Books

And Even the Ampleness of the Flesh...
February 04, 2009

Not even the buxom blond in a G-string sitting at the beach in Szigligetcan cure me of my melancholy this stifling day, not even her breastsor her hidden triangulated vulva, not the oiled and salted skin she has prepared so carefully, not her breath of mint, not her practiced fingersor insatiable nose, not even the well-intentioned syllables of Hungarianshe sends my way, or her beckoning thighs, no, there is nothing at all I am willing to submit myself to this unenraptured dusk, I am lonelyas a dwarf at a basketball game, desireless as a pope, and I can only sayto those who have come here to b

Mister Lucky
February 04, 2009

Malcolm Gladwell's fairy tales.

Seeing and Believing
February 04, 2009

Saving Darwin: How to be a Christian and Believe in Evolution By Karl W. Giberson (HarperOne, 248 pp., $24.95) Only A Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul By Kenneth R. Miller (Viking, 244 pp., $25.95) I. Charles Darwin was born on February 12, 1809--the same day as Abraham Lincoln--and published his magnum opus, On the Origin of Species, fifty years later.

Foreclosing the Crisis
February 04, 2009

The Household: Informal Order around the HearthBy Robert C. Ellickson(Princeton University Press, 272 pp., $24.95) An economic maelstrom has struck the world. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by 35 percent between last New Year's Eve and the start of this year's somewhat bleaker holiday season, making this the worst year for stocks since 1931. The crisis has already been responsible for massive political change, carrying in not only a new president but also a new appetite for large-scale government action.

The Power of a Declaration
February 04, 2009

Nineteen forty-eight may have begun as an unsettling year, with the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in January, but it ended on a positive note, when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December. There was a reasoned vision of lasting importance underlying the declaration; it was momentous in its time, and it remains important today.

The New New Media
December 31, 2008

The Future of the Internet (And How to Stop It)By Jonathan Zittrain(Yale University Press, 352 pp., $30)The first time Jonathan Zittrain gave a speech on the future of computing, he greatly surprised his audience. The year was 1985, and Zittrain was a magazine columnist and the "system operator" of an online forum for users of Texas Instruments computers. As a leading figure in the community, Zittrain was invited to speak at a big convention in Chicago. The surprise was that Zittrain had recently turned fifteen.

Why Mantegna Matters
December 31, 2008

I. During the last two years I have had the good fortune of visiting no fewer than four exhibitions devoted to the work of the great fifteenth-century painter Andrea Mantegna.

The Rustle of History's Wings, As They Used to Say
December 31, 2008

Not far from the train tracks, near the bruising post office,I saw a porcelain plaque on an old house, and I knewthis was the name of the son of the manwhose girl I stole years ago: she left himand came to me and this young man was bornto another woman and knew nothing aboutall this. Those were the days of a great love and a great fate,the foreign government imposed a curfew on the cityand confined us to a sweet union in a room,guarded by heavily armed soldiers. For five shillings I exchanged the exile nameof my fathers for a proud Hebrew name that suited hers. That whore ran off to America an

When Barbarism Won
December 31, 2008

Hitler's Empire: How the Nazis Ruled EuropeBy Mark Mazower(Penguin Press, 726 pp., $39.95) Between 1935, when Germany re-acquired the Saarland at the French border, and 1942, when German soldiers hoisted their flag on Mount Elbruz, Europe's highest peak in the Caucasus, the Third Reich expanded steadily until no country on the continent escaped its direct or indirect influence.

Only A Man
December 31, 2008

Yehuda Amichai: The Making of Israel's National PoetBy Nili Scharf Gold(Brandeis University Press, 445 pp., $35) This is a disheartening book. As the first full-scale biographical-critical study of one of the great poets of the twentieth century, it invites high expectations, and it repeatedly disappoints them. The problem does not stem from any lack of dedication in the research on which the book draws. Nili Gold has sedulously labored in the Amichai archives at the Beinecke Library at Yale, and she has uncovered a variety of interesting materials.

Pages