I'm sadden to give this book only two stars but can't recommend it as warmly as the other reviewers: it just is not what is advertised, and the crime story is rather un-remarkable. Change the title to "A bit history of the DRC with made-up leads thrown in for the sake of it, including lengthy passages whose sole purpose is to romanticise the whole thing" and you would be closer to the real book. With this title, I did enjoy the read. I only wish Potter has written a real and serious history of the Domaine de la Romanee-conti, a corenerstone of Burgundy, of which the vineyard ransom is but the latest quirky episode.
I'm a fan, and I liked this book very much. The meticulous, slow Murakami narrative carries us, his readers, across the vast ocean of words that is 1Q84. I liked the pace, the slowness, appreciated the time to get acquainted with the main characters. Unfortunately, it's impossible to believe in many aspects of the book, from the main pillar of the story, the attraction between Tengo and Aomame, to the unpleasant Ushikawa, the set, and most characters. This book is one massive allegory, sometimes harder to decode than other, so will help being fond of Murakami. Suspend your beliefs and slow down, then pick 1Q84 up, and enjoy.
I have no doubt the two volume bio deserve the praise, but sadly this compilation is seriously lacking. I am certain that the first 50 years of Eisenhower's life deserve more than only the roughly 50 pages afforded here. I feel like I have a good handle on the soldier's and the President's accomplishments, but hardly know the man he was, only the one he became. Even them. Many passages are poorly stiched together - marking obviously where cuts were made. I'll blame the editor, more work is required to make a memorable bio.