Books

The Invention of Space
December 14, 2011

Florence and Baghdad: Renaissance Art and Arab Science By Hans Belting Translated by Deborah Lucas Schneider (Belknap Press, 303 pp., $39.95) In many respects this is a bold book, first of all because of its premise: a veteran art historian dares, after half a century as an active scholar, to take another look at a classic art-historical problem—the formulation of linear perspective in fifteenth-century Florence.

Strategist and Scourge
December 14, 2011

George F. Kennan: An American Life By John Lewis Gaddis (Penguin, 784 pp., $39.95) I. George F. Keenan, who was born in 1904 and died in 2005, and served under presidents from Calvin Coolidge to John F. Kennedy, left as deep an imprint on American geopolitics as any intellectual of the twentieth century. But the exact nature of his achievement continues to elude full or even coherent description. One reason is that most of his very long life was spent in comparative obscurity.

The Boundaries of Justice
December 14, 2011

David Hume was born three hundred years ago, in 1711. The world has changed radically since his time, and yet many of his ideas and admonitions remain deeply relevant, though rather neglected, in the contemporary world. These Humean insights include the central role of information and knowledge for adequate ethical scrutiny, and the importance of reasoning without disowning the pertinence of powerful sentiments.

Untouched by Spring
December 14, 2011

The French political scientist Stéphane Lacroix begins this recently translated book with the assertion that “Saudi Arabia has remained a persistent b

Liberalism and Concealment
December 13, 2011

The question often arises whether the government should force individuals to keep intimate information private so that they do not later regret its di

Isms
December 12, 2011

Ned O’Gorman examines four strategies articulated in the early years of the Cold War: containment, massive retaliation, liberation, and deterrence. Si

What is Jewish Literature?
December 08, 2011

Dan Miron, the foremost Israeli critic and scholar of modern Hebrew and Yiddish literature, asks a big question: what is Jewish literature, or to be m

The Border
December 07, 2011

The Berlin Wall was the most visible part of the Iron Curtain but it constituted only a small part of the border that divided the two Germanys—a point

The Individual Soul
December 06, 2011

Writing the story of the Holocaust is a futile ambition—not because the events of 1939 to 1945 are too horrible to be told, but because they are too v

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