The True Lies of Totalitarian North Korea
January 25, 2012
When the videos of North Koreans weeping hysterically in the streets of Pyongyang circulated on YouTube last month in the wake of Kim Jong-il’s death, few Western onlookers knew what to make of them. Most of us seem to have assumed that the tears were fake, produced on command—an interpretation backed up by one of the best books recently to appear on the subject of North Korea, Barbara Demick’s Nothing to Envy, which describes manufactured public grief in 1994 after Kim Il-sung’s death.
January 25, 2012
Monty and Rommel: Parallel Lives is a wonderful mine of information for fans of either general. All told, the author’s central purpose is achieved wit
Lovers and Jews
January 24, 2012
In defiance of the Holocaust, Giorgio Bassani claims the Jamesian right to draw the circumference of the story where he wants it, where it is most art
A Tale of Two Men
January 23, 2012
It was not until December 25, 1991, that the red flag was lowered for the last time and the Soviet Union was effectively declared dead. Conor O’Clery’
It’s A Man’s World
January 19, 2012
Serious readers tend to believe, not wrongly, that books by pundits such as Chris Matthews aren’t worth much thought. But Matthews’s biography of John
Thriller Default Swaps
January 18, 2012
In The Fear Index, Robert Harris offers his take on the financial crisis that has engulfed the developed world. Unfortnately, this is not Harris’s bes
What is the Meaning of it, Watson?
January 16, 2012
Sherlock Holmes may be the most famous fictional character who ever existed and Doyle was the most popular writer since Dickens. But how could the man
S.J. Perelman on Everything
January 13, 2012
The Closing of the Public Square
January 12, 2012
Both John Inazu’s Liberty’s Refuge: The Forgotten Freedom of Assembly and Timothy Zick’s Speech Out of Doors: Preserving First Amendment Liberties in
Wait, Is Miranda July’s Book Fiction or Non-Fiction?
January 11, 2012
There’s a moment in Me and You and Everyone We Know, Miranda July’s hilarious and discomfiting first film, in which the director of a contemporary art museum and her assistant are fawning over a new show. “It really is amazing. It just looks so real,” the director kvells over what she believes is a sculpture of a discarded hamburger wrapper. “Oh, that wrapper is real,” says the artist, a young man with blond Fabio-style hair.