I was considering what takes a book review to a whole other level recently when an email arrived from Judge George Anagnost. And I was all, “Now I remember.”
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a sucker for book reviews (and of books). But too many reviewers think of their task as the same that confronted them in grade-school book reports: Tell what the book is about, in order, and then say if you’d recommend it (or not).
Drafted that way, the grade-school report is far superior, for at least it came with a hand-drawn cover.
Judge Anagnost’s approach is far more—and less—than that. He explains what the book is about, but not in enervating detail. More important, he sets the book in a context of others, and he sets the book’s subject in the context of its times, whether it is present day or the Revolutionary War.
Add to that his need to think discursively, wonderfully so. It is that narrative arc that yields magazine pages that are not a forced march from A to Z. No, his article is dotted with sidebars that illuminate and entertain (and give our Art Director the fun and sometimes difficult task of locating appropriate images that are high resolution and either in the public domain or reasonably priced!).
I post the pages below simply so you can see how his approach enlivens our magazine issues (though you can click to make them larger). But to read the Judge’s latest great review, go here.
And on Wednesday, September 17, Judge Anagnost again moderates one of his successful updates of the past Supreme Court Term. More detail is here. I plan to be there, and I hope you can make it, too.