New York Review

"The Book" Is Not an Event. It Is a Cultural Continuum.
January 11, 2010

The first editors of the first issue of The New Republic in 1914 began their books and arts section with what was, and still is, a bristling admonition to critics. The words belonged to Rebecca West, called “indisputably the world’s number one woman writer” by Time in 1947 (though she probably resented the gender modifier). She titled her essay “The Duty of Harsh Criticism,” and she was as harsh on herself as she was harsh on the two males she put to scrutiny, George Bernard Shaw and H.G. Wells, certified “great men” who have passed way into the deep past.

Jane Fonda, Mary Robinson, Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu: They're All Back and They are All Malicious... and Dangerously Malicious at That
September 08, 2009

OK, the Bertrand Russell psychodrama is also malicious but maybe not dangerously so.  About six months ago, I came across a web posting announcing the formation of a Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Palestine. Yes, it was one of those false kangaroo courts in which, from the Stalin era on, convenes not to evaluate evidence but to condemn. In loads of cases the verdicts brought quick impositions of the death sentence. One such process is now unfolding in Tehran, and its backers are Muslim millenarians and western leftists who are prone to support every revolution even if it is decidedly and objecti

Mine Enemies Make Me Wiser
August 12, 2009

The verse is from Psalms 119, that is, King David, poet and hero. Robert Malley and Hussein Agha are (let me just to be polite say "adversaries" instead of) enemies of Israel. That is why they are so welcome in the New York Review of Books and, of course, on the op-ed page of the New York Times where their latest missive, "The Two-State Solution Doesn't Solve Anything," appeared on Tuesday. (The same piece was published simultaneously in the Guardian, the closest thing to a pro-jihadist publication in ordinary journalism.) While fronting as an academic at St.

How Dems Can Win On National Security
July 23, 2008

  RealClearPolitics just linked to Samantha Power's excellent New York Review of Books piece about the foreign policy Democrats ought to adopt--incidentally, it's a review of our executive editor's book U.S. vs. Them. Echoing Obama's new ad campaign, Power says Democrats should emphasize: The New versus the Old. Democrats should argue that their foreign policy is particularly well suited to meeting today's unconventional threats--those that cross borders. Meeting such threats will sometimes entail using military force, but it will almost always require mustering global cooperation.

A Close Shave
February 27, 2008

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street(DreamWorks) ForeignersBy Caryl Phillips (Knopf, 235 pp., $24.95)  Records of Shelley, Byron, and the AuthorBy Edward John Trelawny (New York Review Books, 308 pp., $12.95)   I. As Sweeney Todd croons to his razor, “My friend, my faithful friend,” more in love with its sharp blade than with Mrs. Lovett, his partner in crime, you may find yourself wondering what it is about opera and its ubiquitous vengeful barbers.

Good Reviews
December 15, 2006

It's hard not to laugh, or at least smile, when you see, say, Larry McMurtry give glowing praise to Gore Vidal's new memoir in the New York Review of Books. After all, this is the publication commonly known as the New York Review of Each Other's Books. But on the incestuous reviewing front, I was glad to see that National Review is giving NYRB a run for its money. In the latest issue, the first back-of-the-book essay heaps fawning praise on John O'Sullivan's new history of Reagan, Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II (all heroes of freedom, coincidentally).

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.

Ornamental farms
December 13, 1993

A few months ago, Garry Wills wrote an erudite piece in the New York Review of Books called "Jefferson the Aesthete." Far from the radical populist of historical myth, Wills argues, Jefferson was an aestheticized elitist of excessive refinement, who went on reckless buying sprees in Paris and cluttered his mountaintop chateau with Houdon busts, Sèvre table sculptures and a fauteuil from Marie Antoinette's own ébéniste.

Monkey Business
June 02, 1982

“This is vivisection,” proclaimed scores of X posters that appeared overnight all over Washington to designate April 24 an International Day for Laboratory Animals. “Don't let anyone tell you differently.” The posters were illustrated with a lurid photograph of a monkey trapped in an elaborate scaffold, its neck wedged in a narrow aperture and its arms extended, Christ-like, to the outer bars, where they were tightly bandaged. The photograph was a little deceptive.

The Moral Equivalent to Football
July 23, 1977

Wilcomb E. Washburn: Why football reflects the true nature of the American character.

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