In the News, January 2019
Posted 01.19.19: Esquire Magazine selects “The Most Anticipated Books of 2019” and among them Harold Bloom's Possessed by Memory: The Inward Light of Criticism: “America's foremost scholar of literature delivers his most personal treatise yet in this compendium of musings about eighty-plus seminal texts, from Shakespeare to Keats to Tolstoy. This isn't the garden variety work of criticism you might expect—at the end of his life, 88-year-old Bloom is plumbing his personal relationship with the greats for a thoughtful memoir of an extraordinary life in letters.”—Adrienne Westenfeld writing about Possessed by Memory.
Posted 01.09.19: “Eisenberg's book, like his previous scholarship, demonstrates his great intellectual curiosity…. He masterfully weaves all these threads into the rich fabric of his scholarship to produce powerful legal arguments…. It is impossible within the boundaries of this review to do justice to the many original and powerful analyses that appear in Eisenberg's Foundational Principles of Contract Law.”—The University of Chicago Law Review
Posted 01.02.19: “Verbal felicities, haunting or explosive imagery, the architectonic dazzlements of rhyme and meter—all these are dwarfed by American poetry's reverence for genuineness, for authenticity. 'Look in thy heart and write' advised Sir Philip Sidney's muse, but that injunction has long been our own literature's credo. Yet in their introductory essays to the Best American Poetry 2018, the 30th installment of this always excellent annual anthology, series editor David Lehman and this year's guest editor, Dana Gioia, present dissimilar views on precisely what authenticity entails.”—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post, on Best American Poetry 2018, published by Scribner in September 2018.
Posted 12.16.18: Chosen a "Best Book of 2018" by the New York Post, Peter Schweizer's Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends: “An enraging look at how elected officials and those they appoint betray the public trust, this book focuses on ‘corruption by proxy,' where politicians skirt ethics laws by allowing money they can't legally accept to flow through their friends and families. Focusing on corruption by both major parties, this book shows the need for further reform to keep those committed to serving our country from serving themselves instead.”
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