The 4th review: New York Journal of Books

Wow. Just wow. What can I possibly say?

The New York Journal of Books has now reviewed Hannibal and Me.

(Remember, the previous reviews were by Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews and Booklist)

I will quote some bits and then shut up.

Fight any urge to dismiss Hannibal and Me as boys-only self help. True, the book comes complete with warriors, military strategies, elephants, golf, and a seductress, but this book is a serious and fascinating exploration of issues many of us grapple with on a daily basis. Highly recommended.

When was the last time reading a book left you with a burning desire to read more books? Hannibal and Me: What History’s Greatest Military Strategist Can Teach Us About Success and Failure affects the reader in just this way. Having hung on to Mr. Kluth’s every word, this reviewer closed the book determined to read Jung again, revisit Maslow, and reacquaint herself with Eleanor Roosevelt….

And true to his word, he proceeds to beguile his readers with a series of charmingly rendered anecdotes, keeping us spellbound, and gently nudging us toward a deeper understanding of the triumphs and disasters of Hannibal (the Carthaginian general who crossed the Alps with his army in 218 BCE), Meriwether Lewis, Cleopatra, Tiger Woods, author Kluth’s own uncle (a key figure in postwar Germany), and ourselves.

Mr. Kluth tackles taboos, boldly reintroducing ideas banished from Western intellectual discourse since the 1960s. He dares, for example, to raise notions like duty—not the tired old just-say-no-back-to-basics-family-values platitudes The Right warms over each election cycle. This is something deeper…

In some ways Hannibal and Me is a synthesis of many the intellectual and spiritual movements since the sixties. As such it risks veering into the banal, or skirting New Age nonsense, but whenever Mr. Kluth approaches this precipice, he retreats in time, turning back to the stories of real heroes. …

I was surprised by the last bit, which we might find time here on this blog at some point to discuss:

Despite applying his considerable insight, charm and intellect to so many weighty questions, Mr. Kluth deftly avoids deep analysis of why male crisis so often involves betraying wife and family. … Mr. Kluth seems to hand cheating husbands and deadbeat dads the perfect justification for their behavior. One can almost hear everyday cheating husbands quoting Hannibal and Me to justify their bad behavior.

Hmmm. Really?

That’s for another time. For now: Jillian Abbott, Thank You!!

13 thoughts on “The 4th review: New York Journal of Books

    • Hurrah!

      And let this be the first of many occasions for me to thank you, mr Crotchety. You were one of the first here, and you saw me through with your crotchety wit. You were part of the writing, and you are part of the book.

      Now promise me you’ll go back to being crotchety here after you’ve read it.

    • Oh this is exciting. But, Chris, also frightening, as I said to Richard somewhere else.

      you must, in due course, after you’ve read it, tilt at me with your genius, brutal quill.

      Thank you!

    • Just wait.

      As I, as a writer, have now long known, as soon as one pens more than a few words in a row, one loses control over them and they take on their own lives in each reader’s mind. To say “that’s not what I meant” is almost pointless….

      But all that is for another day. I loved Jillian’s reaction.

  1. Congratulations on this latest favourable review of “Hannibal and Me”.

    4-0 so far in good reviews is a wonderful start.

    If “Field and Stream” and “Soldier of Fortune Magazine” give your book equally good reviews, you’ll know you’ve written a winner.

    • Thank you, Christopher. And, as with Mr Crotchety above, let me say a huge Thank You to you individually. you’ve followed this blog all along, in different guises. You’ve given me your thoughts and thinking. You were there during the writing, and thus you are there IN the writing. Thank you!

  2. Thanks for the nod to my review. Please let me know if you ever get around to blogging about private vs public bad behavior. I’d love to have a conversation with you about that. For now, though, congratulations on a great book and I wish you every success.

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