Unfortunately, book reviews are sometimes written by people who seem to have little to no familiarity with the subject matter of the book under review. I just encountered an example of this in the review of the second volume of Simon Callow's ongoing biography of Orson Welles that Anne Applebaum recently wrote for The Spectator.
Apparently, the new volume of Callow's biography covers the 1940s, the period in which Welles directed Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, It's All True, The Stranger, The Lady from Shanghai, and Macbeth. From her review it's impossible to tell whether or not Ms. Applebaum has actually seen any of these films besides Citizen Kane.
A large portion of the review deals with the making of It's All True, which Ms. Applebaum never mentions by name. It's certainly true that Welles's behavior in Brazil alienated him from the people at RKO, contributed to the mangling of the great-in-spite-of-it-all The Magnificent Ambersons, and caused the studio to put an end to It's All True.
Here is one of Ms. Applebaum's observations about It's All True: "Allegedly, he did film some scenes of intense beauty. . . ." This is a remarkable admission of ignorance. Some of the footage that Welles shot has been available to the public since 1993. I have it on VHS, and it's now available on DVD.
Consequently, there's no need to allege anything. Ms. Applebaum could have seen for herself whether or not It's All True contains scenes of intense beauty. Apparently, she couldn't be bothered to do so. Or, and this is worse, she doesn't even realize that she could have watched what's now available. If the latter is the case, then she should never have been given the assignment of reviewing Callow's new book.
The rest of Welles's career, according to Ms. Applebaum, was filled with "colossal failures and unfinished projects." You'll be forgiven if you get the impression that Welles never directed anything of interest or importance after Citizen Kane, which leaves you wondering why someone such as Simon Callow would bother to write a multi-volume biography of Welles.
Let us pray that the gods of publishing will henceforth protect us from ignorant and condescending reviewers!