Reviews by amy
This is one of the best pieces of nonfiction writing I've ever had the pleasure to read. An accretion of four previous works into a masterpiece of literary breadth and depth that parallels his subject - a cross-section of North America along Interstate 80 chronicling the nearly imponderable geological changes to the earth's crust over the course of billions of years. With brilliantly executed side trips en route into history, biography, and science, Annals of the Former World brings to life the hidden history of our planet and will forever change the way you look at the world around you.
He's geeky, he's entertaining, he's brilliant. His arm gestures and jokes will both amuse and annoy you, but once you're used to him you'll find you're learning more than you ever wanted to or even thought possible.
After going through the long and painful process of watching both my parents die, this was the perfect salve. Recommended for anyone about to go through, currently going through, or having just gone through this bewildering emotional, physical, and financial process. It is not pleasant, but Chast's memoir is so brave, often (but not too) tender, cathartic, and, above all, honest.
My 11-year-old theater-loving son devoured this book. From the moment he opened it, he couldn't put it down. He said it rang true on all levels and made him feel part of a bigger community.
Part of Ackroyd's Brief Lives series, this is a quick but enjoyable read with plenty of detail, wit, and analysis to bring Chaplin alive.