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Iraq and Afghanistan on Stage

“Acts of War: Iraq and Afghanistan in Seven Plays,” edited by Karen Malpede, Michael Messina and Bob Shuman, steps into the moral vacuum left by politicians, corporations and religious leaders.

Posted on Sep 2, 2011 READ MORE


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Happy 50th, ‘Catch-22’

Joseph Heller’s brilliant satire on the absurdities of war and bureaucracy has hit the half-century mark. Commemorating the anniversary are the first full-scale biography of the novelist and a more personal project by his daughter.

Posted on Aug 26, 2011 READ MORE



The Con’s on David Mamet

The author-playwright-filmmaker’s most recent book, “The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture,” is an irrational and reactionary diatribe about what’s wrong with liberals. Humorless too. Talk about a loss for America.

Posted on Aug 18, 2011 READ MORE



The Head of the Dragon

Beijing in summer 2008 was in the whirl of pre-Olympics madness, and Tom Scocca’s “Beijing Welcomes You” recounts the absurdities and peculiarities of an ancient city caught between its past and its future as the capital of an emerging global power.

Posted on Aug 12, 2011 READ MORE



The Examination of Evil

Psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton’s new book is more a professional than a personal memoir. “Witness to an Extreme Century” is structured around the four topics that have occupied him most: thought reform, Hiroshima survivors, Vietnam veterans, and the Nazi doctors.

Posted on Aug 4, 2011 READ MORE



‘Lost Horizon’ for American Ovaries

Ann Patchett’s sixth novel, “State of Wonder,” poses a provocative question: If, ladies, you could preserve your fertility into your 50s, 60s or even later, would you?

Posted on Jul 28, 2011 READ MORE



A Whoremonger’s Tumble Into Love

David Schmahmann, in the era of Spitzer, Edwards, Weiner and Schwarzenegger, has written a novel about a powerful man who risks his reputation and career for illicit sex and ends up in an unlikely relationship with a Bangkok bar girl. “The Double Life of Alfred Buber” may in some ways feel like a mystery novel, but it’s much more than that.

Posted on Jul 21, 2011 READ MORE



‘Midnight’ and the Meaning of Trust

Fiction is supposed to provide escape. Action/adventure romances are written for youthful readers and the young at heart, but Sister Souljah makes several choices as an author in her new novel, “Midnight and the Meaning of Love,” that make it difficult to trust her.

Posted on Jul 14, 2011 READ MORE



‘Tiger Trap’: 21st Century Espionage

For decades during the Cold War, the most captivating spy-vs.-spy battle was the one waged between Moscow and Washington. With the rise of China, a new player has entered the game.

Posted on Jun 30, 2011 READ MORE



American Artists in Paris

“Not all pioneers,” writes David McCullough, “went west.” Thus he establishes his theme, the intellectual frontier mentality that drove countless Americans to brave the rigors of a sea voyage and an alien culture to imbibe the Old World charm and history of Paris.

Posted on Jun 23, 2011 READ MORE


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