The first review (in Publishers Weekly)

Well, it appeareth that the first review of my book is out. That might seem surprising, given that Hannibal and Me won’t be published until January 5th. But the review is in Publishers Weekly, a trade journal aimed at book sellers, book agents and other booky types who need to, uhm, book ahead.

Here it is. Excerpts:

Several books on the legendary achievements of Hannibal have dwelled on one or two aspects of the ingenious general’s life, but none has tackled the tricky mix of the impact of his life choices on and off the battlefield as well as this new analysis. Kluth, the West Coast correspondent for the Economist, brings a contemporary slant to Hannibal’s military successes.

Here is the middle:

… Kluth does superior work in spelling out the elusive values of success and failure …

And here is the end:

Realistic and timely, Kluth’s book uses historic truths to move us past the frequent traps of success and failure to mold practical, productive lives.

I can’t argue with that. 😉

Thanks, PW.

42 thoughts on “The first review (in Publishers Weekly)

  1. Congratulations….now for a few dozen more good reviews and lots of buyers. I’ve been reading your blog for a while, and wish you nothing but the greatest success.

  2. This is an encouraging first review. You must be hoping that the reviewers at the likes of the New York Times, LA Times, Washington Post and…………the Economist, will be as kind.

    If peradventure they aren’t, would you have the fortitude to turn such a misfortune into a triumph?

    All this said, I look forward to reading “Hannibal and Me” when it appears in my neighbourhood bookstore.

    • You have a “neighborhood bookstore”? What’s that?

      As to the review in The Economist: You’re probably aware that there can’t be one. I work for the publication, hence nothing I write can be reviewed in it.

      Regarding the negative reviews: As I hinted to Thomas above, I was thinking of writing up a semi-humorous post here, with my “policy” about that. I feel I owe it to you guys, the regular readers of this blog, to be loudest and most forthcoming about the BAD ones.

  3. Given the snooty (snotty?) nature of most PW reviews I consider that a good one. Better than the one my last book got–a review which convinced that the reviewer hadn’t read my book (a memoir), was a dyspeptic by nature, hated books with anything close to baseball in the title, didn’t like mid westerners (like me), or was just that part of the body I can’t mention here. So, feel good about the review. I pray for much better reviews and huge sales. I plan to buy a copy and so does my daughter who admires your blog.

  4. Timely? This reviewer hasn’t waited as long as we have. Timely in a scholarly way, I guess.

    Congratulations. I plan to start bootlegging the “Hannibal and Me” audio book. Read by, Me.

    • No kidding. “Timely” as in: the author submitted his first draft when Hannibal died, his second when Scipio died,….

      I’m worried about your bootlegging. A Crotchety version of Hannibal is likely to be very convincing.

    • Canada. You mean Amazon treats that differently than the US? Hmm. I don’t know. And I don’t know how I would find out. I thought that any book on sale in the US is automatically also available in Canada.

    • Oh dang, everybody keeps telling me they’ll buy the Kindle version. Does no one buy hardcovers anymore?

      (I was an early adopter of the Kindle, but have since gone back to the molecular version for books I plan to keep.)

  5. Congratulations on the positive review! I was looking forward to this book because I like your writing style and enjoy your intellectual curiosity but now I’m even more excited. Finally I can use history to mold a practical, productive life.

    • Thanks, Hieronymo. When I was writing the book (all that long time ago, it seems) I had people like you in mind: people who naturally see connections between history and the present. Very eager to read YOUR review, tough and honest, when the time comes.

  6. My best compliments, a very favorable review. You blog allowed us to meditate on failure and success and many other stimulating topics. We will continue to ‘kluth’ ourselves with your book.

  7. hows this for your response to both good and bad reviews?

    “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

    -Steve Jobs June 12, 2005

    • It’s not only appropriate, dafna, but especially appropriate: That commencement address he gave at Stanford gave me the nut idea for one very important chapter in the book, the one in which I parallel Steve Jobs with Scipio and Eleanor Roosevelt. If my book were being release this week instead of in January, I would have tried to editorialize about it somewhere.

      The speech is like all great and timeless speeches: moving, personal, universal and … short. Up there with Kipling, the Gettysburg address, Pericles’ funeral oration ….

  8. Hi Andreas,

    You must be getting excited. I think your book is going to be a vehicle for good conversation this winter. I’ll buy hardcopies for distribution and send some overseas as presents. A ripple here, a ripple there, all good stories travel.

  9. Dear Andreas,
    What I have learned the most from your book’s long journey from manuscript in progress ( I remember when you posted about researching Cleopatra for a chapter and realizing she wouldn’t do) to the subject of this lovely “grown-up” review, is the patience that has been exacted from you.

    I will be interested to hear what Malcolm Gladwell writes…I wish Twain were here to review your book and maybe Lionel Trilling.

    That would make for an interesting set of blog posts. Reviews of Hannibal and Me by dead authors, politicians, and military men.

    Anyway, hearty congratulations to you. I raise my coffee cup to you this morning.

    • You’ve got a great memory, Cheri.

      It was this post: “From Casanova to Cleo”.

      And it was the other way around: I had researched Casanova for inclusion in my book, then realized that he wouldn’t work so well, so I “switched” to Cleopatra.

      I am an impatient person by nature. This whole waiting thing has been killing me. It’s enough for most people NOT to write a book at all, I would guess.

      Thanks for being there all the way through!!!

  10. The review has redoubled my aim to read Hannibal and Me at the first opportunity and I have made a careful mental note of that date: 5 January.

    Sincere congratulations.

    It is also important tor record how your courageous decision to track here the personal path you have trod in writing the book has given rise to many fine online friendships. So thank you for that as well.


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