Rome

The Colbert Report
October 07, 2009

The Information Master: Jean-Baptiste Colbert's Secret State Intelligence System By Jacob Soll (University of Michigan Press, 277 pp., $65)   That resonant piece of verbal shorthand, TMI--or Too Much Information--would make a fine epigraph for our age. Anyone with an Internet connection today has access to exponentially greater quantities of writing, images, sound, and video than anyone on earth could have imagined just twenty years ago.

The Colbert Report
October 05, 2009

The Information Master: Jean-Baptiste Colbert's Secret State Intelligence System By Jacob Soll (University of Michigan Press, 277 pp., $65) That resonant piece of verbal shorthand, TMI--or Too Much Information--would make a fine epigraph for our age. Anyone with an Internet connection today has access to exponentially greater quantities of writing, images, sound, and video than anyone on earth could have imagined just twenty years ago.

The Real History of American Relations With Iran
September 30, 2009

When I took over The New Republic in 1974 one of the first people I recruited--on a trip to Rome, as I recall--was Michael Ledeen, a scholar of Italian fascism. I think it was his doctoral supervisor and my friend, the great German Jewish historian, George Mosse, who suggested that we meet. But it actually was Claire Sterling, the brave journalist of uncomfortable truths, who introduced us. Michael was then working on a book about Gabriele d'Annunzio, the futurist poet, artist, fighter pilot, political theorist and neo-fascist adventurer who led a march on Fiume to keep it in Italian hands. Th

The Forest and the Trees
September 29, 2009

Understanding the construct we call Nature.

The "Lifestyle" Taboo
September 28, 2009

It's not considered the height of political savvy here in the United States to point out that European lifestyles are greener than our own. Don't expect that line in an Obama speech anytime soon.

Love and Capitalism
September 25, 2009

Caritas in Veritate: On Integral Human Development in Charity and Truth By Pope Benedict XVI (Ignatius Press, 157 pp., $14.95) I. Are we facing an economic crisis? I do not mean the crisis of the credit markets that has wiped trillions off the global balance sheet and plunged the world into recession. I mean a spiritual crisis, of which the crash is but a symptom. According to Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, we are in the midst of a “late capitalist . . .

Atrocious Normalcy
September 16, 2009

  In 1943, the Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz, who was living in Nazi-occupied Warsaw, wrote “Campo dei Fiori,” his great poem about the coexistence of normality and atrocity. The Campo dei Fiori is the plaza in Rome where, in the year 1600, the heretical philosopher Giordano Bruno was burned alive by the Catholic Church; “before the flames had died,” Milosz writes, “the taverns were full again.” The same willed blindness could be noted in Warsaw, the poem declares.

The Best and the Fastest
August 31, 2009

The End of Empire: Attila the Hun and the Fall of Rome By Christopher Kelly (W.W. Norton, 350 pp., $26.95) Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia From the Bronze Age To the Present By Christopher I. Beckwith (Princeton University Press, 472 pp., $35) The extraordinary reputation of Attila and his Huns requires an explanation, because they had so much competition.

Disengagement
August 05, 2009

The pun in the title of Israel Is Real, the new book by Rich Cohen, is silly but not meaningless. The problem of reality, and how to distinguish it from fantasy, fear, and hope, has been with the Zionist project since the very beginning.

L.A. Stories
June 03, 2009

Bernini and the Birth of Baroque Portrait Sculpture -- J. Paul Getty Museum Hearst The Collector -- Los Angeles County Museum of Art Dialogue Among Giants: Carleton Watkins and the Rise of Photography in California -- J. Paul Getty Museum Back when I was in college, there was a theory that the way to get a sense of how somebody felt deep inside was to ask whether they preferred Tolstoy or Dostoevsky. The friend who was drawn to the ecstatic optimism of certain moments in War and Peace was one kind of person, and the friend who was consumed by the darkness of Crime and Punishment was another.

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