Books

The Skin Trade
September 19, 2011

The modeling world, with increased intensity in recent decades, has become one of freakish and outsized expectations—professionally and physically. Lo

Unbearable
September 14, 2011

Michel Pastoureau is a scholar of the medieval bestiary, and as far as that catalogue of animals and their traits is concerned, I doubt we will have a

Carats and Sticks
September 13, 2011

Alicia Oltuski’s book seeks to demystify a business known far and wide for its fidelity to discretion: the diamond trade. At once global and local, im

All Hat and No Cattle
September 12, 2011

There are (considering his enduring popularity with modern historians) surprisingly few biographies of Alcibiades. So how does P.J. Rhodes deal with h

The Stench of Perfume
September 08, 2011

Hal Vaughan's biography distinguishes itself from the many other Chanel biographies by tackling the dicey subject of Gabrielle Chanel’s activities dur

The Mistakes
September 01, 2011

Zara Steiner has written a masterly sequel to The Lights that Failed, her equally masterful study of international relations from the end of World War

All Mashed Up
August 31, 2011

John Reader, in his ambling new history of the “propitious esculent,” calls the potato the “best all-around bundle of nutrition known.” Without any he

Flesh and Beyond
August 30, 2011

Despite his social poetics, Moss is not a widely read American poet. He is instead “American poetry’s best-kept secret” as John Ashbery says. I suspec

The Age of Comparison
July 28, 2011

The Book that Changed Europe: Picart & Bernard’s “Religious Ceremonies of the World” By Lynn Hunt, Margaret C. Jacob, and Wijnand Mijnhardt (Harvard University Press, 383 pp., $32.95) A New Science: The Discovery of Religion in the Age of Reason By Guy G. Stroumsa (Harvard University Press, 223 pp., $35) The scene is familiar. A family is sitting around a table, in a well-appointed eighteenthcentury dining space. Only if you look closely, and only if you know what to look for, do you realize that this is a Passover seder.

What Remains
July 28, 2011

Holy Bones, Holy Dust: How Relics Shaped the History of Medieval Europe By Charles Freeman (Yale University Press, 306 pp., $35) Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe By Caroline Walker Bynum (Zone Books, 408 pp., $32.95)  Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe Edited by Martina Bagnoli, Holger A. Klein, Griffith Mann, and James Robinson (Yale University Press, 259 pp., $65) Throughout much of history, at the heart of every village, town, and city in Europe, there lay a dead body.

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