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December 2016

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."

November 2016

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

October 2016

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.”

July 2016

Posted 07.10.16:  “As a former intelligence officer, I highly recommend this book. The author provides a clear picture of the current threats America is now facing and will continue to face if we do not seek the truth from our leadership. If political correctness outweighs the importance of eliminating the real threat of radical Islam and the enemy alliance, the fighting will only continue indefinitely. Radicalized Muslims do not need hugs and love like AG Lynch recently suggested. Americans deserve to know the truth about legitimate threats and not have it censored for our own protection. We can no longer continue the charade of false success in the war against radical Islam and its allies.”—Desiree Huitt, SOFREP News (Special Operations Forces Report) on The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies by Michael T. Flynn and Michael A. Ledeen
Posted 07.10.16:  "Douglas MacArthur: American Warrior stands above two dozen previous biographies on MacArthur due to Herman's well-researched, balanced evaluation. He has drawn upon vast sources.... Engaging throughout and significant in capturing the brilliance of a man whose vision helped define the United States in the 20th century and beyond." — Stephen L. Moore, The Dallas Morning News

June 2016

Posted 06.19.16:  The Wall Street Journal weekend feature review is Joseph Epstein on Everything Explained That Is Explainable: On the Creation of the Encyclopaedia Britannica's Celebrated Eleventh Edition by Denis Boyles: “In a highly readable style, nicely seasoned with occasional ironic touches, Denis Boyles limns the intricate business negotiations that went into the creation of the Eleventh Edition…. Mr. Boyles provides excellent portraits of the key figures responsible for the 19th- and early-20th-century editions of Britannica. His last chapter is given over to the Eleventh's mishandling, owing to its having been a work of its time, of such key, and in our day super-sensitive, subjects as Women, African-Americans, Native Americans, Asians, Arabs and its difficulties with Catholic and Protestant readers. None of this finally diminishes the overall accomplishment that is Encyclopaedia Britannica's Eleventh Edition.”
Posted 06.16.16:  "The brilliant, crusading Brandeis is the subject of Jeffrey Rosen's excellent Louis D. Brandeis: American Prophet…. A concise and sympathetic exploration of Brandeis's main intellectual causes. It is well titled…. It is also well timed: Mr. Rosen persuasively makes his case that recognizing Brandeis as an 'American prophet' ‘seems more important today than ever.'"—Adam Cohen, The New York Times
Posted 06.09.16:  Senator Joseph Lieberman on The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies by Michael T. Flynn and Michael A. Ledeen forthcoming July 12th: "The Field of Fight is a book worth reading by anyone concerned about the future security of America. It is both an engaging personal memoir by a great American soldier and military intelligence officer, General Mike Flynn, and a strategic plan by General Flynn of how to win the global war against radical Islam and its big power supporters. The leaders of the next American administration would benefit from reading The Field of Fight."
Posted 06.08.16:  From reviews of Everything Explained That Is Explainable: On the Creation of the Encyclopaedia Britannica's Celebrated Eleventh Edition by Denis Boyles, just published by Knopf: “Boyles brings to life a rollicking saga of outlandish schemes, copyright theft, lawsuits, buyouts, and bankruptcies.”–The American Scholar “Enthralling business history.”—The Washington Post “A well-researched, brightly told history of the men and women who saved a great compendium of knowledge.”—Kirkus Reviews

April 2016

Posted 04.12.16:  The Wall Street Journal on Dreams of a Great Small Nation: The Mutinous Army that Threatened a Revolution, Destroyed an Empire, Founded a Republic, and Remade the Map of Europe by Kevin J. McNamara: "It is an epic story unknown even to many World War I history buffs…. With admirable energy he has assembled the story by piecing together archival records and the memoirs of the gallant men who served…. Fascinating."
Posted 04.12.16:  A starred review from Booklist for Fail U.: The False Promise of Higher Education by Charles J. Sykes: "Sykes here poses hard questions about the quality and substance of what the nation's universities now deliver. Too often, Sykes concludes, colleges give their students little but debt to show for their years on campus. As they visit a wide range of schools, readers see how administrators lavish resources on impressive buildings, on powerhouse athletic programs, and on aloof professors who dodge students so they can write unreadable and unread tomes of research. With telling statistics and piquant anecdotes, Sykes indicts higher educators for teaching students little about the humanities, mathematics, or the sciences, while indoctrinating them in rigid new political orthodoxies. Laying out a bold agenda for reform, Sykes calls for a university system smaller and less dependent on government largesse, less politically correct, and more open to online instruction than the one now bankrupting many students and their families. Certain to stimulate a much-needed debate." (Booklist is published by the American Library Association.)

March 2016

Posted 03.22.16:  “The problem of consciousness sits at the heart of neuroscience, and it is into this question that Yale computer-science professor David Gelernter steps with his fascinating The Tides of Mind: Uncovering the Spectrum of Consciousness.… Gelernter is an expert on artificial intelligence, and this book is an interesting and unexpected departure for him.... He shows a lovely deference not to neuroimaging or computers but to the pen...the technique allows him to paint a rich portrait of different modes of thinking, something like Proust's masterly descriptions of the workings of memory.”—David Eagleman, The Wall Street Journal
Posted 03.16.16:  A starred review in Publishers Weekly for Dreams of a Great Small Nation: The Mutinous Army that Threatened a Revolution, Destroyed an Empire, Founded a Republic, and Remade the Map of Europe by Kevin J. McNamara: “In this captivating narrative history, McNamara reveals the obscure yet grand story of how a small, motley, and hastily organized army ushered in the founding of the nation of Czechoslovakia…. McNamara proves to be a great storyteller as he very effectively weaves together newly translated firsthand accounts of Czech-Slovak soldiers with secondary historical sources.”
Posted 03.08.16:  “David Gelernter has designed a creative metaphysics for the digital age.”—Mara Delius, Die Welt
Posted 03.04.16:  “Sometimes it takes an expert to recognize when expertise is not enough. In his preface to The Tides of Mind: Uncovering the Spectrum of Consciousness, David Gelernter, a professor of computer science at Yale, explains how for years he tried to answer crucial questions about the nature of consciousness through computer modeling. But while computation can ape reasonably well our rational thought, he argues, what makes us human is our capacity to move up and down a spectrum of consciousness, from the crisp attention we feel when wide awake to the aimless associative states of drowsiness and daydreaming.... Gelernter employs not algorithms but introspection, personal reflection, and an engagement with a broad range of literary sources.… Gelernter's explorations of self make for rewarding reading.”—Kathryn Tabb, The American Scholar

February 2016

Posted 02.29.16:  "A fascinating new book by Yale computer scientist David Gelernter also sees literature as a vast and largely untapped source of evidence for understanding the intricacies of human cognition. In The Tides of Mind: Uncovering the Spectrum of Consciousness, Gelernter marshals evidence from psychological and scientific research as well as the works of Marcel Proust, Franz Kafka, Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Ernest Hemingway, J.M. Coetzee and many others to advance a new paradigm for the study of human consciousness. It's an astonishingly ambitious book, beautifully written and ultimately persuasive."—Nick Romeo in The Chicago Tribune on David Gelernter's The Tides of Mind: Uncovering the Spectrum of Consciousness just published by Norton
Posted 02.27.16:  Kirkus Reviews on Everything Explained That Is Explainable: On the Creation of the Encyclopaedia Britannica's Celebrated Eleventh Edition by Denis Boyles: “How grit and determination created an encyclopedia for the modern world…. Boyles traces the evolution of the Britannica and the fate of the Times through lawsuits, battles for ownership, and ongoing money woes involving colorful, earnest, sometimes eccentric characters. It all culminated in the majestic 11th Edition: 40,000 long, erudite, yet accessible articles written by a huge number of renowned contributors. Boyles focuses mostly on the business end; his look at content is illuminating…. A well-researched, brightly told history of the men and women who saved a great compendium of knowledge.”
Posted 02.24.16:  Tom Toce in the Los Angeles Review of Books on Sinatra's Century: One Hundred Notes on the Man and His World by David Lehman: “This is a compact-yet-complete portrait of a complicated guy who lived a long and active life; a guy whom Lehman calls ‘the most interesting man in the world.'... A poetic sensibility dominates, and a poet's eye (or ear) guides. The founder and editor of the Best American Poetry series, the editor of The Oxford Book of American Poetry, and a core faculty member of the graduate writing program at the New School, Lehman alludes to numerous poets here…. It's not just Sinatra's life Lehman wants us to understand, it's his influence on others, and especially his meaning to other poets and poetic souls…. The brevity of the chapters scattered throughout adds pungency and contributes to a poetic feel…. His accomplishment is in not just telling Sinatra's story, but in describing the man's effect on all of us, then and now. And one of the most valuable uses of the book might be as a road map, especially to the recordings…. The casual Sinatra fan will love it. Young people who know very little about Sinatra will likely love it, too, and learn from it. People of all ages will relate Sinatra's story to those of the prevailing pop stars of their day…. Sinatra's Century chronicles the life of the poet Frank Sinatra, told by a poet, with poetic trappings. Like good poetry, it rewards repeated readings—and prompts us elsewhere. In the end, Lehman's book may be most valuable in leading his readers to the songs…. The music is mostly why he mattered. And matters still.”