October 16, 2006
Dean Acheson: A Life in the Cold War By Robert L. Beisner (Oxford University Press, 768 pp., $35) I. "It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world." The speaker could have been Thomas Jefferson, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S Truman, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, or Bill Clinton. In fact, it was George W. Bush, in his second inaugural address; and what he said is what historians will probably remember as the Bush Doctrine.
September 11, 2006
Surry Hill. So reads a plaque at the end of the long, winding private road that leads to the crown jewel of McLean, Virginia: the 18,000-square-foot mansion that Republican lobbyist Ed Rogers and his wife Edwina call home. To get there from Washington, you drive across the Potomac River and along a parkway that, in the summer, is canopied by lush green trees. Shortly before the guarded entrance to the CIA, you turn off McLean's main road and then down a private lane, passing through brick gate posts adorned with black lanterns and into a grand cul-de-sac. A massive brick Colonial with majestic
March 20, 2006
Hillary Clinton, congratulations. You’re the lucky recipient of a winning political issue, which has the added virtue of being morally important. Send your thanks to Columbia University and the U.S. Supreme Court. This week, the Court unanimously upheld the Solomon Amendment, which denies government funding to universities that prohibit military recruiting on campus.
The Case Against New Ideas
July 11, 2005
Ideas--the idea of ideas, anyway--have always held a lofty place in our political culture. But perhaps never before have they been imbued with such power as at this particular moment. Since last November, conservatives have been braying about their victory in the war of ideas, often with a whiff of Marxian assurance. "Conservatism is the ideology of the future," gloated Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman.
March 21, 2005
THE MORNING AFTER the Supreme Court struck down the juvenile death penalty as a form of cruel and unusual punishment in Roper v. Simmons, the reaction in the Supreme Court press room was unusually scathing.
Out of Africa
February 14, 2005
Melville J. Herskovits and the Racial Politics of Knowledge By Jerry Gershenhorn (University of Nevada Press, 338 pp., $65) Melville J.
Body of Evidence
February 14, 2005
There are many iconic photographs of Marie Curie: Early on with her husband, Pierre, with whom she shared the first of her Nobel Prizes; and, after his death, standing alone with her instruments in the lab. But there are other, more telling, images as well: With her peers--among them Michelson, Rutherford, Millikan, Poincare, Kapitza, Pauli, Bohr, Fermi, and, of course, Einstein--always the lone woman. In a 1911 photograph, she is surrounded by 23 men at the Solvay physics conference in Brussels. In a photograph at Lausanne, she sits, front-row, dead center, between Einstein and Fermi in a con
October 29, 2004
What is present other than all those things--physical, objects, ideas, and sensibilities as well as their traces and fragments--that have somehow persisted into our own time? It is a characteristic, yet peculiar condition of modern life: Even though our world is made up of just these things from the past, more often than not, they have become unintelligible to us, if not invisible.
The Bill Clinton Show
August 09, 2004
My Life By Bill Clinton (Alfred A. Knopf, 957 pp., $35) Click here to purchase the book. Bill Clinton used to tell us that he wanted to feel our pain, even though he often gave us one. In this characteristically garrulous volume of almost one thousand pages, he tells us all about his own pain.
June 07, 2004
After Theory By Terry Eagleton (Basic Books, 231 pp., $25) I. When I attended Cambridge in the mid-1980s, "theory" was sickly ripe. What looked like its fiercest flush of life, the red of its triumph, was in fact the unnatural coloring of fever. Paul de Man had just died, Harold Bloom was preparing his second career as a weak misreader of Clifton Fadiman, Roland Barthes was gone, the Yale gang of deconstructionists was breaking up, and much postmodern silliness among the signifiers was just around the corner.