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.
The Primal Place
August 13, 2010
Considering that Hans Keilson is a hundred years old—he was born in Berlin in 1909, and has lived in the Netherlands since the Hitler era—this gives h
Notes from Underground
August 03, 2010
Combining the disciplines of history and ethnomusicology, and working with archival sources in Russian, Yiddish, and Hebrew, James Loeffler gives subs
Why Wikileaks Still Needs 'The New York Times'
July 26, 2010
The final scene of the 1975 movie Three Days of the Condor is enough to make any journalist nostalgic. After two hours of dodging assassins and exposing corruption at the heart of the American government, Robert Redford finds sanctuary by making his way to 229 West 43rd Street—the iconic old address of The New York Times. There he confronts his CIA tormentor (played by Cliff Robertson), announcing that he has told a Times reporter everything he knows.
Zizek Strikes Again
July 26, 2010
Pity is not one of the qualities one associates with Slavoj Zizek, whose radicalism runs more towards fantasies of purgative violence. But in a recent interview with The Times of India, he indulged in at least a little pity for himself, complaining that “now they say I am the most dangerous philosopher in the West.