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The Fall of Dr. Raoult

From the December 2021 Print Edition

Nothing stimulates the emergence of a guru like a crisis, especially one to which the correct response is far from clear. People want simple, reassuring answers. They eagerly suspend their critical faculties; their wishes are father to their beliefs. A good guru can transform the proudest skeptic . . . . Continue Reading »

Identity as Ideology

From the February 2020 Print Edition

Like many persons possessing limited insight into the future, I had supposed that, with the collapse of the Soviet Empire, utopianism would die out in the Western world. I was mistaken. Identity politics in the West is veering in the direction of totalitarianism. A book I read . . . . Continue Reading »

France Fractured

From the December 2019 Print Edition

Living between Britain and France, I am often surprised by how little each country looks to the other. They are separated by a narrow stretch of water, but they might as well be antipodes as far as commentators in each are concerned. Many of their social and political problems are so similar, and . . . . Continue Reading »

Crimes in Concrete

From the June/July 2019 Print Edition

Making Dystopia:  The Strange Rise and Survival of Architectural Barbarism by james stevens curl oxford, 592 pages, $60 In a recent debate in Prospect magazine on the question of whether modern architecture has ruined British towns and cities, Professor James Stevens Curl, . . . . Continue Reading »

Rare and Common Sense

From the November 2017 Print Edition

Simon Leys:  Navigator Between Worlds by philippe paquet translated by julie rose la trobe, 720 pages, $59.99 It is a curious fact that Communist dictatorships were at their most popular among Western intellectuals while they still had the courage of their brutality. Once they settled down to . . . . Continue Reading »

The Necessity of Judgment

From the October 2017 Print Edition

Montaigne: A Lifeby philippe desantranslated by steven rendall and lisa nealprinceton, 832 pages, $39.95 When faced with a biography that could as well stop a door as fill a shelf, one’s first question is always, “Does the subject merit this exhaustive treatment?” There are a few historical . . . . Continue Reading »

The Brothers Grim

From the June/July 2010 Print Edition

Hitch-22 by christopher hitchens twelve, 448 pages, $26  The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith by peter hitchenszondervan, 224 pages, $22 Anyone with a sibling knows that a background and DNA in common do not guarantee a complete coincidence of views. Thus, it is not in . . . . Continue Reading »