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Private Faces in Public Places

If the stature of a poet is measured by how well his words stick in the reader’s mind and refurbish our language, then W. H. Auden is one of the dominant English voices of the twentieth century. It is ironic that he came to “loathe” (his word) some of his best-remembered work. The most . . . . Continue Reading »

How to Lose a Cold War
(and Why)

North by Northwest’s style is so impeccable, its tone so effervescent, that many viewers fail to grasp the film’s seriousness. Ernest ­Lehman, the screenwriter, did not help when he described the film as an insubstantial caper in the vein of James Bond, “something that has wit, . . . . Continue Reading »

Big Julie

James Boswell, who knew a thing or two about hero worship, called Julius Caesar “the greatest man of any age.” Alexander Hamilton told Thomas Jefferson that Caesar was “the greatest man who ever lived.” Theodor Mommsen, in his History of Rome, called Caesar “the sole creative genius . . . . Continue Reading »

First Buds of the Church

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are over now, but the melodies linger on—not only for those who observe the full twelve days of Christmastide, but also for others for whom the season has been mostly about lots of good food, good cheer, and the feel-good sentimentality of “God's in his heaven, . . . . Continue Reading »

On Rescuing Syrian Christians

A nice piece by Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post, on the efforts of Lord George Weidenfeld, a British Jew, to save some Syrian Christians. Weidenfeld was himself rescued by Christians in 1938. A British Protestant group brought him to London from Vienna, thus saving him from the Holocaust. . . . . Continue Reading »

What Have We Learned From the Iraq War?

Knowing what we know now,” would you have invaded Iraq? Jeb Bush stumbled over this question. His answer focused on whether Saddam Hussein's regime had active programs for weapons of mass destruction. But the mistakes relating to WMDs are neither the only, nor the most currently relevant, of the . . . . Continue Reading »

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