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Tag: Review


Chesa Boudin on Growing Up Radical

What’s it like when your father is an Iranian Marxist and your mother is a Jewish-American renegade and both are devoted organizers for the Socialist Workers Party?

Posted on Apr 17, 2009 READ MORE


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Susan Jacoby on William Goetzmann’s ‘Beyond the Revolution’

The great divide between religion that accommodates itself to secular knowledge and biblically literal religion that rejects any such knowledge that contradicts the Bible is the insufficiently explored story at the center of this Pulitzer Prize-winning historian’s most recent and otherwise compelling book.

Posted on Apr 10, 2009 READ MORE



Troy Jollimore on the God Debate

Is it really true, as John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge argue in their new book, “God Is Back,” that religion and modernity cannot only coexist but actually flourish together?

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE



What You Dig

Here are the five most-read stories of the last seven days, including Chris Hedges on America’s moral meltdown and Robert Scheer on the economic incompetents who find easy employment in the Obama administration. Full list after the jump.

Posted on Mar 27, 2009 READ MORE



Jonathan Shapiro on ‘The Tyranny of Dead Ideas’

Matt Miller, a host of KCRW’s “Left, Right & Center,” has written a book full of necessary honesty and courage—a welcome effort to rid us of the nostrums and shopworn notions that cloud our thinking and constrain our politics.

Posted on Mar 27, 2009 READ MORE


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Norman Birnbaum on Susan Sontag

The publication of Sontag’s early diaries provides a revelatory look at the self-inventions of the late writer.

Posted on Mar 6, 2009 READ MORE


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Donald Fanger on Seamus Heaney

A new book gives us one of the most indispensable poets in the English language whose work mines the terrain between hope and history.

Posted on Feb 26, 2009 READ MORE



Allen Barra on the Myth of Ronald Reagan

At last, a revisionist takedown of our 40th president, portrayed as an empty suit too often lauded by the common people he betrayed.

Posted on Feb 13, 2009 READ MORE


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David Rieff on ‘Africa’s World War’

Why does the Darfur violence arouse outrage but the slaughter of millions more in Congo does not? An indispensable new book by Gerard Prunier attempts an answer by combining cool analysis and scholarly dispassion without losing sight of the horror of its subject.

Posted on Feb 6, 2009 READ MORE


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Christian Appy on ‘Mekong Diaries’

Sherry Buchanan, previously the author of “Vietnam Zippos,”  gathers together drawings, poems, letters and oral histories by 10 Viet Cong artists and offers a radically different view of the fighters whom Americans branded as Reds, gooks and fanatical killers.

Posted on Jan 16, 2009 READ MORE



amazon.com

Andrew Nagorski on the Bolsheviks’ Crimes

There was a time when Russia was an economic power on the rise. Sean McMeekin’s new book, “History’s Greatest Heist: The Looting of Russia by the Bolsheviks,” explains what nipped that growth in the bud.

Posted on Jan 2, 2009 READ MORE


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amazon.com

Chesa Boudin on Colombia’s Civil War

A new book casts an illuminating spotlight on Colombia’s guerrilla war, fueled by cocaine profits and U.S. military aid.

Posted on Dec 26, 2008 READ MORE



Warren I. Cohen on China’s ‘Factory Girls’

There’s a revolution underway in Chinese culture as young women flock from villages to factory employment in the cities, leaving traditional values behind.

Posted on Dec 5, 2008 READ MORE



Richard Ellis on ‘Diagnosis: Mercury’

Thinking of whipping up another tuna casserole? You may change your mind after reading this convincing expose by Jane M. Hightower, a San Francisco doctor.

Posted on Nov 28, 2008 READ MORE


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Regina Marler on Ted Hughes’ Letters

A new volume of the late poet’s correspondence sheds fresh light on the anguish and art of Sylvia Plath.

Posted on Nov 21, 2008 READ MORE


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Ed Ward on Ted Gioia’s ‘Delta Blues’

A new book argues that the Mississippi Delta was the birthplace of what in 1903 W.C. Handy called “the weirdest music I had ever heard.”

Posted on Nov 7, 2008 READ MORE



us.penguingroup.com

Nicholas von Hoffman on Kevin Phillips’ ‘Bad Money’

An insightful book discloses how a confidence game combined pride and cunning and stupidity to bring America to the brink of catastrophe.

Posted on Oct 31, 2008 READ MORE


The Unlearned Lessons of Vietnam Continue to Haunt The U.S.

Governments, like corporations and modern organizations of all kinds, make much of systematically teaching “lessons learned” to those newly arrived to responsibilities, yet they seem infrequently to succeed.

Posted on Oct 30, 2008 READ MORE


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Karl E. Meyer on Sharon Waxman’s ‘Loot’

A new book investigates the illicit trade in antiquities and raises uneasy questions over cultural patrimony, the fevers of nationalism and the imperial ambitions of museums.

Posted on Oct 24, 2008 READ MORE



Simon Lewis on Traumatic Brain Injuries

A devastating and growing problem is explored in Michael Paul Mason’s riveting new book, “Head Cases.”

Posted on Oct 17, 2008 READ MORE


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Does the Cold War Have Lessons for Today?

Carolyn Eisenberg takes a close look at Melvyn Leffler’s “For the Soul of Mankind” to ask whether our current troubles are rooted in a history that continues to haunt us.

Posted on Sep 19, 2008 READ MORE


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Jane Ciabattari on Emily Dickinson’s Friendship With Abolitionist

A new book by Brenda Wineapple sheds light on the little-known relationship of the reclusive genius poet with one of America’s most fervent radicals.

Posted on Sep 11, 2008 READ MORE


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James Blight on the Cuban Missile Crisis

In “One Minute to Midnight,” Michael Dobbs’ definitive book on the 1962 crisis that brought the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation, the question of lessons learned and unlearned remains as acute as ever.

Posted on Aug 21, 2008 READ MORE


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Zachary Karabell on the Middle East

What is it about the region that provokes intense sectarian passions, prompting seemingly endless vendettas? “Kingmakers,” by Karl Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac, tells the story of British and American entanglement and how the modern Middle East was invented. It also offers an exemplary history of hubris.

Posted on Aug 8, 2008 READ MORE


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Kasia Anderson on Barbara Walters

“Audition” details the life story, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes, of a pioneering journalist-entertainer who reported the news while making it in ways both admirable and troubling.

Posted on Aug 1, 2008 READ MORE


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Nikki Keddie on Iran

In “Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies,” Barbara Slavin, a leading Middle East reporter for USA Today, offers a refreshingly nuanced and revelatory taxonomy of power within theocratic Iran that sheds light on its leaders and their ambitions.

Posted on Jul 25, 2008 READ MORE



Illustration by Peter Scheer

Closing the Book on a Proud Tradition

For 33 years, the Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review has brought the literary world to the doorstep of the nation’s largest book-buying community. That era is about to end, a fact that disturbs the section’s former editors who have written this formal protest.

Posted on Jul 20, 2008 READ MORE


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William Pfaff on General Motors

Are workers to blame for the fix that General Motors (along with many other corporations) is in? A new book by Roger Lowenstein argues that they are. He couldn’t be more wrong.

Posted on Jul 18, 2008 READ MORE


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Ellen Garrison on ‘All the Sad Young Literary Men’

Are Keith Gessen and his posse really the voice of the Zeitgeist, the intellectual heirs to Norman Mailer and George Plimpton? Or just the highbrow version of Judd Apatow?

Posted on Jul 10, 2008 READ MORE


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Ruth Rosen on ‘The Populist Vision’

Do the socially progressive ideals that jump-started 20th-century reform movements have lessons relevant to the concerns of 21st-century America? A new book makes a strong case that they do.

Posted on Jul 3, 2008 READ MORE


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Doug Henwood on the Global Power Elite

Are we now ruled by an international “superclass” that hollows out traditional notions of national sovereignty, and whose loyalties are only to the bottom line and its own members?

Posted on Jun 27, 2008 READ MORE


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Richard Flacks on Tom Hayden

For 50 years, Tom Hayden has been an indefatigable organizer on behalf of the disenfranchised, and now, with the publication of his “Writings for a Democratic Society,” we have a chance to trace the arc of activism of an American original who continues to make history.

Posted on Jun 12, 2008 READ MORE


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Gary Indiana on Hobsbawm?s ‘On Empire’

Eric Hobsbawm, one of our most celebrated historians, looks at what makes the American Colossus uniquely dangerous in its imperial overreach at the dawn of the third millennium.

Posted on May 30, 2008 READ MORE



HBO

‘Recount’ Gets It Right, Even if America Didn’t

Leading election integrity journalist Brad Friedman reviews HBO’s portrayal of the 2000 Florida recount and wonders whether we’re not headed for another stolen election.

Posted on May 28, 2008 READ MORE


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Amy Wilentz on Rachel Corrie

The just-published journals of Rachel Corrie, killed by an Israeli bulldozer, reveal her to have been a natural-born writer and a spirit full of intensity and yearning whose lust for life and sense of justice made her untimely death all the more tragic.

Posted on May 23, 2008 READ MORE


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press.princeton.edu

Chalmers Johnson on Our ‘Managed Democracy’

Sheldon Wolin’s new book offers a controversial but ultimately convincing diagnosis of how America’s democracy has succumbed to an unacknowledged totalitarian temptation.

Posted on May 15, 2008 READ MORE


Geoffrey Wheatcroft on ‘Muqtada’

In this first-ever biography of the religious leader many predict will take over Iraq after the Americans leave, Patrick Cockburn, one of the most respected correspondents in the Middle East, provides a dramatic look at a man Paul Bremer denounced as a “Bolshevik Islamist.”

Posted on May 9, 2008 READ MORE


Truthdig Wins a Maggie

Truthdig’s weekly book review, edited by Steve Wasserman, has won a Maggie award. Bill Boyarsky’s outstanding political reporting was also nominated, and we were up for best Web magazine overall. We’re proud to win recognition for our book review, which has featured important work at a time when newspapers around the country are cutting back on their book coverage.

Posted on May 6, 2008 READ MORE


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Jeff Madrick on ‘High Wire,’ Peter Gosselin’s Look at the Economic Meltdown

A star reporter for the Los Angeles Times has written a clear, even elegant anatomy of an economy that is much worse than you probably think.

Posted on May 2, 2008 READ MORE


Rubber-Stamping ‘Failed’ Iraq Projects

The special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction has found a disturbing trend among Iraq rebuilding projects. Far too often, when work is incomplete, U.S. officials will revise or “descope” the terms of the contract to list the project as completed. One example: A $35-million children’s hospital in Basra that is marked completed despite the fact that it’s only 35 percent up and running.

Posted on Apr 28, 2008 READ MORE


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Troy Jollimore on Martin Amis’ ‘The Second Plane’

When the second plane hit the second skyscraper on 9/11, how many of us knew then just how radically our world would change?

Posted on Apr 24, 2008 READ MORE


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John Lukacs on Nicholson Baker’s ‘Human Smoke’

Was World War II necessary? In an exercise in literary hygiene, a distinguished historian casts a skeptical eye at an acclaimed novelist’s revisionist take on the “Good War.”

Posted on Apr 18, 2008 READ MORE


pills
news.bbc.co.uk

Study: Beware of Vitamins

Health nuts, take heed: A sweeping review of almost 70 scientific studies of the health benefits of vitamins and, in particular, those trendy antioxidants, has found “no convincing evidence” of increased lifespan. In fact, vitamins A, E and beta-carotene could even increase a person’s chances of dying prematurely, according to scientists at Copenhagen University.

Posted on Apr 16, 2008 READ MORE


Steve Wasserman on Fidel Castro

What will history say about the implacable anti-imperialist and unrepentant revolutionary who has held power in Cuba for nearly 50 years? The publication of Fidel Castro’s and Ignacio Ramonet’s “My Life: A Spoken Autobiography” helps us understand the man and his myth.

Posted on Apr 10, 2008 READ MORE


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Anthony Heilbut on MaryBeth Hamilton’s ‘In Search of the Blues’

What accounts for the strange need of some white scholars—from the plantation nostalgists of the late 1890s to the “Blues Mafia” of the 1960s—to honor African-American culture by trying to save black people from themselves?

Posted on Mar 21, 2008 READ MORE


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Mark Dowie on Michael Shnayerson’s ‘Coal River’

How a few brave Americans took on a powerful company and the federal government to save the land they love.

Posted on Mar 13, 2008 READ MORE


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Warren Cohen on the Rise (and Fall) of the Neocons

Just who are the “neocons,” where did they come from and how was it they came to wield so profound an influence among the highest circles of America’s policy elites? These are some of the questions asked by Jacob Heilbrunn in his new book, “They Knew They Were Right.”

Posted on Mar 6, 2008 READ MORE


Yxta Maya Murray on ‘Love and Consequences’ Hoax

The author who reviewed Margaret Seltzer’s phony memoir for Truthdig responds to the hoax and answers the singular question raised by such a deception.

Posted on Mar 4, 2008 READ MORE


Buckley
nytimes.com

William F. Buckley Jr. Dead at 82

The father of modern conservatism died while at work in his study. He had suffered from emphysema. Buckley began his distinguished and varied career when conservative ideas were extremely unpopular and managed to build a thriving political movement. Buckley recently raised eyebrows by breaking with President Bush and challenging his conservative credentials.

Posted on Feb 27, 2008 READ MORE


Justice Investigates Itself Over Waterboarding Approval

The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating memos and opinions rendered by the department that endorsed the practice of waterboarding, which many consider to be torture. The inquiry is unrelated to the FBI’s criminal investigation of the CIA, which destroyed video recordings of the waterboarding of suspects.

Posted on Feb 22, 2008 READ MORE


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