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Marriage of Genius

From the March 2020 Print Edition

In the summer of 1970, Elizabeth Hardwick may have been the best nonfiction prose writer in America, just as Jim Hines was the fastest man alive and Joe Frazier was the heavyweight champion of the world. She was the queen mother of the New York Review of Books, one of its four cofounders and . . . . Continue Reading »

Our Socialist Moment

From the Aug/Sept 2019 Print Edition

The Socialist Manifesto:  The Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme Inequality by bhaskar sunkara basic, 288 pages, $28 In the spring of 2019, even the staid old AFL-CIO began to dabble in guillotine imagery. The occasion was a dispute between Delta and the International Association of . . . . Continue Reading »

Shame Storm

From the January 2019 Print Edition

After a lifetime of impeccably correct opinions, Ian Buruma found himself on the wrong side of the liberal consensus in September 2018, when he was forced to resign as editor of the New York Review of Books for having commissioned a piece called “Reflections from a Hashtag” from the . . . . Continue Reading »

Poet in History

From the January 2018 Print Edition

Miłosz: A Biographyby andrzej franaszektranslated by aleksandra parker and michael parkerbelknap, 544 pages, $35 The impression left in the mind of an American reader, after he finishes Andrzej Franaszek’s exhaustive new biography of Czesław Miłosz, is the absurdity that this man was ever . . . . Continue Reading »

Saint Louverture

From the March 2017 Print Edition

Toussaint Louverture: A Revolutionary Lifeby philippe girardbasic books, 352 pages, $29.99The Virginia planter and Fire-Eater Edmund Ruffin, who in 1865 blew his brains out rather than live under Yankee rule, called Toussaint Louverture “the only truly great man yet known of the negro race.” In . . . . Continue Reading »

Tocqueville in the Gutter

From the January 2017 Print Edition

The Art of Being Free: How Alexis de Tocqueville Can Save Us from Ourselvesby james poulosst martin’s, 304 pages, $26.99Alexis de Tocqueville was sensitive about his height, a mere 5 feet 4 inches, but it would have made him feel a giant to see some of the midgets who have followed after him. No . . . . Continue Reading »

The Green and the Brown

From the March 2016 Print Edition

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warningby timothy snydertim duggan books, 462 pages, $30 F aced with the challenge of finding something new to say about the Holocaust, a lesser author will offer a picture of Nazism that resembles his present-day political opponents. In a strange reversal, . . . . Continue Reading »