Adam Kirsch

In a season of crises, from Iran to North Korea to the Gulf of Mexico, the revelation of a Russian spy ring in the United States has been greeted as a source of welcome comic relief. It’s not just Jon Stewart, or the headline writers of the New York Post, who can’t keep a straight face talking about the eleven Russian “illegals,” long-term secret agents who built up elaborate cover identities as ordinary Americans.

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A Great Unrecorded History: A New Life of E.M. Forster By Wendy Moffat (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 404 pp., $32.50) Concerning E.M. Forster By Frank Kermode (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 180 pp., $24) Whenever E.M. Forster is discussed, the phrase “only connect” is sure to come up sooner or later. The epigraph to Howards End, the book he described with typical modesty as “my best novel and approaching a good novel,” seems to capture the leading idea of all his work—the moral importance of connection between individuals, across the barriers of race, class, and nation.

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In the writing of history, there are no innocent decisions—especially if you are trying to write a compact book about a huge, complex, and polarizing

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Positively Jewish

Sacks omits the existential dimension of faith, the one in which each of us must decide for him- or herself whether to believe and why. Nor does he re

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This week, as I looked forward to the launch of Entanglements, I happened to be reading selections from the Spectator of Addison and Steele.

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No Prize

If you were an immigrant sailing into New York harbor at the close of the nineteenth century, the first building to catch your eye would have been the

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As Robert Alter puts it in his new study, America, even more than England itself, was affected by a “biblicizing impulse”: “It was in America that the

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Flight of Fancy

The Escape is a carnival of allusions, silently incorporating phrases and situations from a whole roster of other writers and challenging the reader t

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Axis of Evil

Koranic anti-Judaism, European anti-Semitism, Arab anti-Zionism: mix them together and you have an intoxicatingly paranoid worldview, in which Jews ar

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Exodus '56

From beginning to end, From the Four Winds is a didactic book. Its ideas are not new ideas, and a reader who has heard them many times before may wel

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