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. [ ...
The Pity Party: Russia's Nonexistent Opposition
March 03, 2008
Here's the latest dispatch from Michael Idov, our man in Moscow. You can also find his most recent video report here. (For more election coverage from Russia, check yesterday's post and video.) Yesterday in the New York Times Magazine, Andrew Meier profiled one of the perennially thwarted Russian opposition leaders, Eduard Limonov. “[President-elect] Dmitri Medvedev … is little more than a proxy,” Meier writes, but “there remains one genuine opposition force, the Other Russia.” To be blunt about it, no there doesn’t.
Moscow Dispatch: Election Day In Russia
March 02, 2008
Today, Russia votes for its next president.
The End of Big Oil
February 27, 2008
When historians one day dissect the long arc of humankind's use of fossil fuels, they may very well zero in on October 9, 2006, as a turning point for Big Oil. That's when it became clear that the major oil companies--the giants that had survived numerous predicted extinctions and gone on to ever-greater profit and influence--were undergoing a tectonic shift and would either reinvent themselves or die.
January 30, 2008
David Golder, The Ball Snow in Autumn, The Courilof Affair By Irène Némirovsky Translated by Sandra Smith (Everyman's Library, 340 pp., $25) Fire in the Blood By Irène Némirovsky Translated by Sandra Smith (Alfred A. Knopf, 138 pp., $22) Irène Némirovsky: Her Life and Works By Jonathan Weiss (Stanford University Press, 195 pp., $24.95) I. The writer: a Jew who had fled to the French countryside seeking refuge from occupied Paris, eventually deported to Auschwitz, where she would die in a typhus epidemic soon after her arrival.
Kim Murphy is a London correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. London, England One night last June, 400 A-list guests and several packs of wolvesdescended upon Althorp, the ancestral home of the late PrincessDiana. The guests--who included Orlando Bloom, Elle MacPherson, andSalman Rushdie--had been invited to attend a fund-raiser for theRaisa Gorbachev Foundation, which helps childhood cancer victims inRussia.
February 12, 2007
IF THERE WAS one thing George W. Bush and his clique were supposed to know, it was oil. That, at least, was the widespread consensus back in 2000, when Bush first sought the White House, and it was easy to understand why. Bush’s grandfather was an oilman. His father was an oilman. He himself had worked in oil. His vice presidential nominee, Dick Cheney, was the former CEO of energy giant Halliburton. His campaign’s chairman, Donald Evans, was CEO of the oil company Tom Brown.
Being and Laziness
January 29, 2007
Oblomov By Ivan Goncharov Translated by Stephen Pearl (Bunim & Banigan, 443 pp., $45) I. Anyone with a claim to literacy is familiar with the names of Tolstoy, Turgenev, and Dostoevsky, and can cite some of the titles of their most famous works. But Goncharov and his novel Oblomov, of which a new translation, a snappily colloquial and readable one, has just been published—who ever heard of them? Well, Beckett for one, who was told to read Oblomov by his mistress Peggy Guggenheim, and soon signed some of his letters to her with this cognomen.
January 22, 2007
SEYMOUR MARTIN LIPSET, the distinguished political sociologist who died on December 31, 2006, tells the story in a memoir of how he shifted in City College (CCNY) from science—as a prelude to dentistry—to sociology. During the Depression, the only member of his family who prospered was a dentist uncle, and that seemed the road to security.
October 02, 2006
Earlier this year, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in China—and quickly made himself at home. The occasion was a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional group linking China, Russia, and Central Asia. During the summit, Ahmadinejad seemed to be everywhere. He posed, arms linked, with Russian and Chinese officials, who said nothing as he called for “impartial and independent experts” to investigate whether the Holocaust happened. He delivered a major address broadcast on Chinese state television.