THE READ: We Are the World
February 09, 2010

A few years ago, the Mexican literary magazine Letras Libres asked me to write an essay about major trends in the last decade of American literature. The more I thought about what such trends might be, the less convinced I became that there even was such a thing as “American literature” anymore. The books that had interested me most in the late 1990s and early 2000s were by writers who were emigrants or members of minority ethnic groups: Ha Jin, Jhumpa Lahiri, Edwidge Danticat, Nathan Englander.

Proxy War
January 30, 2010

When President Obama launched a massive humanitarian-aid response to Haiti's earthquake last month, not everyone took his magnanimity at face value. Hugo Chavez, for example, accused him of "occupying Haiti undercover" and then upped the ante by saying the earthquake had been caused by an American "tectonic weapon." A minister from France, Haiti's former colonial ruler, complained that the U.S.

Did "African American" History Really Happen in Atlanta, Cleveland, Philly, and Detroit? Listening to the Census.
January 22, 2010

The figures from the American Community Survey just in are more than crunched numbers. They suggest that this might be a good year for a certain term now familiar in American parlance to be, if not consigned to history, reassigned. Namely, as of now, almost 1 in 10 black people are foreign-born. About 1 in 30 are from Africa. Which means that they are--you see where I’m going--African American in the true sense.

From the Chait Vault: Cloaks and Daggers
January 22, 2010

While Jon is on vacation, enjoying the sun while we rot in D.C., we thought it may be a good time to review some of the classic TNR pieces he has written over the years. Over the next few days, I'll be posting some of our favorites, so be sure to keep checking back. Here is one from February 1997 based on the experience Jon had as a coatchecker at the Caribbean, New Jersey, and Gay & Lesbian Inaugural Balls. While the night started inauspiciously enough, chaos ensued: 10:30: Any semblance of a line has disappeared.

TNR on Haiti
January 15, 2010

The tragic earthquake in Haiti is not the first misfortune to befall our Caribbean neighbor. From slave revolts to military coups to armed U.S. intervention, the country has suffered countless natural and man-made misfortunes since it gained independence.

The Unnatural Side Of The Haiti Quake
January 14, 2010

A massive 7.0 earthquake that erupts beneath a poor, densely populated city is going to have horrifying consequences in any scenario. But as Henry Fountain reports, the devastation in Haiti was made so much worse by the shoddy construction of buildings in Port-au-Prince: Mr. Sinclair said that design and construction were far worse than in other developing countries he had visited.

The Shah of Venezuela
April 01, 2009

The ideas that keep Hugo Chavez in power.

The Discovery Of Pride
November 19, 2008

Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus GarveyBy Colin Grant (Oxford University Press, 530 pp., $27.95) I. In the pantheon of the past century's African American leaders, Marcus Garvey holds an exceedingly ambiguous place.

Skin Deep
October 08, 2008

Lying on a couch in the office of one of the hairdressing salons that she owns in London, Sharyn Hughes perused the advertising brochure she had been sent by Makeover Getaways:"Our Malaysian Makeover Package is a brilliant combination of surgery trea

To Awaken the Dead
January 30, 2008

David Macaulay: The Art of Drawing Architecture National Building Museum.   I.  What makes a writer a "children's book writer"?