Adam Kirsch

The Man in the Storm
November 22, 2010

It is a fitting irony that S. An-sky, who preferred Russian and occasionally used Yiddish but could not write Hebrew, should be remembered today as a

November 10, 2010

Who would believe that in Fascist Italy, a group of several dozen Catholic peasants would spontaneously decide to convert to Judaism; that they would

Why 'Rubicon' Is the Perfect Spy Show for the Obama Era
October 27, 2010

All the attention paid to the season finale of "Mad Men," last Sunday night more or less eclipsed the finale of AMC’s other Sunday-night drama, "Rubicon." It’s not clear yet whether Rubicon will be back for another season—it hasn’t exactly gotten rave reviews (New York Magazine’s verdict: “A promising show that started with a train crash ends up kind of a train wreck.” But complaints about the series’ slow narrative pace and uneven performances shouldn’t be allowed to obscure what made "Rubicon" so fascinating: its subversion, even deconstruction, of the very spy-thriller clichés it was built

October 20, 2010

Robert Alter’s ongoing translation of the Hebrew Bible into a new, more accurate and forceful English version is one of the most ambitious literary pr

The Conjurer
September 29, 2010

The Magician of Lublin may not exactly be “a lost classic,” as the cover of the new paperback claims—it went through several editions in the 1960s and

Jonathan Franzen, the Iraq War, and Leo Strauss
September 22, 2010

I haven’t yet read all the way through Freedom, the new novel by Jonathan Franzen. But like every sentient person in the United States, I’ve read a good deal about it, and I’ve been especially intrigued by the way reviewers have characterized Franzen’s attempt to write the political history of the George W. Bush years.

A Tumultuous Time
September 17, 2010

Any reader who invests the time and money to read the book, or read in it, will find it very rewarding—and not just because of the wealth of informati

August 27, 2010

In his absorbing new book, Edmund de Waal, a British artist and potter, tells the story of his discovery of his own family’s part in the tragic 20th c

The Land or The State?
August 20, 2010

Anyone who has been concerned or angered by the debate over the future of liberal Zionism, should hurry to read The Settlers, the new book by the Isra

Do Politicians Really Learn Anything From Literature?
August 19, 2010

“If he’s so smart, and so sane, why has he fallen short of his spectacular potential so far?” No need to wonder who Frank Rich is writing about in this sentence, which gives the headline to this recent New York Review of Books essay: “Why Has He Fallen Short?” Only President Obama could inspire that particular blend of admiration and disillusionment among liberals.