From Eurozine, while the Great Estonian Novel has yet to be written, the range of fiction in Estonia is sufficiently wide to serve as an indicator of the post-communist country's hopes and fears, anxieties and obsessions. Freeing Theater in Belarus: One company's current-day battle against authoritarianism. Let us now read about famous men: Ina Hartwig on the profusion of new German biographies about great, dead, male writers. From New Statesman, the new wave: Andrew Hussey on the North African novelists at the gates of "Fortress Europe". Don't look down on Canadian literature: Jean Hannah Edelstein used to think there wasn't much more to Canadian culture than Margaret Atwood and empty space. D'oh! From Anthurium, a review of Consuming the Caribbean: From Arawaks to Zombies by Mimi Sheller, and a review of Twentieth Century Caribbean Literature: Critical Moments in Anglophone Literary History by Alison Donnell. V. S. Naipaul among the cannibals: A review of A Writer’s People: Ways of Looking and Feeling (and more and more).
From Philosophy Now, an interview with Randall Curren, author of Aristotle on the Necessity of Public Education; playing nice and teaching good: Carolyn Suchy-Dicey considers the dilemma of teaching moral autonomy. A review of An Introduction to Philosophy of Education by Robin Barrow and Ronald Woods. Schools as scapegoats: Our increasing inequality and our competitiveness problems are huge, but they can't be laid at the door of our education system. The flood waters that submerged New Orleans two years ago also sank the local school district. What has happened since the disaster, however, is redefining urban public education. A review of A Class of Their Own: Black Teachers in the Segregated South by Adam Fairclough. More on Tough Liberal by Richard Kahlenberg. Making the grade: How do you grow a bumper crop of math and science teachers? From Discover, one universe, under God: Creationism battles for the hearts and minds of America’s teachers. A review of Doubting Darwin? Creationist Designs on Evolution by Sahotra Sarkar. From Church & State, an article on the Religious Right's new tactics for invading public schools. A review of The Last Freedom: Religion from the Public School to the Public Square by Joseph P. Viteritti.
From The Nation, an article on John Templeton's Universe: The right-wing philanthropist is pushing the phony science of positive psychology to numb Americans into smiley-faced acquiescence to the status quo. When Malkin Attacks! The right-wing blogosphere whipped itself into a self-righteous frenzy bashing a 12-year-old on S-CHIP—too bad they got everything. Who's afraid of Naomi Wolf? The American intellectual and feminist icon does not believe the Bush Administration is run by Nazis, but she is convinced it uses classic Nazi methodology and that the world should be alarmed. A review of The Death of the Grown-up: How America's Arrested Development is Bringing Down Western Civilization by Diana West. From Taki's Top Drawer, an article on Hitchens unhinged, on Jeffrey Epstein, pervert, and on the neocons and Charles Maurras. From Reason, an article on the culture war on facts: Are you entitled to your own truth?
From Le Monde diplomatique, how to pay for a free press: In a media world with one eye on the bottom line and the other on the official line, it’s getting harder to publish or broadcast anything that doesn’t promise huge sales and attendant profits, and that doesn’t say or show what is approved. But it’s still possible (and more). An interview with The New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg on Bush, blogging, and what's wrong with The Washington Post. The conservative betrayed: Russell Baker reviews The Prince of Darkness: 50 Years of Reporting in Washington by Robert D. Novak. Rupert Murdoch, closet liberal: Fox News President Roger Ailes outs his boss as a Republican-hater.
A review of Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East by Juan Cole. The forgotten reigns that followed Napoleon: A review of The Perilous Crown: France Between Revolutions 1814-1848 by Munro Price (and more). Here's a map of John Bull bombarding France with bum-boats. An interview with John V. C. Nye, author of War, Wine, and Taxes: The Political Economy of Anglo-French Trade, 1689-1900. From TLS, the thinginess of history: A review of Making History: Antiquaries in Britain 1707–2007. The first chapter form The Idea of Greater Britain: Empire and the Future of World Order, 1860-1900 by Duncan Bell. A review of Hubbub: Filth, Noise & Stench in England by Emily Cockayne and London: After a Fashion by Alistair O'Neill. The introduction to Lord Salisbury's World: Conservative Environments in Late-Victorian Britain by Michael Bentley. A review of The Decline and Fall of the British Empire, 1781-1997 by Piers Brendon. The introduction to The Great Naval Game: Britain and Germany in the Age of Empire by Jan Ruger. A review of A History of Modern Germany 1800-2000 by Martin Kitchen. A review of Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy by Eric D. Weitz. A review of The People's State: East German Society from Hitler to Honecker by Mary Fulbrook. An excerpt and a timeline from The Berlin Wall by Frederick Taylor.
From The Economist, an article on why executive stock options are bad for business. Harold James on the perils of financial historicism. From The New Yorker, the blow-up artist: Can Victor Niederhoffer survive another market crisis? A look at the five biggest hedge fund players and just where these new “masters of the universe” spend their billions. The first chapter from Plight of the Fortune Tellers: Why We Need to Manage Financial Risk Differently by Riccardo Rebonato. The introduction to From Higher Aims to Hired Hands: The Social Transformation of American Business Schools and the Unfulfilled Promise of Management as a Profession by Rakesh Khurana.
From The Hindu, a review of Religion and the Human Prospect by Alexander Saxton. A review of A Secular Age by Charles Taylor. A review of The Law of God: The Philosophical History of an Idea by Remi Brague. A review of God? Major Evidence and Arguments for and Against God by Chris DeSalvo. Lee Siegel on why militant atheists are wrong: A flurry of literary attacks on God may also be closing the book on imagination. From Secular Web, was Christianity too improbable to be false? A review of World Christianities, c. 1815-c. 1914 and World Christianities, c. 1914-c. 2000. Jesus Christ Superhero: How characters from the Bible were converted to kid-friendly plastic. A review of The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs (and more).
From The New York Observer, hey, hey we're the Manques! People say we manque around! The imitative triumph of giddy second-raters can be addictive and definitive! So what if you’re not great—you can always pretend. From Vanity Fair, The Simple Life, White House Edition: From the slapstick genius of his China trip to his spitball contests with the press, Bush has the makings of a major reality-TV star. With some image tweaking, James Wolcott proposes, a 24-hour "Prez Channel" could turn the administration's dismal ratings around; and the Man in the Irony Mask: Stephen Colbert has zinged the cultural establishment with his faux-news hit, rarely breaking out of egomaniacal character. A review of I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert (and more and more).
From TNR, Michael Ignatieff reviews Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur by Ben Kiernan (and more and an excerpt). The essence of group conflict: Eruptions of open conflict between ethnic or religious groups have a lot to do with the way communities are geographically distributed. From The Weekly Standard, a demographic theory of war: Population, power, and the slightly weird ideas of Gunnar Heinsohn. Patricia Sullivan, a professor at the University of Georgia, has devised a simple yet effective statistical formula that correctly predicts the outcome of 78% of the conflicts plugged into it. From the Journal of Intercultural Communication, Christopher Coyne (HSC): Culture, Common Knowledge and Post-Conflict Reconstruction.
The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize goes to Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change". Here is the website for the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" and the website for the IPCC. There is also the Draft Gore campaign, and the Snopes.com search of Al Gore urban legends. The prize caps a year of highs for Gore, but "brace yourself for a hurricane of heated rhetoric". And check out RealClimate, "a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists".