France

The Missing Joy
July 04, 2005

Perfect Madness By Judith Warner (Riverhead, 327 pp., $23.95)    How She Really Does It: Secrets of Successful Stay-at-Work Moms By Wendy Sachs (Da Capo, 205 pp., $19.95)   White House Nannies By Barbara Kline (Tarcher/Penguin, 238 pp., $23.95)    I. Midway through my first pregnancy, I began to receive mailings from a company called "One Step Ahead," which promised "thoughtfully selected products to help with baby ...

Hardness
April 11, 2005

Dirty SnowBy Georges Simenon Translated by Marc Romano and Louise Varse (New York Review Books, 257 pp., $14) Three Bedrooms in Manhattan By Georges Simenon Translated by Marc Romano and Lawrence G. Blochman (New York Review Books, 158 pp., $12.95) Monsieur Monde Vanishes By Georges Simenon Translated by Jean Stewart (New York Review Books, 174 pp., $12.95)   Georges Simenon famously claimed to have slept with ten thousand women during the course of his lifetime. Or perhaps it was twenty thousand—the figure varies.

Tehran Twist
March 28, 2005

Lawrence Kaplan on Bush's new Iran policy.

When the Skies Part
February 14, 2005

Let patience have a new mettle of love When the legions of unlivable hours marshal And the long-rumored war between good and evil Seems loosed—no, between time and evil.  To look not too keenly, hear their battles not loudly. The war is an ancient one which hurls Time against time on to-morrow’s fields— Which consumes expectation, leaves to-day waiting.  Standing in the shadow of their shadow-world, Let the cries and the thunders fall voiceless to earth, And the flames reach to heaven, that top of hell, Unexalted by our eyes, our amen.  Nor be haggard for an outcome, breath forborne. When ghos

Rumblings
December 20, 2004

Outside the Hotel Ivoire in Abidjan, Cte d'Ivoire's main city, loyalist youths recently milled around the site where as many as ten protestors were killed days earlier in a confrontation with French peacekeepers. As I began talking to one of the young men--a member of the self-styled Young Patriots movement of pro-government militants--a small crowd quickly gathered, watching me closely. Fortunately, I passed the initial nationality test.

Center Right
September 27, 2004

Jerusalem, Israel--The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, had planned on offering the usual complaints when he visited Prime Minister Ariel Sharon last week. There was the stalled road map, Israel's security fence, and the recently announced expansion of West Bank settlements close to the Green Line. But, before he arrived in Jerusalem, something happened that changed Lavrov's agenda: the massacre of Russian children by Chechen Islamist terrorists.

Pop Esoterica!
August 16, 2004

The Da Vinci Code By Dan Brown (Doubleday, 454 pp., $24.95) The Rule of Four By Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason (The Dial Press, 372 pp., $24) Breaking the Da Vinci Code: Answers to the Questions Everyone's Asking By Darrel L. Bock (Nelson Books, 188 pp., $19.99) Q By Luther Blissett (Harcourt, 750 pp., $26) DESPITE PREVAILING GOSSIP in the groves of academe, people still like their Renaissance, with its prancing nymphs, striplings in hose, and Venus on the half-shell, an endless Primavera with Lorenzo de' Medici presiding benignly over the pagan rites.

America the Exceptional
July 26, 2004

The Creation of the Media: The Political Origins of Modern Communications By Paul Starr (Basic Books, 484 pp., $27.50)   I. For centuries, Americans have been telling themselves that their nation is not like any other. The most influential version of this notion, stretching back to Puritan times, asserts that the United States has a divinely scripted role to play in the sacred drama of world history. This providentialist fantasy has done no end of mischief: serving as a religious sanction for raw power, justifying the export of American ways--by force if necessary--to a recalcitrant world.

Crashing the Party
July 19, 2004

It's not often that a U.S. political campaign is launched on foreign soil. Then again, it's not often that a U.S. political campaign revolves around a major motion picture.

Back in the USSR
June 28, 2004

I was in Britain in the summer of 2002 when Europeans first got wind of the American plan to invade Iraq. As it happened, they learned this news not from President George W. Bush, not from Secretary of State Colin Powell, and not from the American ambassador, but rather from a leak that appeared in The New York Times. The debate began immediately. The archbishop of Canterbury denounced the war, The Daily Telegraph denounced the archbishop of Canterbury, and so on.

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