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The Righteous Road to Ruin

Jonathan Haidt, who believes we are hard-wired to be selfish, mistakes conformity and obedience to authority for the moral life in his new book, “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.”

Posted on Jun 28, 2012 READ MORE


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How to Build a Quagmire

If you’re wondering how $31 billion of U.S. taxpayer money could be lost to fraud and waste in Afghanistan and Iraq, “Funding the Enemy: How U.S. Taxpayers Bankroll the Taliban” by Douglas A. Wissing is for you.

Posted on Jun 21, 2012 READ MORE



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Canadian Gothic

After reading Richard Ford’s “Canada,” you will never hear about a convicted criminal without considering the invisible children whose lives have been scrambled in ways they can’t possibly understand.

Posted on Jun 14, 2012 READ MORE



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Ain’t It Funky

When Bootsy Collins defected from James Brown’s band for George Clinton’s, RJ Smith, in his new biography of Brown, gives us the desertion from Brown’s point of view: “You could not copyright a beat, a smell, the One. You made it and then a younger man in an ass-length blond wig marked it up and made it new.”

Posted on Jun 7, 2012 READ MORE



De Profundis

The central theme of “When I Was a Child I Read Books,” the powerful new collection of essays by Marilynne Robinson, is the examination of the soul and of its central attributes—generosity, caritas, understanding—and of the miraculous presence of these things in the world.

Posted on May 31, 2012 READ MORE



I Can’t Hear Myself Think

In “Republic of Noise: The Loss of Solitude in Schools and Culture,” Diana Senechal argues that the omnipresence of computers, tablets and smartphones hampers our ability to commune not just with one another, but with ourselves.

Posted on May 25, 2012 READ MORE



A Beast Bent on Grace

In Jack Gilbert’s poetry, the mythic anguish of Orpheus in the underworld suddenly seems fused with something very much like the room in which you sit.

Posted on May 17, 2012 READ MORE



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Lights, Camera, Activism

In “Hollywood Left and Right,” Steven J. Ross details the public lives of 10 Hollywood notables who made significant marks on American political history, and posits that it is the Hollywood conservatives who have had a lasting effect on the country.

“Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics”
A book by Steven J. Ross

Posted on May 10, 2012 READ MORE



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Today’s Gulags

North Korea’s most notorious political prison camp is Total Control Camp 14, into which Shin Dong-hyuk was born, narrowly survived and eventually fled. Former Washington Post reporter Blaine Harden recounts his story in “Escape From Camp 14.”

Posted on May 2, 2012 READ MORE



An Understated and Gently Profound Voice

Anne Tyler writes about ordinary, if eccentric, characters and their lives: marriage, sibling rivalry, resentments and losses. Her latest novel, “The Beginner’s Goodbye,” is filled with those moments of recognition that make reading such a pleasure.

Posted on Apr 27, 2012 READ MORE


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