Skip to main content

Harvey Freedenberg

Biography

Harvey Freedenberg


mwn52@aol.com

Harvey Freedenberg practices intellectual property law and litigation with a large Harrisburg, Pennsylvania firm. He's been working as a freelance reviewer since 2005 and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. In addition to the more than 100 reviews he's written for Bookreporter.com, he reviews for BookPage, Shelf Awareness and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. He also writes a monthly column featuring reviews and articles on other book-related subjects for Harrisburg Magazine. In 2000, Harvey took a six-month sabbatical from his law practice and studied creative writing at his alma mater, Dickinson College. Three of his short stories have won prizes, and he has written an as-yet-unpublished novel. Harvey enjoys literary fiction and a wide range of nonfiction. His favorite authors are too numerous to mention, but include Richard Ford, Tim O’Brien, John Updike, Charles Baxter, John Cheever, Tracy Kidder and John McPhee. To read all of Harvey's reviews along with his comments on the book world and assorted topics, follow him on Twitter (@HarvF) or friend him on Facebook.

Harvey Freedenberg

Reviews by Harvey Freedenberg

by Alain de Botton - Fiction

We all know the headiness and excitement of the early days of love. But what comes after? In Edinburgh, a couple, Rabih and Kirsten, fall in love. They get married and have children --- but no long-term relationship is as simple as “happily ever after.” THE COURSE OF LOVE is a novel that explores what happens after the birth of love, what it takes to maintain love, and what happens to our original ideals under the pressures of an average existence. You experience, along with Rabih and Kirsten, the first flush of infatuation, the effortlessness of falling into romantic love, and the course of life thereafter.

by Sean Wilentz - History, Nonfiction, Politics

“There are two keys to unlocking the secrets of American politics and American political history.” So begins THE POLITICIANS AND THE EGALITARIANS, Princeton historian Sean Wilentz’s bold new work of history. First, America is built on an egalitarian tradition. At the nation’s founding, Americans believed that extremes of wealth and want would destroy their revolutionary experiment in republican government. Second, partisanship is a permanent fixture in America, and America is the better for it. With these two insights, Wilentz offers a crystal-clear portrait of American history, told through politicians and egalitarians --- a portrait that runs counter to current political and historical thinking.

by Mark Haddon - Fiction, Short Stories

The tales in Mark Haddon’s new collection take many forms: Victorian adventure story, science fiction, morality tale, contemporary realism. The characters are often isolated physically or estranged from their families, yet they yearn for connection. In aggregate, the stories become a meditation on the essential aloneness of the human condition but also on the connections, however tenuous and imperfect, that link people to one another. In the title story, an unnamed narrator describes with cool precision a catastrophe that strikes a seaside town, both tearing lives apart and bringing them together.

by Stewart O'Nan - Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller, Suspense, Thriller

In 1945, with no homes to return to, Jewish refugees by the tens of thousands set out for Palestine. Those who made it were hunted as illegals by the British mandatory authorities there and relied on the underground to shelter them. Taking fake names, they blended with the population, joining the wildly different factions fighting for the independence of Israel. CITY OF SECRETS follows one survivor, Brand, as he tries to regain himself after losing everyone he's ever loved.

by Rob Spillman - Memoir, Nonfiction

Rob Spillman --- the award-winning, charismatic co-founding editor of the legendary Tin House magazine --- has devoted his life to the rebellious pursuit of artistic authenticity. After an unsettled youth moving between divorced parents in disparate cities, Spillman would eventually find his way into the literary world of New York City, only to abandon it to return to Berlin just months after the Wall came down. Twenty-five and newly married, Spillman and his wife, the writer Elissa Schappell, moved to the anarchic streets of East Berlin in search of the bohemian lifestyle of their idols. But Spillman soon discovered he was chasing the one thing that had always eluded him: a place, or person, to call home.

by Dana Spiotta - Fiction

INNOCENTS AND OTHERS is about two best friends who grow up in LA in the ’80s and become filmmakers. Meadow and Carrie have everything in common --- except their views on sex, power, movie-making and morality. Their lives collide with Jelly, a loner whose most intimate experience is on the phone. Jelly is older, erotic and mysterious. She cold calls powerful men and seduces them not through sex but through listening. She invites them to reveal themselves, and they do.

by Owen Gleiberman - Memoir, Entertainment, Movies, Nonfiction

What molds a critic? Perhaps it takes parents willing to buy nine-year-old Owen Gleiberman drive-in tickets for Rosemary's Baby. Like millions of us, Gleiberman loves movies, and in MOVIE FREAK, he not only reveals the details of how he became a critic but attempts to show why we find cinema so defining as a society. As one of the premiere tastemakers for more than three decades, Gleiberman, a self-confessed movie freak, explains why he and so many others equate film with life.

by Ethan Canin - Fiction

Milo Andret is born with an unusual mind. A lonely child growing up in the woods of northern Michigan, he gives little thought to his own talent. But with his acceptance at U.C. Berkeley, he realizes the extent --- and the risks --- of his singular gifts. California in the ’70s is a seduction, opening Milo’s eyes to the allure of both ambition and indulgence. The research he begins there will make him a legend; the woman he meets there --- and the rival he meets alongside her --- will haunt him for the rest of his life. For Milo’s brilliance is entwined with a dark need that soon grows to threaten his work, his family, even his existence.

by Diana Athill - Essays, Memoir, Nonfiction

Diana Athill charmed readers with her prize-winning memoir, SOMEWHERE TOWARDS THE END, which transformed her into an unexpected literary star. Now, on the eve of her 98th birthday, Athill has written a sequel every bit as unsentimental, candid and beguiling as her most beloved work. Writing from her cozy room in Highgate, London, Athill begins to reflect on the things that matter after a lifetime of remarkable experiences, and the memories that have risen to the surface and sustain her in her very old age.

by Eric Weiner - Memoir, Nonfiction, Travel

In THE GEOGRAPHY OF GENIUS, acclaimed travel writer Eric Weiner sets out to examine the connection between our surroundings and our most innovative ideas. He explores the history of places --- like Vienna of 1900, Renaissance Florence, ancient Athens, Song Dynasty Hangzhou, and Silicon Valley --- to show how certain urban settings are conducive to ingenuity. And he walks the same paths as the geniuses who flourished in these settings to see if the spirit of what inspired figures like Socrates, Michelangelo and Leonardo remains.