The End of the End of History
April 23, 2008
I. In the early 1990s, optimism was understandable. The collapse of the communist empire and the apparent embrace of democracy by Russia seemed to augur a new era of global convergence. The great adversaries of the Cold War suddenly shared many common goals, including a desire for economic and political integration. Even after the political crackdown that began in Tiananmen Square in 1989 and the disturbing signs of instability that appeared in Russia after 1993, most Americans and Europeans believed that China and Russia were on a path toward liberalism.
Will Cell Phones Kill You?
April 09, 2008
The Secret History of the War on Cancer by Devra Davis (Basic Books, 505 pp., $27.95) I. In 1775, Percivall Pott, a surgeon at St. Bartholemew's Hospital in London who gave his name to several diseases and conditions, published Chirurgical Observations. Although he had treated such distinguished personages as Samuel Johnson and Thomas Gainsborough, his treatise focused on the lowliest of the low. In so doing, he became the first to hypothesize what is now a widespread notion: that cancer can be caused by environmental exposure.
March 26, 2008
Madame Proust: A Biography By Evelyne Bloch-Dano Translated by Alice Kaplan (University of Chicago Press, 310 pp., $27.50) IT HAS NEVER BEEN CLEAR what, if anything, should be made of the fact that Proust's mother was a Jew. This genealogical fact means that in the patently irrelevant terms of Jewish law, he, too, could be called a Jew, while in the equally irrelevant terms of biology he was half-Jewish.
Discipline and Decline
March 12, 2008
Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947 By Christopher Clark (Harvard University Press, 776 pp., $35) On his way back from self-imposed exile in Paris, in 1844, Heinrich Heine caught a first glimpse of Prussian soldiers in Aachen, a city in the far west corner of Germany: I wandered about in this dull little nest For about an hour or more Saw Prussian military once again They looked much the same as before. [ ...
A Sacred Aura
March 07, 2008
There is one book that says it all. An old book, nearly a classic. Oddly, it is rarely mentioned in France. This book, published in 1957, is titled The King's Two Bodies: A Study in Mediaeval Political Theology. Its author is Ernst H.
Where Are the Anti-Fascists?
December 04, 2007
The memory of the crimes of the Nazi era and the determination to oppose anti-Semitism in all its forms have been constitutive and distinctive features of German democracy since 1949, when it was articulated by the founding generation of political leaders of West Germany's Federal Republic. Judging by the memorials, commemorative days, books, and films about Nazism and the Holocaust, this tradition of remembering the murdered Jews of Europe remains firmly embedded in the political culture of contemporary German public life.
November 12, 2007
The best case against universal health care.
Health Care Special Issue: Creative Destruction
November 12, 2007
More than a decade ago, Michael Kinsley, the journalist and former editor of this magazine, developed Parkinson's disease--a degenerative condition that impairs motor and speech control, producing tremors, rigidity, and eventually severe disability. While the standard regimen of medications helped, he knew that his symptoms were bound to get steadily worse with time. He needed something better--something innovative--before the disease really progressed. In 2006, he got it at the famed Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. The treatment Mike received is called Deep Brain Stimulation, or DBS for short.
War of Error
October 15, 2007
Omar bin Laden, the fourth son of the Al Qaeda leader, cuts a striking figure. In one photo, he stares out from beneath an Adidas baseball cap, his beard closely trimmed--an entirely different look from his father's seventh-century aesthetic. He wears jeans and sits next to his much older wife, a pale-faced British woman with pig tails, whom he divorced a mere five months into their marriage. While his father would not approve of his lifestyle choices, few men know the terrorist mastermind so well.
Books: The Whole Horror
September 10, 2007
The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945 By Saul Friedlander (HarperCollins, 870 pp., $39.95) With the publication of The Years of Extermination, Saul Friedlander adds to his already well-established reputation as one of the world's pre-eminent historians of the Holocaust and of its place in modern European, German, and Jewish history.