September 24, 2008

Nine months to a year was what the doctors gave my friend. All summer he said he felt ecstatic. That was his word. No, he hadn't fallen in love with death. Ecstatic was the way he thought the world wanted him to feel-- trees swaying as he sat on his deck, crickets in the grass, then the moon coming out. They were all part of how this was happening. Two months later, when the serious pain set in, he said he'd been wrong. Deluded was his word.

Found and Lost
September 24, 2008

Who Owns Antiquity?: Museums and the Battle over Our Ancient Heritage By James Cuno (Princeton University Press, 228 pp., $24.95) This spring the state apartments of Italy's presidential palace, the Palazzo del Quirinale, hosted a remarkable exhibit of ancient Greek, Roman, and Etruscan artifacts, all of them found on Italian soil but held until recently in private collections and museums in the United States, notably the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

The Duty to Rescue
September 24, 2008

Freedom's Battle: The Origins of Humanitarian Intervention By Gary J. Bass (Knopf, 528 pp., $35) Gary J. Bass has written a wonderfully intelligent and sardonic history of the moral causes célèbres of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: Byron and Greek independence in 1825, the European campaign to save the Maronite Christians of Syria and Lebanon in 1860, Gladstone and the Bulgarian atrocities in 1876, Henry Morgenthau and the Armenian genocide of 1915. Bass resurrects these forgotten causes to remind us that humanitarian intervention did not begin in the 1990s.

The Problematic Pages
September 24, 2008

In memory of Alexander Solzhenitsyn I.On June 18, 2007, a national conference of high school historians and teachers of social sciences was convened in Moscow.

The Movement's Remains
September 10, 2008

The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule By Thomas Frank (Metropolitan Books, 369 pp., $25) Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America By Rick Perlstein (Scribner, 896 pp., $37.50) I. The conservative movement has never been in poorer shape than it is today, but who among us is confident that it is going away? By all estimates, the Republicans are confronting the worst prospects for a governing party since 1976 (post-Watergate) or even 1932 (post-Crash), and yet the presidential race grows tighter by the day.

Getting It Wrong
September 10, 2008

'Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism' By Kevin Phillips (Viking, 239 pp., $25.95)   Turmoil in the financial market and insecurity in the labor market--we have plenty of both--bring out good and bad books, like good and bad mushrooms after a rain. In the instance before us it is the financial market that is in turmoil, and this is definitely not a good book. The only nice thing I can say about Bad Money is that taking critical aim at our complex, overblown, and now evidently dangerous financial system is a fine idea.

The Darker Side
September 10, 2008

The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn HistoryEdited by Andrew G. Bostom(Prometheus Books, 766 pp., $39.95)Icon of Evil: Hitler's Mufti and the Rise of Radical IslamBy David G. Dalin and John F.

The First Founder
September 10, 2008

'On Religious Liberty: Selections From the Works of Roger Williams' Edited by James Calvin Davis (Harvard University Press, 288 pp., $19.95)   I. Religious difference drives otherwise sane people crazy. The fact that some of my neighbors pursue salvation in a way that differs from my own is hard to contemplate without anxiety. Could it be that they are right and I am wrong? If I am right, as I think I am, shouldn't I try to save them?

The Feather Against Which My Heart Will Be Weighed
September 10, 2008

The crow feather I found was not an idea.The crow feather was a black slash on the green lawn.It was a way of counting. One. One. The crow feather seemed to be waiting for me.It rested, abided, as though placed just sofor the one time I would walk to its threshold. I believe the crow feather when it is in my hand.I know that it is a feather in my hand,black quill, inkless, for writing out the gospel.   Subscribe to The New Republic for only $29.97 a year--75% off cover price! By Michael Chitwood

The Truth Will Not Set You Free
August 27, 2008

Why we didn't prevent the genocide in Darfur.