Cronyism appears to be a problem with book reviews. After all, why would a busy reviewer take on a project, if not to butter up a potential ally or score points against an enemy? Some reviewers simply love being part of the cultural conversation, but you can’t always trust their evaluations. Read Mary Gannon on www.aldaily.com. But is the problem growing worse? Oliver Goldsmith and Alexander Pope leveled the same charge against cliquish eighteenth century English literary circles (see my In Praise of Commercial Culture for more discussion).