Row! Row!
October 04, 2011

The Obama tax cut is a classic example of what Suzanne Mettler calls “the submerged state”: policies invisible to citizens. Countless federal benefits

The Star that Barked
October 03, 2011

Susan Orlean has done a fine job with this book, and it is to be numbered among the best Hollywood biographies. She seizes the bone at the end of her

Humanism As Revolution
September 28, 2011

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern By Stephen Greenblatt (W.W. Norton, 356 pp., $26.95) Midway through the greatest literary work of the Italian Renaissance, the paladin Orlando, the hero of Ludovico Ariosto’s epic poem Orlando Furioso, which appeared in 1516, goes crazy with unrequited love and jealousy. His poet creator is in no better shape: he is writing, he winkingly tells us, in a “lucid interval” of his own lovesickness.

The Self-Made Man
September 28, 2011

The nameless narrator of Lawrence Douglas’ new novel seems cut out to be the butt of an academic satire. Like so many fictional professors before him—

The Argument for the Prosecution
September 26, 2011

Kathryn Sikkink’s important book fills a yawning gap in the literature of atrocity crimes. A political science professor at the University of Minnesot

Is the Internet Turning Books into Perpetual Works-in-Progress?
September 22, 2011

Richard North Patterson remembers the moment he learned that Osama bin Laden was dead. He was watching television on a Sunday evening two days before the publication of his latest novel, The Devil’s Light, in which Al Qaeda plans a nuclear attack on America for the decade anniversary of 9/11. Wolf Blitzer, grave-faced, said something about a major national security announcement. And immediately, Patterson knew. “I sat there like a man in a catatonic state,” he recalled.

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

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