In the News, June 2017
Posted 06.22.17: “A wise inquiry into an ‘erotic and yet transcendent' play. The uber-prolific Bloom now has his own book series: Shakespeare's Personalities. The first book explored Prince Hal's loyal friend, Falstaff, one of the Bard's most complex characters. Bloom continues to instruct and entertain with this in-depth look at the ‘most seductive woman in all of Shakespeare,' the Egyptian queen who describes herself as ‘fire and air.'… ‘Without the fierce sexuality that Cleopatra both embodies and stimulates in others,' writes Bloom, ‘there would be no play.'… He meticulously provides a close reading, quoting extensively as he examines the text. For him, the play is ‘a brilliant kaleidoscope, a montage of shifting fortunes, places, personalities, excursions into the empyrean.' Cleopatra ‘beguiles and she devastates,' and ‘no one else in Shakespeare is so metamorphic.'… His discussion of Shakespeare's ‘unique mastery at portraying the art of dying' is especially fascinating. A masterfully perceptive reading.”—Kirkus Reviews on Harold Bloom's forthcoming Cleopatra: I Am Fire and Air
Posted 06.15.17: “There are indeed many historical instances of special operations forces accomplishing astonishingly difficult, daring and successful raids. Nevertheless, Mark Moyar in his new book Oppose Any Foe: The Rise of America's Special Operations Forces, gives us a stark reality check on the track record of success and effectiveness of these forces…. But the overriding reason to open the book at Page 1 and turn each one all the way to the end, is to get the full impact of the human story. For while this is a book about strategy, tactics, weapon systems, politics and policy, it is above all a story, or rather collection of stories, about the extraordinary individuals who have volunteered, trained, planned, executed, and bled for America and its allies in special operations…. Moyar gives us countless portraits of exceptional, flawed, skilled, and above all courageous soldiers, sailors, and airmen…. When we learn how a soldier died in a battle, it's not a cold, abstract statistic; we feel it in our gut and tears flow because we know him personally, even if only for a page…. Many books have been written about particular special operations services, units and/or missions. Oppose Any Foe: The Rise of America's Special Operations Forces purports to be the first comprehensive history of its kind, putting all of the others under its contextual umbrella. With few flaws, it succeeds brilliantly in presenting a sweeping 100,000-foot view all the way down to ground, dirt, sweat and blood level. A must-read.” —Howard Hyde, The American Spectator
Posted 06.15.17: “Since 2002, poet and Best American Poetry series editor Lehman has been writing poems in honor of and in stylistic homage to other poets and literary figures. With a great sense of play, he has created poems that take the reader chronologically through his artistic influences. Many of these poems are humorous, some tongue-in-cheek in approach, but all are grounded in Lehman's extensive knowledge of poetry and his deep understanding of form and tradition…. Lehman's 'in the manner of' collection would be a fun component in both the study and teaching of poetry.... Lehman's 'astrological profiles' of Hamlet and Keats are at once original, witty, and downright brilliant." — Janet St. John, Booklist, on David Lehman's Poems in the Manner Of
Posted 06.12.17: Brinkley, Solomon, and Verghese on Howard Markel's forthcoming The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek: "An amazing American story!"—Douglas Brinkley; "A riveting read."—Andrew Solomon; "This tale comes alive. A fabulous read."—Abraham Verghese
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 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
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