From The Caravan, a special issue on India in Afghanistan: Nation building or proxy war; and a cover story on how forty-five years ago, a joint Indo-US espionage mission lost five kilograms of plutonium in the Himalayas — it’s still missing, but the government has decided to ignore the ongoing threat. India's is a love-hate relationship with America — its democracy, culture, universities hold us in thrall; its bullying repels us. India has been grappling with a heightened threat perception on its borders with China, and complex preparations for a war that may not happen. An interview with Arundhati Roy: Is she a traitor to India or a fearless freedom fighter? VK Shahikumar sounds an early warning on a new kind of Muslim fundamentalism taking root in Kerala, a once secular state. A look at how archaeology and tourism have become handmaidens of Hindutva. An article on the afterlife of Subhas Chandra Bose, India’s fascist leader. Behind the rise of Mahatma Gandhi was a little-recognized team of followers he carefully recruited. A tale of two Indias: The hope that economic success would somehow transform old mindsets and lead to real changes in social behaviors is far from being fulfilled. A review of Mahabarata in Polyester: The Making of the World's Richest Brothers and Their Feud by Hamish McDonald. A rash of medals at the Delhi Commonwealth Games may create an impression that India has become a sports power — not so soon. The NBA awaits Satnam Singh Bhamara from India, so big and athletic at 14.
A new issue of Church and State is out. Having fun in thinking about extraterrestrials is usually bound up with something deeper right here on the home planet. A review of A Short History of Celebrity by Fred Inglis. A review of Zero-sum World: Politics, Power and Prosperity After the Crash by Gideon Rachman. A review of The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter In A Distracted Time by David L. Ulin. From NYRB, a review of Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder and Stalin’s Genocides by Norman M. Naimark. What is my dog trying to tell me? Sue Alexander on decoding your dog’s body language. The Truth about Ikea book claims to dismantle company's price promises. After 26 years writing Harper’s Notebook, Lewis Lapham is packing up his pencil. A review of Jean-Paul Sartre and the Jewish Question: Anti-antisemitism and the Politics of the French Intellectual by Jonathan Judaken. Are traditional promotion methods as good as promoting people at random? This little piggy went to market: As more consumers demand ethically-produced meat, can boutique butchers really feed a population? The comic book Tintin in the Congo has been charged with racism in a Brussels court for its display of colonial attitudes from the 1930s; Morten Harper re-reads "countercultural" Norwegian comics and reveals how there, too, humour functions at the expense of minorities.
From the Center for American Progress, a special report on The Power of the President: Concentrating on executive powers presents a real opportunity for the Obama administration to turn its focus away from a divided Congress and the unappetizing process of making legislative sausage. Dan Froomkin on how Obama can pursue an ambitious agenda without Congress's help. A review of Bought and Paid For: The Unholy Alliance Between Barack Obama and Wall Street by Charles Gasparino. Still the best Congress money can buy: Two years after the economic meltdown, most Americans now recognize a caste system where everyone remains (at best) mired in economic stasis except the very wealthiest sliver. Let’s try to get more precise: America’s super rich aren’t "buying" our elections, they’re making an "investment" in prosperity — their own. Ezra Klein on the political psychology of Mitch McConnell — and the rest of us. Destroying the Village: Just how far will Republicans go in opposing Obama? John Dean on the Tea Party's apparent willingness to shut down the federal government and what the consequences may be. A review of The Whites of Their Eyes: the Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle Over American History by Jill Lepore. An interview with Matt Taibbi on deluded Tea Partiers, Ayn Rand and how the U.S. is like the Soviet Union (and more and more on Griftopia). Why do Americans keep getting suckered by right-wing lies?
From Daedalus, a special issue on the financial crisis and economic policy, including an introduction by Benjamin M. Friedman and Robert M. Solow, Luigi Zingales (Chicago): Learning to Live with Not-so-efficient Markets; Barry Eichengreen (UC-Berkeley): International Financial Regulation After the Crisis; Peter Temin (MIT): The Great Recession and the Great Depression; and Robert Hall (Stanford): Fiscal Stimulus. From Cato Unbound, Bruce Cain on the case for semi-disclosure of electoral contributions. Every day something of significance occurs, but nothing remarkable had happened on April 11, 1954, the most uneventful and boring day of the 20th century. Why do we call it 9/11? Rodney Clapp wants to know. Brad DeLong on the Four Horsemen of the Teapocalypse: Meet the dead thinkers who defined 2010. From Ctheory, an interview with Annalee Newitz, editor-in-chief of io9.com ("Annalee Newitz leads a life your average geek dreams about"), on the relationship between science and the humanities, "high" culture and "low" culture, and about what makes the future so interesting. The Essential Guide to Male Muses: From teen heartthrobs to English dandies, these 25 guys prove that inspiration is gender-blind. Elvin Lim on why racial profiling is like affirmative action. Christopher Hitchens is in search of the Washington novel: A colorful genre awaits its masterpiece.
From Outskirts, a special issue on maternity. Melissa B. Jacoby (UNC): Credit for Motherhood. The UN has made improving maternal health a major goal for 2015, but progress has been slow despite good science on what makes motherhood safer. From UN Dispatch, here are the top three things we’re not doing to save mothers’ lives; and Alanna Shaikh on the powerful pull of motherhood. Regan Penaluna introduces Damaris Masham (1659-1708) on the power of motherhood. The practice of mindfulness is quite different when your life is not under normal control — as in new motherhood — but it can be vital to your well-being. A review of Mothers and Others: The Evolution of Mutual Understanding by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy. A review of Mom: The Transformation of Motherhood in Modern America by Rebecca Jo Plant. Read this book if the idea of having kids makes you nervous: A review of The Monster Within: The Hidden Side of Motherhood by Barbara Almond (and more and more). Erica Jong on the madness of modern motherhood, a prison for modern women. Newborns make the worst roommates: Kerry Clare is about as honest as they come — refusing to impart a narrative of blissful motherhood and other mommy cliches, Clare tells the story of the birth of her daughter Harriet. Primatologist Dario Maestripieri discovers the social factors responsible for maternal infanticide. Dads get blue, too: The problem of postpartum depression in fathers.