In the News, December 2022
Posted 11.30.22: "Marc Myers' newest is the second book culled from his long-running Wall Street Journal column, ‘Anatomy of A Song.' The first, Anatomy of a Song, a critical smash released in 2016, provided oral histories on the making of 45 era-defining hits from interviews with the artists that crafted them.... In Anatomy of 55 More Songs: The Oral History of Top Hits That Changed Rock, Pop and Soul Myers brings you backstage for an incredibly detailed view of their inspirations and creations. These are engaging narratives that are dressed up with offbeat trivia that will make you the star conversationalist of any cocktail party.... Myers' book also provides astute musical analysis that places the songs within the context of their time and meta musical trends.... The descriptions above just scratch the surface of these fine books, ones which belong on the bookshelf of any diehard music-lover and every music-maker seeking to capture lightning in a bottle."—Sal Cataldi, NYS Music
Posted 10.28.22: Publishers Weekly on Anatomy of 55 More Songs: The Oral History of Top Hits That Changed Rock, Pop and Soul by Marc Myers: "Myers details how 55 famous songs were conceived, written, and recorded in this perceptive follow-up to 2016's Anatomy of a Song. Myers provides a brief introduction to each of his picks, and their composers, musicians, and producers share stories behind each song, as well. There are surprising details about musical arrangements...and insight from artists about their lyrics.... Myers has a knack for capturing the artistry of songwriting and easily shows why these tracks are 'iconic but not tired.' This melodic collection will strike a chord with music fans."
Posted 10.24.22: Geniuses at War: Bletchley Park, Colossus, and the Dawn of the Digital Age by David A. Price has won the 2022 IEEE William and Joyce Middleton Electrical Engineering History Award, awarded to the author of a book in the history of technology "that both exemplifies exceptional scholarship and reaches beyond academic communities toward a broad public audience." IEEE is the world's largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity, with roots in electrical engineering, electronics, and computing. Geniuses at War also was chosen a “Best Nonfiction Book of the Year” by Kirkus Reviews.
Posted 10.20.22: "Wall Street Journal arts reporter Marc Myers continues his explorations of the kind of popular music that turns from melody to earworm.... As he did in his previous volume, Anatomy of a Song, Myers does a fine job of getting behind the hits.... Altogether, Myers turns in a who-knew kind of book.... The narrative contains plenty of joy, discontentment, and even newfound respect.... With snippets of business, creativity, techno-wizardry, and raw emotion, a pleasure for music fans."—Kirkus Reviews on Anatomy of 55 More Songs: The Oral History of Top Hits That Changed Rock, Pop and Soul by Marc Myers forthcoming from Grove Atlantic
Posted 10.08.22: "Want to read more contemporary poetry but don't know where to begin? For expert curation and variety, you can't do better than The Best American Poetry 2022, edited this year by Matthew Zapruder. These 75 poems are arranged alphabetically from Aria Aber to Jenny Zhang, including Terrance Hayes, Sharon Olds, Louise Glück, Diane Seuss, Ada Limón and others I recognize and many I don't.... He finds encouragement—and motivation—in fine writing.... 'Poems remind us that, at our core, we share something deep.'"—Ron Charles, The Washington Post
Posted 10.03.22: "Fans of Melanie Kirkpatrick during her years on the Wall Street Journal will be delighted by her Lady Editor: Sarah Josepha Hale and the Making of the Modern American Woman. It's a pearl of a book in which one of our own era's leading newspaperwomen pays homage to Sarah Josepha Hale, who, Ms. Kirkpatrick reckons, was 'one of the most influential women of the nineteenth century' but is 'all but forgotten in ours.' No longer. Born in 1788, Hale was propelled by widowhood into the workforce at a time 'before women could go to college, work as public school teachers, practice medicine, or even manage their own money.' Hale nevertheless became a pioneering writer and editor. Editing two influential publications—the Ladies' Magazine and Godey's Lady's Book—she helped forge 19th-century American culture. When she became an editor, Hale sent four of her five children to live with relatives. Yet she proved that a woman could have it all. That adds up—for both Hale and her biographer—to a scoop."—John Bennett, The New York Sun
Posted 09.23.22: “The book is, essentially, a love letter to the items in its subtitle: ‘Crime, detection, and the spirit of noir.'...The real originality of this book lies less in its critical comments than in its creativity. Lehman, who is also a poet, includes poems, his own and others', inspired by or imitating noir.... As if conversing with another aficionado, he compares favourite actors and moments, repeats favourite wisecracks and tries to recreate the pleasure of the initial experience. In his casual way he also sparks ideas.... Most readers will, like me, know fewer than half of the books and films discussed here, and will want to hunt down the ones that sound most interesting.... How often does a critical book actually make one want to read the books it discusses?”—Lois Potter in The Times Literary Supplement on The Mysterious Romance of Murder: Crime, Detection, and the Spirit of Noir by David Lehman
Posted 06.02.22: "On the evidence of Lehman's body of work, and never more so than in this collection, here is a guy who really knows how to live. In The Morning Line, he seems more than ever besotted with the world's abundance, sensory, cerebral, emotional.... Here is a book filled with as many experiences, reflections, observations, songs, poets, other people—past to present—poetic styles, and things, as a single poetry collection can hold."—Suzanne Lummis, Another Chicago Magazine
Posted 05.06.22: “David Lehman's The Mysterious Romance of Murder: Crime, Detection, and the Spirit of Noir surveys fiction, film, poetry and music. As one might expect from this distinguished poet and versatile man of letters, his sprightly new book isn't just deeply knowledgeable, it's also a lot of fun.”—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post
Posted 04.09.22: "Matthew Continetti's The Right: The Hundred Year War for American Conservatism paints a messier, and for that reason far more accurate, portrait of 20th- and 21st-century American conservatism.... Continetti puts it this way: ‘There is not one American Right; there are several.' His chronicle follows both the intellectuals and party elites, on the one hand, and ordinary conservative voters and activists, on the other.... Continetti captures beautifully the ad hoc, rearguard nature of American conservatism. Not until the end of the book does he make explicit what becomes clearer as the narrative moves forward: ‘Over the course of the past century, conservatism has risen up to defend the essential moderation of the American political system against liberal excess. Conservatism has been there to save liberalism from weakness, woolly-headedness, and radicalism.'"—Barton Swaim, The Wall Street Journal
Posted 03.05.22: Still the #1 New York Times bestseller! Red-Handed: How American Elites Get Rich Helping China Win by Peter Schweizer: “Schweizer's two years of research calculates that the Biden family reaped some $31 million from Chinese business executives with ties to the upper ranks of Chinese intelligence. Schweizer also packs some other startling revelations into fewer than 250 pages. The ‘elite' whom he says are profiting enormously from America's decline include big names of Silicon Valley, banking and investment firms, colleges and universities and — of course — government. And neither party has clean hands, Schweizer says.”—Bill Cotterell, Tallahassee Democrat
Posted 02.20.22: “There have been many books written about Bletchley Park, code breaking and the birth of computers. Geniuses at War: Bletchley Park, Colossus, and the Dawn of the Digital Age by David A. Price is a fresh take and an excellent overview if you are new to the topic or just need a refresher.... This account of their challenges and race against time reads like a thrilling suspense novel. It is perfect reading for a cold winter day.”—The Waterloo (Canada) Record
Posted 01.24.22: The #1 New York Times bestseller! Red-Handed: How American Elites Get Rich Helping China Win by Peter Schweizer: “A crucially important book.... Remarkable and eye-opening.... A must-read.... This will blow the roof off!”—Mark Levin on Red-Handed: How American Elites Get Rich Helping China Win by Peter Schweizer. The nation's leading nonpartisan investigative journalist, Schweizer is the author of six New York Times bestsellers, including Profiles in Corruption, Secret Empires, Clinton Cash, and Throw Them All Out.
Posted 01.03.22: Former President Barack Obama named The Last Duel as one of his "favorite movies of 2021"—the film from Eric Jager's The Last Duel: A True Story of Crime, Scandal, and Trial by Combat in Medieval France: "Breathes astonishing vigor, realism and a remarkable modernity into a celebrated trial by combat.... A taut page-turner with all the hallmarks of a good historical thriller: superb pacing, plot twists, dramatic tension and a fully fleshed cast of characters.... The nail-biting narration of the duel itself and its tragic aftermath sets in motion the outlawing of judicial duels, one death-knell in the demise of the feudal world that allowed the highest degree of civility to coexist with the coldest cruelties. Jager's spectacularly rendered portrait of the end of an era desperately in need of approaching Renaissance is not a glimpse into the past but an enriching total immersion."—Orlando Sentinel
Posted 12.21.21: Billboard on Rock Concert: An Oral History as Told by the Artists, Backstage Insiders, and Fans Who Were There by Marc Myers: “Tracks both the cultural and financial growth of the concert business.... The oral history format of the book provides readers a rare opportunity for the men and women of the concert business to tell their stories in their own voices, with new details about famous counter culture moments.... Fascinating and very detailed anecdotes.... Rock Concert is a honest, introspective book about a business badly in need of people of Myers's caliber—he is an awarding winning music journalist, historian and author—to ensure that the history of the live music business is preserved in compelling works of history like Rock Concert.”—Dave Brooks, Billboard
Posted 12.01.21: “Victor Davis Hanson's The Dying Citizen: How Progressive Elites, Tribalism, and Globalization Are Destroying the Idea of America weaves a rich definition of citizenship into his discussion of the current threats to this profoundly Western idea.... Hanson's writing is invariably enlightening because of his remarkable blend of timeliness and erudition.... No other writer is this prolific and consistently penetrating.” —Terry Scambray, American Thinker
Posted 11.24.21: Chosen as “Best Nonfiction Books of the Year” by Kirkus Reviews! Geniuses at War: Bletchley Park, Colossus, and the Dawn of the Digital Age by David A. Price (“Incredibly well-written and well-researched, this fast-paced book reads like a novel. Highly recommended.”) and The Secret of Life: Rosalind Franklin, James Watson, Francis Crick, and the Discovery of DNA's Double Helix by Howard Markel (“A brilliant addition to the literature on the history of biological discovery.”)
Posted 11.22.21: “Admirers are already aware of his skills in getting stories out of people via his Anatomy of a Song deep-dive columns for The Wall Street Journal or his verbal breakdowns of the same on the SiriusXM ‘Feedback' program. Now, he turns his attention to the history, the development, and the impact of the live experience.... The list of Marc Myers' sources...is too lengthy to mention, but suffice to say they offer many tales, reflections and anecdotes that haven't appeared in any other book or documentary. Every page offers a new revelation. Even more fascinating is how the book chronicles the evolution of the business.... Rock Concert: An Oral History as Told by the Artists, Backstage Insiders, and Fans Who Were There is one of the best books on music to come out recently, and its pure first-person, direct quote narrative is the ideal format.” — Bob Ruggiero, Houston Press
Posted 11.19.21: "Much has been written about James Watson's and Francis Crick's 'borrowing' of Rosalind Franklin's research into the structure of DNA. Howard Markel — physician, professor and gifted writer — tells the story again, setting scenes and shrewdly capturing the character and motivations of the central players.... Markel makes the gist and implication of these matters very clear, and his depiction of the clash of personalities is superb."—Katherine A. Powers, The Washington Post, on The Secret of Life: Rosalind Franklin, James Watson, Francis Crick, and the Discovery of DNA's Double Helix by Howard Markel
Posted 11.13.21: Library Journal on Purchasing Submission: Conditions, Power, and Freedom by Philip Hamburger "Hamburger explores federally mandated 'conditions'—that is to say, requirements imposed by the U.S. government on people and organizations in exchange for funding or other privileges.... Hamburger argues that these conditions violate constitutional rights, with little to no recourse for Americans.... Hamburger clearly and convincingly describes the problem and its impact.... A must-read for scholars concerned with government overreach."