Harvard University

The Race Man
October 26, 2009

Up from History: The Life of Booker T. Washington By Robert J. Norrell (Harvard University Press, 508 pp., $35)   I. Once the most famous and influential African American in the United States (and probably the world), Booker T. Washington has earned at best mixed reviews in the decades since his death in 1915. Black intellectuals and political activists, from W. E. B.

Playing the Race Card (But Not the Way You Think)
October 12, 2009

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) has released a public letter concerning HR3200, the main House health reform bill. Many people have framed health reform as a civil rights concern. More than one-fifth of African-Americans, and more than one-third of Hispanic Americans, are uninsured. Race/ethnic disparities in access to high-quality medical care are profound. Disparities in health status and lifespan are even larger, and must be counted among the most serious structural inequalities in American society.

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.

October 01, 2009

Jewish history in the 20th century is full of might-have-beens, most of them too sorrowful to bear thinking about. The brief cultural moment that Kenneth B. Moss resurrects in Jewish Renaissance in the Russian Revolution (Harvard University Press) is one of the least known and most fascinating of those aborted futures: a two-year period when writers, artists, and activists in Russia and Ukraine believed they were midwiving the birth of a new Jewish culture.

The Truth Will Not Set You Free
August 27, 2008

Why we didn't prevent the genocide in Darfur.

The Truth Will Not Set You Free
August 27, 2008

The Devil Came on Horseback: Bearing Witness to the Genocide in Darfur By Brian Steidle and Gretchen Steidle Wallace (PublicAffairs, 237 pp., $14.95) War in Darfur and the Search for Peace Edited by Alex de Waal (Global Equity Initiative, Harvard University and Justice Africa, 431 pp., $24.95) Darfur's Sorrow: A History of Destruction and Genocide By M.W. Daly (Cambridge University Press, 368 pp., $22.99) Darfur: The Long Road to Disaster By J. Millard Burr and Robert O.

Missions Accomplished
June 11, 2008

The Roman Triumph By Mary Beard (Harvard University Press, 434 pp., $29.95) Everybody over the age of four knows how important it is not to be a "sore loser"--and how difficult. When you lose your whole fortune to your sister at Monopoly, you are not supposed to burst into tears, accuse her of cheating, call her a greedy old moneybags, hit her, tear up the paper dollars, hurl the pieces across the floor, or run screaming from the room. You are supposed to be gracious in defeat: congratulate the winner, allow her to enjoy her victory, stifle your sorrow, and pretend not to mind too much.

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. [ ...

Behind the Veil
February 27, 2008

Lectures on the History of Political Philosophy By John Rawls Edited by Samuel Freeman (Harvard University Press, 476 pp., $35)   Ever since ancient times, philosophers have sought to define the proper goals of political life. Yet in the age of modern democracy, when citizens themselves are held to decide through the various institutions of government the laws and the norms under which they will live together, political philosophy can look profoundly undemocratic.

The Usual Suspect
October 08, 2007

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy By John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 484 pp., $26) In October 2002, Osama bin Laden issued a statement in which he analyzed America's inexhaustible number of sins and prescribed ways of repenting for many of them. The statement was, by the standards of bin Laden's cave encyclicals, unusually coherent.