thinking through Making It: 50th Anniversary Edition by Louis Menand in the May 1st New Yorker: “Making It is a book about what Norman Podhoretz, borrowing the term from Murray Kempton, calls the Family—the writers and editors, mostly but not exclusively Jewish, who dominated the New York intellectual scene in the decades after the war. It is as their proud product that Podhoretz presents himself, and he obviously hoped to retain the approval of these people, as he had done so often in the past, by daring to write something they were afraid to write. He believed that they would admire his courage, recognize the justice of his account, forgive any indiscretions he may have committed, and, freed at last from a stifling hypocrisy, embrace him and the book....” (Please read on at our book page link.)
Posted 04.21.17: Jeanette Winterson in this Sunday's New York Times Book Review on Harold Bloom's Falstaff: Give Me Life: "This book is an explanation and a reiteration of why Falstaff matters to Bloom, and why Falstaff is one of literature's vital forces. These two strands of argument cannot be separated. Bloom is not a thinker who tries to take himself out of the equation. As a teacher and a writer he has always wanted to make us feel something, as well as to understand something. Profoundly learned himself, his learning is a call to life — that we are, or can be, altered and enriched by what we know…. Bloom is always a pleasure to read — the language simple and direct, yet easily conveying complexity of thought…. Bloom's book is a timely reminder of the power and possibility of words."
Posted 04.13.17: David Lehman's Poems in the Manner Of reviewed in Publishers Weekly: "Lehman brings his expert eye and deep knowledge of the writers he mimics…. As Lehman writes in his introduction, the work embraces ‘homage, parody, imitation, and appropriation, or combinations of these four things.'… Lehman succeeds in the task he sets for himself. These renderings are a record of poetic engagement, a sort of autobiography of what has moved the author as well as a moving summary of the author's own development…. Therein lies the charm of this book: Lehman's blend of whimsy and gravitas, his ability to find pleasure in almost anything while still plumbing its depths."
Posted 04.04.17: Library Journal on Falstaff: Give Me Life by Harold Bloom: “Shakespearean scholar Bloom fits many treasures into a scant number of pages in what is first and foremost a moving personal appreciation of what Bloom considers Shakespeare's most complete and effective character, Sir John Falstaff. The errant knight gets his due in Bloom's moving description of how Shakespeare's invention touched his life from adolescence on. In addition, the reader is treated to a close reading of Falstaff in the histories…. Bloom demonstrates how the plays work not just on the page but in the theater. VERDICT: An enchanting and appreciative celebration of Shakespeare's greatest comic creation.”
Posted 03.29.17: "In 2002, David Lehman began an intriguing exercise: to write poems that both honored and mimicked the works of his favorite poets. Lehman's choices were wide—ranging from Wordsworth, Whitman and Keats to Gwendolyn Brooks, Charles Bukowski and Bob Dylan.... Together in one volume, Poems in the Manner Of (Scribner), these works read like an eclectic course in major poets and poetic movements. Lehman, who founded and is the series editor of Best American Poetry, introduces each ‘poem in the manner of' with notes about the subject's style and approach, or about what he tried to achieve with his rendition. The strongest work captures the spirit of the original yet also stands on its own merits.... As the collection continues, readers see how modeling one's writing after the masters can lead to fascinating discoveries and extend one's own poetic range."—Elizabeth Lund, “Best Poetry Collections—to Inspire, Challenge and Spark the Imagination,” The Washington Post
Posted 03.25.17: "Editor's Choice: David Lehman's Poems in the Manner Of…. A brilliant book, quite obviously. But in its own way, it is, in many of its pieces, a great one.”—Jeff Simon, The Buffalo News
Posted 03.17.17: "To regular readers of 'Above the Law,' Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III needs no introduction. A judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit since 1984, Judge Wilkinson is one of the most distinguished and highly respected members of the federal judiciary….. Judge Wilkinson is also a gifted prose stylist…. I recently had the pleasure of reading his latest work, All Falling Faiths: Reflections on the Promise and Failure of the 1960s, and I can't recommend it enough. It's a deeply insightful, heartfelt, and superbly written book, in which Judge Wilkinson reflects on living through the '60s and draws important lessons from those years — lessons that are sadly all too relevant today." — David Lat, Above the Law
Posted 02.26.17: Publishers Weekly on Falstaff: Give Me Life by Harold Bloom: "Famed literary critic and Yale professor Bloom showcases his favorite Shakespearian character in this poignant work.... Bloom, who says he fell in love with Falstaff because ‘he exposes what is counterfeit in me and in all others,' has created a larger-than-life portrait of a flawed character who is ‘at his best a giant image of human freedom.'" Scribner publishes on April 7.
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