A Few Good Book Reviews

The Washington Monthly just published its spring books issue, and it’s a good one. Disclaimers abound here: I used to work at the Monthly, I have friends who work there now, and I have a review in the current issue. But I like to think I’d recommend this issue even without those caveats.

Standout reviews include Henry Farrell’s look at Fintan O’Toole’s assessment of the Irish economic collapse; Mark Thompson’s review of a new book about the V-22 Osprey, a helicopter-airplane hybrid with a $30 billion price tag and “a disconcerting tendency to start fires when operating near vegetation”; and Jamie Malanowski’s witty critique of Fred Thompson’s book of boyhood reminiscences, Teaching the Pig to Dance:

The biggest problem with Teaching the Pig to Dance is Thompson’s misplaced confidence that the book of his devising that the world is hungry to read is the one that deals with his upbringing. Of course, one might have thought the same about a young author named Barack Obama, and it turned out all right for him, although simply on the basic of travelogy, the Africa-Hawaii-Indonesia-Kansas-Chicago itinerary of Dreams from My Father is a tad more alluring than Thompson’s progress from Lawrenceburg to Nashville to Lawrenceburg to Memphis to Nashville to Lawrenceburg.

Read those three; if you have time, read them all. And if any other magazines have good “spring book issues” out there that I should know about, please mention them in comments.

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Justin Peters is editor-at-large of the Columbia Journalism Review.