Books

How Gay Marriage Became Legitimate

A revisionist history of a social revolution

The courts have been lauded for boosting gay rights. Why cultural changes mattered more.

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On the 44th anniversary of Witold Gombrowicz's death, Polish writer Jaroslaw Anders's review of Gombrowicz's Trans-Atlantyk.

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Against Cynicism

A philosopher's brilliant reasons for living

Peter Sloterdijk, one of Germany’s best-known philosophers for 30 years, has just emerged in English. He makes philosophical problems come alive as well as any thinker at work today. 

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The American Beginning

The dark side of Crèvecoeur's "Letters from an American Farmer"

Most readers know Crèvecoeur only from his famous third letter with its sunny optimism. That selective reading creates a misleading impression of his entire work, which ripens into a long exposé of the American Revolution as brutal, divisive, and hypocritical. Often misread as a champion of American independence and democracy, Crèvecoeur instead mourned the demise of British America.

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The news that juror B37 from the Zimmerman trial was signed by a literary agent—Sharlene Martin, persuasively described on her website as “the Jerry Maguire of literary agents” and tied to books written about the trials of Jodi Arias, O.J. Simpson, and Amanda Knox—was hardly surprising. But within hours the rumblings of outrage began.

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Look who else liked to write in secret. 

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Two new books attempt but seem like entries in a dying genre.

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When Evil Was a Social System

The moral burdens of living under communist rule in Eastern Europe

Anne Applebaum and Marci Shore have shown that there is much to know about communism in this century that was not obvious to everyone. Both regard Soviet communism as more intertwined with the history of Nazism than most historians did before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

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A Wasted Crisis?

Why the Democrats did so little to change Wall Street

Beyond the immediate emergency, the financial crisis of 2008 also set up a critical test of governing capacity: could Congress and the incoming Obama administration take advantage of the crisis, defy cynical expectations, and adopt effective legislation to restore financial stability and prevent another meltdown?

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