March 17, 2010
For decades, various Chinese officials and outsiders have reassured the world that the country’s Communist Party leadership eventually planned to open up its one-party political system. The regime would undertake major political reforms and liberalization, it was said, to accompany the economic reforms launched by Deng Xiaoping in the late ’70s. It was merely a question of choosing the right time. Writing in Foreign Affairs two years ago, John L.
January 05, 2010
KIEV–Like many Ukrainian politicians, prime minister and presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko relies on fortune-tellers and TV psychics to bolster her embattled spirit.
December 07, 2009
Trotsky Robert Service Harvard University Press, $35 When Leon Trotsky was assassinated in Mexico City by an agent of Stalin, in 1940, the American novelist James T. Farrell took to the pages of Partisan Review to memorialize him. “The life of Leon Trotsky is one of the great tragic dramas of modern history,” Farrell’s obituary began, and it only gets more idolatrous from there. “Pitting his brain and will against the despotic rulers of a great empire, fully conscious of the power, the resources, the cunning and cruelty of his enemy, Trotsky had one weapon at his command--his ideas.
A Semi-Defense of Bush's Buckraking
October 21, 2009
TPM and others are having a lot of fun over the fact that George W. Bush is heading out on the motivational speaking circuit.
The Great Disconcerting Wipeout
October 05, 2009
Arthur Miller By Christopher Bigsby (Harvard University Press, 739 pp., $35) I. Arthur Miller could hardly have hoped for a more sympathetic biographer than Christopher Bigsby. He is the director of the Arthur Miller Centre for American Studies at the University of East Anglia, and the author of a long commentary on Miller’s work and a book-length interview with the playwright.
Peking Over Our Shoulder
September 15, 2009
Our Chinese shareholders get nosy.
August 12, 2009
Sometimes nothing is more enchanting than disenchantment. I had the good fortune to have been born late in the intellectual wars about Marxism, and far away from the Marxist tyrannies, and I never was a Marxist; but when I was a student I suffered for a while from the suspicion that the Marxist tradition contained important truths, and that only it contained them. Marxism, after all, explained everything; and I was not yet smart enough to hold this against it.
June 17, 2009
Kazan on Directing Edited and with commentary by Robert Cornfield (Knopf, 368 pp., $32.50) If anyone wants to make the case for Elia Kazan as one of the outstanding twentieth-century Americans, there is a famous text to call in support. I refer to A Life, Kazan's autobiography, published in 1988 at 848 pages (it was cut to make it a reasonable length), and one of the most forceful and engrossing books ever written about a life in the arts or show business.
Disputations: Who Are You Calling Anti-Semitic?
January 07, 2009
I am grateful to Mr. Kirsch for the time and effort he put into running over so many of my books in order to find incriminating passages that would support his thesis on my anti-Semitic Fascism-Communism.
The Olympics Torched
March 26, 2008
It has been said that the upcoming Olympic Games will effectively open up China to the world--and thus to democracy--and that the members of Communist Party's inner circle, knowing that China will be observed and scrutinized as never before, will find it in their best interests to present a good image of their regime. In reality, we find that the exact opposite has occurred. They have expelled the poor and the unproductive from the cities. They have accelerated their demolition of the "hutongs," working-class neighborhoods, in the center of Beijing. In fact, they have increased the number of h