Adam Kirsch

Why Don't We Take the Russian Spies Seriously?
July 13, 2010

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.

The Prose and the Passion
July 13, 2010

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.

Redrawing Boundaries
July 09, 2010

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

Positively Jewish
June 25, 2010

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

Why Do We Care About Countries We'll Never Go To?
June 24, 2010

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

No Prize
June 08, 2010

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

Heirs to the Throne
May 11, 2010

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

Flight of Fancy
April 29, 2010

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

Axis of Evil
April 21, 2010

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

Exodus '56
March 30, 2010

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