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A Unique Face of Evil

“Himmler was the complete opposite of a faceless functionary,” Peter Longerich writes in “Heinrich Himmler.” “The position he built up over the years can instead be described as an extreme example of the almost total personalization of political power.”

Posted on Jan 27, 2012 READ MORE


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No Mickey in This ‘Maus’

Art Spiegelman’s “MetaMaus” is a 300-page user’s guide to his own Pulitzer Prize-winning “Maus” (you know, Holocaust-graphic-novel-Jews-as-mice-Nazis-as-cats).

Posted on Jan 20, 2012 READ MORE    



Europe in Free Fall

In “After the Fall: The End of the European Dream and the Decline of a Continent,” Walter Laqueur explains how Europe’s success in constructing a harmonious community of states actually masked serious social, economic and political vulnerabilities that proved too fragile to bear the world’s most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Posted on Jan 13, 2012 READ MORE



Sin and Sustenance

Lauren B. Davis’ thrilling, polyphonic new novel, “Our Daily Bread,” takes us into a backwoods clan rife with child abuse and incest, and asks the question: “When does another person’s suffering become my responsibility?”

Posted on Jan 6, 2012 READ MORE



Doubts About Eloquence

“The desire to be inspired,” William F. Gavin writes in “Speechwright,” “to be uplifted, to be made to feel deeply, to be swept away, and thrilled is the mark of jaded citizens who have forgotten that the major goal of political rhetoric should be to make good arguments, clearly and honestly.”

Posted on Dec 30, 2011 READ MORE



Jesus Was Lynched

According to James H. Cone’s “The Cross and the Lynching Tree,” Jesus was crucified by the same principalities and powers that lynched almost 5,000 black people in this country. The lynching tree is the cross in America.

Posted on Dec 23, 2011 READ MORE



So, About That Severed Ear …

A marvelous new biography of Vincent Van Gogh asks what if it was untreatable epilepsy that drove him mad, he didn’t cut off his lobe for a woman and he was killed by delinquents rather than committing suicide?

Posted on Dec 16, 2011 READ MORE



The Evolution of Feminism

Jennifer Baumgardner’s new book of essays and interviews, “F ’em! Goo Goo, Gaga, and Some Thoughts on Balls,” connects generations of women thinking about women, from the suffragettes to women’s libbers, from riot grrrls to Lady Bloggers.

Posted on Dec 9, 2011 READ MORE



Corporate Wolf Eats Grandmother Alive

Ellen E. Schultz’s “Retirement Heist: How Companies Plunder and Profit From the Nest Eggs of American Workers” reveals how fleecing the elderly is just business as usual for corporations. If the retirement industry isn’t reined in, she concludes, we’ll be right back where we were in the 1930s.

Posted on Dec 2, 2011 READ MORE



Operation Ceasefire

David M. Kennedy’s “Don’t Shoot: One Man, a Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America” is part memoir, part police thriller, taking us through the genesis and evolution of one of the most promising responses to urban violence and drug markets in the last two decades.

Posted on Nov 25, 2011 READ MORE


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