Race and Urban Politics

The Closest of Strangers: Liberalism and the Politics of Race in New York by jim sleeperw. w. norton, 345 pages, $21.95 Most Americans have the sense that something went terribly wrong in the nation’s big cities sometime in the middle of the 1960s. Since then, urban areas have been perceived . . . . Continue Reading »

Abortion Politics

A funny thing happened on the way to last November’s elections. Pundits who throughout the summer had billed the elections as the first post-Webster “referendum on abortion” increasingly argued, as fall rolled around, that abortion had “faded” as a decisive issue for voters. Some of this . . . . Continue Reading »

A Government for Real People

As a geographer, I learned years ago that my fellow countrymen are not only uninformed about the location of places and things; they are uninterested and, indeed, resentful when someone suggests that it might be helpful for them to know where in the world they are. It took last year’s budget . . . . Continue Reading »

When Families Fail

Perhaps the most striking feature of our contemporary political landscape is the failure of the tattered labels “liberal” and “conservative” any longer to convey useful distinctions. In my own field of education policy, for example, those who get called conservative are in fact deeply . . . . Continue Reading »

Out of the Fire and Into the Frying Pan

Politics, Markets, & America’s Schools by john e. chubb and terry m. moe brookings institution, 336 pages, $28.95 Politics, Markets, & America’s Schools is an enlightening, albeit statistically overstuffed, study of achievement, organization, and the political context of schooling. The authors, . . . . Continue Reading »

The Counterculture's New Mind

The Genocidal Mentality: Nazi Holocaust and Nuclear Threat by robert jay lifton and eric markusen basic books, 346 pages, $22.95 Some books—the detective novel is the most obvious genre—must be read as they are written, front to back. Peeking ahead spoils everything. Others, Hebrew . . . . Continue Reading »

Civility and Permissions

“Who has been handing out these permission slips?” asks a writer of our acquaintance. He wants to know who determined that it is alright again to tell racist jokes in polite society, or to publish columns suggesting, none too gingerly, that Jews have excessive influence in American life. Who . . . . Continue Reading »

Drugs and the Face of Evil

One of the least understood aspects of the drug problem is the degree to which it is in the end a moral and spiritual problem. I continue to be amazed at how often people I speak to in treatment centers refer to drugs as the great lie, the great deception, indeed as a product of the Great Deceiver. . . . . Continue Reading »

Abortion Talk

Decoding Abortion Rhetoric: Communicating Social Changeby celeste michelle condituniversity of illinois press, 236 pages, $24.95 Students of Western thought have long understood the correlation between public discourse, conviction, and practice. Even as far back as the fifth century B.C:. Democritus . . . . Continue Reading »