The second review (in Kirkus Reviews)

Last week, the first review of my book came out, by one of the two major trade publications, Publishers Weekly. Now the other one, Kirkus Reviews, has followed with its review of my book. The folks at Kirkus call themselves “the world’s toughest book critics,” which is great, because they also seem to like the book.

Here is the link.

Unfortunately, it’s behind a subscriber wall (although articles become free a few weeks before publication of the books reviewed in them).


… The author narrates Hannibal’s story with precision, but his analysis extends beyond the highlights of the battlefield. In this retelling of the ancient drama, the major players become archetypes whose motivations, triumphs and failures mirror those of more recent historical figures. The influence of Carl Jung pervades as the narrative as Kluth digs into their psyches—examples include author Amy Tan’s teenage rebellion, Eleanor Roosevelt’s loneliness and Albert Einstein’s dark side—to create a plausible formula for surviving disaster or even sudden, explosive success. Though brief, the contemporary examples bridge the gap between modern readers and the ancient world. …

I especially liked this passage:

[Kluth’s] desire for a balanced life (and European disdain for ostentation) makes his voice unique among others who analyze the nuances of greatness. Kluth follows each character beyond the key moments that defined their places in history to determine the value of their lives as a whole, from the rise and fall of their careers to their evolving relationships with families and friends. The result is a study of the ephemeral nature of power that grapples, often very effectively, with the meaning of true happiness.

Meatier than the average self-help book, Hannibal and Me is a rare blend of military strategy and emotional intelligence that offers a more mature solution for winning life’s battles.

Also, I’m very intrigued indeed by the “Books Similar to Hannibal and Me” they have chosen. (Follow the link and look.) The first one: “Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning,” by Viktor Frankl.

Frankl is not in my book (he was at one point, but I had to cut). But Frankl has, of course, featured prominently here on The Hannibal Blog:

What excellent company to be in. Thank you, Kirkus!

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.