Tony Kushner's Real Source For "Lincoln"?
January 10, 2013
Tony Kushner's "Best Adapted Screenplay" was likely adapted not from "Team of Rivals" but from an obscure academic book.
The Rushdie Affair and the Struggle Against Islamism
December 07, 2012
The persecution of a prophetic novel and a pompous novelist.
America on the Brink of Oligarchy
August 24, 2012
The Unheavenly Chorus: Unequal Political Voice and the Broken Promise of American Democracy By Kay Lehman Schlozman, Sidney Verba, and Henry E. Brady (Princeton University Press, 693 pp., $35) Oligarchy By Jeffrey A. Winters (Cambridge University Press, 323 pp., $29.99) The MoveOn Effect: The Unexpected Transformation of American Political Advocacy By David Karpf (Oxford University Press, 237 pp., $27.95) THIS IS A SEASON of political anxiety, and the source of that unease is not only the election and looming economic uncertainties.
The Other Liberal Light
June 22, 2012
Recovering Liberties: Indian Thought in the Age of Liberalism and Empire By C. A. Bayly (Cambridge University Press, 383 pp., $29.99) Democracy and Its Institutions By André Béteille (Oxford University Press India, 228 pp., £27.50) I. THE REPUBLIC OF INDIA is the most reckless political experiment in human history. Never before was a single nation constructed out of so many diverse and disparate parts. Partitioned at birth on the basis of religion, India now has almost as many Muslims as the Muslim homeland of Pakistan.
The First Fine Careless Rapture
January 25, 2012
The Letters of Ernest Hemingway: Volume I, 1907-1922 Edited by Sandra Spanier and Robert W. Trogdon (Cambridge University Press, 431 pp., $40) Hemingway: A Life in Pictures By Boris Vejdovsky with Mariel Hemingway (Firefly Books, 207 pp., $29.95) With a flourish of publicity and as much shameless hype as one of the oldest and most prestigious academic publishers in the world can get away with, the first of an estimated sixteen volumes of Ernest Hemingway’s correspondence has been released.
Darkness and Kindness
November 23, 2011
The Letters of Samuel Beckett Vol. 2: 1941-1956Edited by George Craig, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, Dan Gunn, and Lois More Overbeck (Cambridge University Press, 791 pp., $50) In February 1950, David Greene, who was then a professor of English at New York University, asked a twenty-three-year-old protégé on a Fulbright year in Paris to track down Samuel Beckett. I should like to know a.) what he is doing now, for a living. b.) why has he, or has he, stopped writing. But none of this is terribly important except that I should like to find that he is a real person, living in the flesh.
September 14, 2011
Then They Came For Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity and Survival By Maziar Bahari with Aimee Molloy (Random House, 356 pp., $27) Let the Swords Encircle Me: Iran - A Journey Behind the Headlines By Scott Peterson (Simon & Schuster, 732 pp., $32) After Khomeini: Iran Under His Successor By Saïd Amir Arjomand (Oxford University Press, 268 pp., $24.95) Political Islam, Iran, And the Enlightenment: Philosophies of Hope and Despair By Ali Mirsepassi (Cambridge University Press, 230 pp., $85) I. For the regime in Iran, opacity in politics, dissimulation in discourse, and the obfuscation
May 21, 2011
When I was an undergraduate at Oxford University my tutor—a deeply eccentric but profoundly decent man who claimed to both “loathe this century” and be surprised by the fact that he had lived to see it—had a map on his wall. The map showed the world. The continents were outlined in black on a white field. Shaded red were all of Britain’s former overseas possessions, from India to swathes of Africa to North America.
The Court of Celebrity
May 05, 2011
Justices and Journalists: The U.S. Supreme Court and the Media By Richard Davis (Cambridge University Press, 241 pp., $28.99) The way in which every person, every institution, relates to people is essentially, though often unconsciously, theatrical. We are experts in self-presentation, in acting a part to further our aims and interests. We have, all of us, a public relations strategy. This is true of the Supreme Court, too, and of the individual Supreme Court justices.
May 18, 2010
This early in the twenty-first century, the rulers of the Catholic Church have suffered an earthquake of crumbling credibility. Nearly ten years ago, with the initial revelations about sexual abuse of the young by priests, some argued that the problem was limited in time and place, since most of the abuse cases had occurred 30 or 40 years before, and they took place in the United States. There was hope that an investigative and reformist effort would restore the U.S. Church’s authority.