Books

Love Tomorrow

Love TodayBy Maxim BillerTranslated by Anthea Bell(Simon and Schuster, 217 pp., $23)The Game, that infamous black-imitation-leather-bound book about the seduction community, is a novel of sorts. There is a narrative. But really the writer, Neil Strauss, produced a guidebook with a glossary. I remember--the book appeared in 2005--how it spread through the dining halls and dormitories at Harvard, passed from one roommate to the next. This was not the game we played, or would ever play, or would ever want to play--well, or so we said. Yet the book held a certain attraction.

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Kol Nidre

As to the deep ineradicable flaws in the workmanship anger and envy anger and envy stemming from over-enthusiasm that rises like a water lily from mud and the stone of self, of ego that insists on its imperial monologue that strangles its audience I would like to repent but I cannot I am ridden like a horse * What does the contriver have in mind the contrivance wants to know because otherwise what is the point of all this moaning pretending to be sorry for everything groveling like a chained-up snake crawling over a stone book in the rain of words for which someone is responsible at times the

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Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell Edited by Thomas Travisano with Saskia Hamilton (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 845 pp., $40) '"Your poem came to the right buyer," Robert Lowell wrote to Elizabeth Bishop during the spring of 1976 after receiving "One Art," the nineteen lines that Bishop called "the one & only villanelle of my life." Composed in a tightly repetitive form inherited from the troubadours of the late Renaissance, "One Art" may be the best known, most anthologized American poem of the past half-century.

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The Problematic Pages

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.

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Ecstatic

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.

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Found and Lost

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.

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The Duty to Rescue

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.

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The Problematic Pages

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.

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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.

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Getting It Wrong

'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.

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