In the News, April 2018
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.
Posted 12.24.17: “The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won takes an unusual approach to its subject…. Victor Davis Hanson's deeply researched and detailed military analyses are fascinating.... Spectacular.”—Joshua Rothman, “Page-Turner,” The New Yorker
Posted 12.19.17: "Showcasing the talent and creativity that earned A. R. Ammons multiple honors, including two National Book Awards and the Wallace Stevens Award, this exhaustive and important set gathers the work of Archie Randolph Ammons (1926–2001), one of America's most significant poets."—Library Journal on The Complete Poems of A. R. Ammons: Volume 1, 1955-1977 and The Complete Poems of A. R. Ammons: Volume 2, 1978-2005, just published by W. W. Norton & Co.
Posted 12.15.17: The Boston Globe chose Howard Markel's The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek as one of the “Best Books of 2017”: “A delicious and sometimes bizarre family saga of the health nut and businessman who built one of America's most successful companies. You'll never look at corn flakes the same again.”
Posted 12.13.17: Chosen by Kirkus Reviews among “The Best Nonfiction of 2017”: The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won by Victor Davis Hanson (“An ingenious, always provocative analysis of history's most lethal war.”) and The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek by Howard Markel (“A superb warts-and-all account of two men whose lives help illuminate the rise of health promotion and the modern food industry.”).
Posted 12.12.17: “A. R. Ammons carries you along because as he vamps, like a musician, there's a sense of drama, of his mind expanding and contracting. He will hit his groove and deliver a string of intensities. Then he will pull back because the beauty is too much…. His charm was so great you only slowly realize how much loneliness and anger and depression swam behind his verse…. Ammons hoped that the point in his poetry would be ‘delivered below / the level of argument, straight into the fat / of feeling.' He got there more than most poets of his time. Ammons could be high-minded but he had few pretentious bones in his body. He told us what he wanted and, like Babe Ruth pointing at the bleachers, he delivered.”—Dwight Garner in The New York 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, just published by W. W. Norton & Co.
Posted 12.09.17: "Stunning success…. Kurt A. Raaflaub has surpassed even the previous high standards of the 'Landmark Ancient Histories' series…. It's rare for a scholar of Mr. Raaflaub's standing to annotate an ancient text translated for Latinless readers, and still more rare for him to translate it himself.... As its holiday-season debut implies, The Landmark Julius Caesar is his gift, and Robert B. Strassler's, to history readers everywhere and even to professional historians, who will find much original research between its covers…. History buffs, classicists, fans of television's “Rome”: Do not pass up this gift. Whether you revere Caesar as a military genius or despise him as a butcher and a tyrant, The Landmark Julius Caesar is an indispensable way to read his writings and understand his rise to power."—The Wall Street Journal
Posted 12.09.17: "The goal of Robert B. Strassler's "Landmark Ancient Histories" series has been twofold and fairly simple since it started a decade ago with The Landmark Thucydides, create scholarly popular editions that are not only figuratively landmarks, drawing together important contributions from classicists, but also literally landmarks, since the series' signature feature is the extensive collection of maps in every volume.... Scarcely anywhere in the classical canon is this more true than in the case of Julius Caesar, who travelled over the Roman world in both war and peace, and who had accounts of virtually all of those travels ghostwritten in great detail.... Those accounts—the Gallic War, the Civil War, the Alexandrian War, the African War, and the Spanish War—comprise the glorious new entry in Strassler's series, The Landmark Julius Caesar, an oversized 800-page volume featuring the usual panoply of illustrations, diagrams and detailed maps, and also featuring a translation and copious new notes by Brown University classics professor emeritus Kurt A. Raaflaub. Despite the stellar visuals throughout the book, Raaflaub's translation is its standout feature…. A magnificent new English-language rendition. The Landmark Julius Caesar is a superb addition to a superb series." — Steve Donoghue, The National
Posted 11.28.17: "The majesty of Ammons's achievement, scattered previously in more than twenty volumes, some out of print for decades, can now be recognized."—Dan Chiasson in The New Yorker on "The Great American Poet of Daily Chores," The Complete Poems of A. R. Ammons: Volume 1, 1955-1977 and The Complete Poems of A. R. Ammons: Volume 2, 1978-2005, edited by Robert M. West, with an introduction by Helen Vendler, forthcoming from Norton.
Posted 11.07.17: The New York Times Book Review on The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won by Victor Davis Hanson: “Lively and proactive, full of the kind of novel perceptions that can make a familiar subject interesting again.”—Thomas E. Ricks