Reed in the Wind
July 08, 1996
Active Faith: How Christians Are Changing the Soul of American Politics by Ralph Reed (The Free Press, 311 pp., $25) The Godless Constitution: The Case Against Religious Correctness by Isaac Kramnick and R. Laurence Moore (W.W. Norton, 191 pp., $22) Ralph Reed is Pat Robertson's boy, but his new book contains not a trace of such Robertsonian concerns as Armageddon, the Bavarian Illuminati, the Warburgs and the Rothschilds, or, for that matter, God. Rather than propose that the United States become a theocracy, Reed heatedly renounces the idea.
March 22, 1996
To explain why he has written his autobiography now, at 41, the Reverend Al Sharpton cites as a "defining episode" his stabbing by a white man on January 12, 1991, as he prepared to lead a march in Brooklyn's Bensonhurst section, where a black youth
Ben Bradlee Had a Talent for a Specific Kind of Trouble
November 20, 1995
He sold himself as an outsider while he was in many ways the consummate insider.
October 16, 1995
On the history of polio.
Balance in the Earth
October 02, 1995
The good, the bad, and the ugly of environmentalism.
The Forest and the Trees
August 07, 1995
Landscape and Memory by Simon Schama (Knopf, 652 pp., $40) We rush across the gleaming surface of the ocean, moving rapidly but smoothly above the untroubled beauty of the dark waters. Jagged cliffs and wild surf, rugged hills and lush grass pass beneath us. Music plays. Finally we reach our destination, where the action begins. It may be a prison from which a psychopathic bomber prepares to break out, or a clearing where poor Scottish farmers will discover the hanged bodies of their chiefs, or a village where women will be impregnated by aliens.
The Plague Year
July 17, 1995
The Hot Zone by Richard Preston (Random House, 300 pp., $23) The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance by Laurie Garrett (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 750 pp., $25) In the spring of 1983, a flock of wild ducks carrying a strain of avian influenza virus settled on a pond in a chicken farm in eastern Pennsylvania. The virus was excreted in the ducks' feces, which meant that it got onto the ground and then onto the boots of a farmer, which is why in turn it soon found its way into the chicken barn.
The Air Around Tom Paine
April 24, 1995
Thomas Paine: Collected Writings edited by Eric Foner (The Library of America, 906 pp., $35) Thomas Paine: Apostle of Freedom by Jack Fruchtman Jr. (Four Walls Eight Windows, 557 pp., $30) Thomas Paine: A Political Life by John Keane (Little, Brown, 644 pp., $27.95) I. Every twenty-ninth of January, Thomas Paine's admirers assemble at his old farm in New Rochelle, New York, to celebrate his birthday and to lay a wreath on his monument.
All and Nothing at All
March 06, 1995
I. Keeping Faith: Philosophy and Race in America Routledge, 319 pp. $19, $16.95 paper Race Matters Beacon Press, 105 pp. $15 Beyond Eurocentrism and Multiculturalism. Volume One: Prophetic Thought in Postmodern Times Common Cause Press, 205 pp. $14.95 paper Beyond Eurocentrism and Multiculturalism. Volume Two: Prophetic Reflections: Notes on Race and Power in America Common Cause Press, 244 pp. $14.95 paper Prophetic Fragments William Eerdmans Publishing Co., 294 pp. $14.99 paper The American Evasion of Philosophy:A Genealogy of Pragmatism University of Wisconsin Press, 279 pp. $16.95 pap
A Groom of One's Own
July 25, 1994
Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe by John Boswell Villard Books, 412 pp., $25 I. We find ourselves, all of us, in a historical crisis of gender. It has produced highly charged arguments over "Amendment 2" to the constitution of Colorado, and over the various legal actions that have stemmed from that controversial initiative. In Ontario, one of the larger provinces in my own country, it has produced acerbic debate and the defeat of a legislative bill that would have recognized same-sex unions as "marital" in nature, and would have granted them comparable rights and duties.