"Eisenhower in War and Peace" by Jean Edward Smith
Jonathan Yardley of The Washington Post has long been awaiting a more "thorough exploration" of President Eisenhower, and happily admits that "Smith provides just that" in this "astute" and "fine new biography." Gerard Baker of The Wall Street Journal is likewise pleased with Smith's "highly readable" account. Baker goes on to write that "Smith is at his best...when examining Ike's lengthy military career," though "Mr. Smith makes little effort to disguise his admiration for the president and his dismay at the direction the Republican Party has taken in the years since."
Bio-Metric: 4.5/5 stars
"Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of Stars" by Scotty Bowers
With his tongue firmly set in his cheek, Scotty Bowers released his new tell-all memoir on Valentine's Day amid mounting fanfare. Roger Lewis of the Daily Mail does not spare Bowers the sword: "This is offensive gibberish...As with Casanova, Don Juan, or Michael Fassbender’s recent film Shame, there is a chilling lack of pleasure - of love - in Bowers’ compulsive copulations." Finding sociology in Bowers's sexcapades, Ramin Setoodeh of The Daily Beast thinks the book can be looked at as "an historical document...As a reader, it makes you cringe—if all these celebrities hadn’t pretended to be something they were not, would generations of gay teenagers have struggled as much with their identities?" "Bowers gives a vivid sense of both the freedoms and restrictions of life as a Hollywood star in the 1940s and 50s," writes Bee Wilson of The Guardian, who still doesn't "know how many of Bowers's stories to believe" in this "juicy, filthy memoir." In succinct summary, Adam Tschorn of the LA Times says to look elsewhere for a "morality tale," but instead expect "an unvarnished account of the closeted sexual shenanigans of Hollywood's Golden Age."
Bio-Metric: 4/5 stars