From The Nation, William Greider on the future of the American Dream; Barbara Ehrenreich and Bill Fletcher Jr. on change socialists can believe in; the KGB in America: A review of Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America by John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vassiliev and Alger Hiss and the Battle for History by Susan Jacoby; and a review of The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia by Laura Miller. From Foreign Policy, some disassembly required: A bit of creative destruction might be just what the United Nations needs; blue helmets are expected to fix failed states from the ground up, but increasingly, the troops aren’t up to the task; and Paul Collier on The Dictator’s Handbook: A thought experiment sheds new light on why aging autocrats remain so hard to dislodge. Monetarism Defiant: Legendary economist Anna Schwartz says the feds have misjudged the financial crisis. David Warsh profiles Emmanuel Saez, winner of the 2009 John Bates Clark Medal. Is protectionism really all that bad? Noreena Hertz wants to know. Greed for power, lust for revenge, pride to defend: An article on the sixty four chess stratagems. From Harvard Magazine, "you haven't changed a bit": Why we worry about reunions. Marjorie Perloff reviews House of Wittgenstein: A Family at War by Alexander Waugh.
A new issue of the Journal of Social History is out. From The Atlantic, is there a formula — some mix of love, work, and psychological adaptation — for a good life? Joshua Wolf Shenk investigates. From Fortune, a look at how S&P and the subprime crisis hurt McGraw-Hill. Caleb Das on how to save lit mags. From World Affairs, Julie Flint and Alex de Waal on Luis Moreno Ocampo, a prosecutor without borders; life on Venus: Adam Kirsch on Europe’s Last Man; Scott McConnell on multiculturalism and foreign policy; and is the U.S. military profession in decline? Richard H. Kohn wants to know. ROTC Revisited: It's time to bring the military back to elite campuses — for the benefit of the nonmilitary students. Mark Steyn on why "Live free or die!" is still the greatest rallying cry. "Those who can, do; those who can't, govern" — that's the motto of many libertarians, but is it realistic in practice? David Gordon reviews Deleting the State: An Argument about Government by Aeon J. Skoble. From The University of Chicago Press, an excerpt from Madison’s Nightmare: How Executive Power Threatens American Democracy by Peter M. Shane; an excerpt from Black Men Can’t Shoot by Scott N. Brooks; and an excerpt from Bigfoot: The Life and Times of a Legend by Joshua Blu Buhs (and an interview).
A new issue of Resurgence is out, on "Elegant Simplicity". From Psychology Today, in a world where everyone wants to shine, real champions possess a strong work ethic and a certain amount of humility, and they single-handedly alter the playing field by elevating everyone in their midst; and Corporate America pays star athletes and coaches millions to pump up its workforce — do these secrets of success reach beyond the locker room? From NYRB, a review of The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder, Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell, and Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else by Geoff Colvin; why Darwin? Richard C. Lewontin reviews books on evolution; and Benjamin Friedman reviews Animal Spirits by George Akerlof and Robert Shiller and The Subprime Solution: How Today's Global Financial Crisis Happened, and What to Do About It (and more). From New York, a cover story on Recession Culture: Economically, socially, even in terms of brain chemistry, the crash is rewriting the city’s rules. Robert McCrum on the masterpiece that killed George Orwell. From The Big Money, an article on translating the stress test results into English: The juicy bits from the government's report card on 19 banks.
From Butterflies & Wheels, how an atheist spent an evening in the company of a young earth creationist and was nearly scarred for life by the experience; Kenan Malik on reinventing the sacred for a godless age; Edmund Standing takes a look at exactly what the Qur'an says; measuring the Books: R. Joseph Hoffmann on truth claims in Islam and its others; and do religions have rights? Further pages from The Victim’s Handbook. An interview with Richard Dawkins, a towering figure in evolution who skewers creationists for sport. Terry Eagleton on the liberal supremacists: Whether they like it or not, Dawkins, Amis, Hitchens and company have become weapons in the war on terror. From Economic Principals, a review of Busted: Life Inside the Great Mortgage Meltdown by Edmund L. Andrews and Getting Off Track: How Government Actions and Interventions Caused, Prolonged, and Worsened the Financial Crisis by John Taylor. The Last Days of Heath Ledger: To write a conceivable chronicle of Heath Ledger's final days, Lisa Taddeo did exhaustive research, then filled in the rest with her imagination. From Geist, what can the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm teach us about the state of our economic system? Everything. A review of On Farting: Language and Laughter in the Middle Ages by Valerie Allen.
From New York, truth and consequences at Pregnancy High: The education of a teenage mother; and a study uncovered "a popularity premium" that seems to quasi-scientifically confirm what Kurt Vonnegut once observed — "Life is nothing but high school". A Manifesto for the Beautiful Macabre: A review of Japanese Goth by Tiffany Godoy and Ivan Vartanian. Johann Hari reviews John Demos' The Enemy Within and Thomas Robisheaux's The Last Witch of Langenburg. Black and white and red all over: Socialist fiction, feminist theory, even Marxist tracts — thanks to the recession, the classic left-wing reads of yesteryear are back in vogue. Why people who love conspiracy theories are part of the problem: The difference between the millions obsessed with Angels and Demons and the whack jobs denying 9/11 and the Holocaust says a lot about Obama's hopes for a new era of responsibility. True tales from a revolution: The non-fiction classics now hidden from feminist history. From The Guardian, the postwar literary landscape has been dominated by the male giants of American letters, so where are all the women? Elaine Showalter chooses the best novelists writing in the US today (and more on A Jury of Her Peers); an article on a tale of romance by the king of chick lit — Napoleon Bonaparte.
From Parameters, Michael Walzer on Responsibility and Proportionality in State and Nonstate Wars (and a response by Jonathan F. Keiler); and Andrew Bacevich reviews War of Necessity, War of Choice: A Memoir of Two Iraq Wars by Richard Haass. From LRC, where is Michael Ignatieff himself in this new version of the family album? A review of True Patriot Love: Four Generations in Search of Canada (and more and more). From The New Yorker, Jonah Lehrer on the secret of self-control; End-Times 101: Julia Ioffe on graduate studies in the apocalypse; and college try: Hendrik Hertzberg on the President’s campus tour. Health Scare: An article on swine flu and the need for public health reform. Could it be that, in the age of Obama the DC-Hollywood glitzeratti just aren’t taking themselves all that seriously? Chris Lehmann on fun, actual fun! "The Wire" creator David Simon testifies on the future of journalism. From TV bromances to political man crushes, male bisexuality has gone mainstream. A review of The Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing by Mark McGurl and The Writer’s Notebook: Craft Essays From Tin House. Global warming may drown the Maldives, and the island nation’s president is considering relocating the entire population.
From Wired, an article on the 2012 Apocalypse — and how to stop it (and more); American Stonehenge: Monumental instructions for the post-Apocalypse; and to save the Earth, start with data. From Vanity Fair, William Langewiesche on Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger: An anatomy of a miracle; an excerpt from Ted Kennedy: The Dream That Never Died by Edward Klein; and what’s it like being young and beautiful, with a 24-karat pedigree and inherited wealth, in populist, economically perilous 2009? From CJR, Scott McLemee on the resurrection of Hubert Harrison, a pioneering cultural journalist. Is it all over for the signature instrument that is the electric guitar? James Alexander reflects on past glories. From Splice Today, an interview ith The Baltimore Sun's Dan Rodricks; and what if we need blogging? Blogs can replace newspapers — step one: take advantage of the inherent communities. Tabloid trash or treasure? It may not always be pretty, but sometimes it's the way to go. From Slate, the good news: Obama understands what's wrong in Afghanistan and Pakistan — the bad news: He can't fix it. A guide to Salon's investigation of torture, American-style. You thought Guantanamo was bad? Welcome to the U.S. prison system. A review of Cruelty: Human Evil and the Human Brain by Kathleen Taylor.
From Harper's, Jesus killed Mohammed: Jeff Sharlet on the crusade for a Christian military. From New Scientist, an article on five futurist visionaries and what they got right. From NYRB, Gershom Gorenberg reviews 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War by Benny Morris and Making Israel; a review of Island of Shame: The Secret History of the US Military Base on Diego Garcia by David Vine; and a review of books on Madame de Stael. From Swans, Steven Salaita on Cornel West and the ethics of faithful equivocation. From TLS, a review of JRR Tolkien's The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun. From VQR, Ted Genoways on The Future of University Presses and Journals (A Manifesto). From The Weekly Standard, Gary Andres on the Center-Right trap and the limits of ideology in politics. Leon Wieseltier on the end of ideology. An article on Dan Brown, a success story even more implausible than his plots. From TNR, what were the root causes of the economic crisis? Three of the biggest minds in the field slug it out; Bradford Plumer on why going green doesn't mean having to go back to the Dark Ages; and pimp my Rep: Michelle Cottle on Congress, the reality show. The new science of measuring happiness has transformed self-help; now scholars suggest it could transform society (and more).
A new issue of Brevity is out. From TAP, Robert Reich reviews A Failure of Capitalism by Richard Posner, Animal Spirits by George Akerlof and Robert Shiller, Lords of Finance by Liaquat Ahamed, and Plunder and Blunder: the Rise and Fall of the Bubble Economy by Dean Baker; and a special section on five ways of looking a risk. From Mother Jones, a special section on the safety net. A Fond Farewell: Funeral sex may be death's best antidote. A review of Daniel Sperling and Deborah Gordon's Two Billion Cars: Driving Toward Sustainability (and more). What do you do when you discover a colleague is a killer? Murderers might be as ordinary as the rest of us. Why do Republicans only apply the rule of law to Democrats? Page Slaves: Who doesn’t love to let their fingers do the walking through glossy catalogs? By the Book: Even in the Kindle age, the printed page still has its place. Some mothers are so happy to see themselves in print that they don’t realize the portrait is less than flattering. A review of Wendy Kaminer's Worst Instincts: Cowardice, Conformity and the ACLU. A review of Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction by Nigel Warburton. Let’s put all the rumors to rest: Joe Biden doesn’t have hair plugs. Confessions of a coward: David P. Goldman steps out from behind the pseudonym Spengler.
A new issue of Triple Canopy is out, on Urbanisms: Model Cities. Our Better Nature: A new verse translation of Lucretius’s De rerum natura elegantly counters the superstitions of this modern age. From The New York Times, finance experts grade the banks’ stress test. The Supreme Court nomination process isn't about finding the "best" candidate — it's about finding the right fit. From TNR, Marin Cogan on Arthur Brooks, the happiness scholar who wants to save conservatism; and why Obama's stance on nukes makes Peter Scoblic sleep better at night. What else are we wrong about? A look at the danger of nuclear proliferation and other possible fallacies. Obama is Spock: Our president bears a striking resemblance to the rational "Star Trek" Vulcan whose mixed race made him cultural translator to the universe. An interview with Lawrence Krauss, author of The Physics of Star Trek. If we were to construct a PC with similar computational power to our brain, what would its technical specifications need to be? When really big numbers aren't nearly enough: Like ZIP codes and phone numbers, Internet addressing suffers growing pains. Google's goal of a universal online library would be great for humanity — it can still be great for authors and publishers, too.