From Chronicles, Thomas Fleming on counting people and people who count. Putting a price on the priceless: Assigning a dollar value to a person’s life might seem impossible, not to mention unthinkable. But after a wrongful death, the needs of the surviving family often lead to that grim calculation. From Free Inquiry, a series of articles on dealing with dying. Wrong answer: New research finds surprising errors at suicide hot lines. Like putting people on hold. A review of Obit: Inspiring Stories of Ordinary People who Led Extraordinary Lives by Jim Sheeler. A review of The Portable Obituary: How the Famous, Rich, and Powerful Really Died by Michael Largo. Fame's dead certainties: Yes, Elvis really has left the building. We all die, even the famous and infamous. Death is the reality that cuts through all the hyperbole of the hyper-real.

From The New York Times' "Key Magazine", the end of the housing bubble has one upside, at least: we may start thinking of our houses as homes, not investment assets; to attract young, childless professionals, condo builders sell images of parties, luxury and sex—what the buyers get, however, can be a lot more interesting; and if you want to sell London real estate to a superwealthy Russian, you’d better know what your client wants: opulence, security and, above all, secrecy. What price is right? We all aspire to be "comfortable" in life. But exactly how much does comfort cost, and who can afford it? Believe them and you could end up out of pocket: 50 myths about money. A review of The Plenitude: Creativity, Innovation, and Making Stuff by Rich Gold. Barbara Kingsolver on the blessings of dirty work: Try to appreciate the land that feeds all of us. A review of Hack: How I Stopped Worrying About What to Do with My Life and Started Driving a Yellow Cab by Melissa Plaut. I love my work: Work is not a necessary evil. It is, instead, an intrinsic source of pleasure and value. Why have admen lost their mojo? The advertising business used to be the high-pressure playground of visionaries and scoundrels.

From Literary Review, a review of Old World, New World: The Story of Britain and America by Kathleen Burk. A review of Brendan McConville's The King’s Three Faces: The Rise and Fall of Royal America, 1689-1776. A review of For Liberty and Glory: Washington, Lafayette, and Their Revolutions by James R. Gaines (and more). A review of Financial Founding Fathers: The Men Who Made America Rich by Robert E. Wright and David J. Cowen. A review of The Great Upheaval: America and the Birth of the Modern World, 1788-1800 by Jay Winik (and more and more). A review of Edward J. Larson's A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, America’s First Presidential Campaign. A review of Seizing Destiny: How America Grew From Sea to Shining Sea by Richard Kluger. A review of Alexis de Tocqueville: A Life by Hugh Brogan and Alexis de Tocqueville: Democracy's Guide by Joseph Epstein. A review of Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows by Will Bagley. An excerpt from Custerology: The Enduring Legacy of the Indian Wars and George Armstrong Custer by Michael A. Elliott.

From National Journal, the 2008 presidential campaign, the first in more than half a century without a sitting president or vice president in the running, is a wide-open affair; and previously solid Republican states are shifting toward the Democrats, reordering the campaign plans of presidential candidates in both parties. From OJR, an article on viral politics 2008: A look at how social media is changing the presidential debate. When candidates attack: As the primaries get closer, the knives are coming out. A guide to the candidates' strategies for "going negative”. The myth of the rational Iowa voter: Do the supposedly wise and deliberative citizens of Iowa and New Hampshire take their responsibilities seriously? George Bush and the Rain God: Voting records suggest that Republicans should hope for a rainy, snowy day on November 4, 2008. Alan Lichtman on the 13 keys to the White House: Why the Democrats will win. From New York, an article on The First: Female President, male First Lady, and former President in the White House.

From Business Week, a series of articles on the most influential people in the world of sports. A review of War Without Death: A Year of Extreme Competition in Pro Football's NFC East by Mark Maske. [The latest issue of Bookforum includes a review of War Without Death.] From Counterpunch, an article on athletes, violence and male sexuality. The Hypocrisy Game: A review of Fastest, Highest, Strongest: A Critique of High-Performance Sport by Rob Beamish and Ian Ritchie. A review of A History of Drug Use in Sport 1876-1976: Beyond Good and Evil by Paul Dimeo. Bad sports: Why people cheat when they don't have to. A look at the 10 most insane "sports" in the world. A review of Far Afield: A Sportswriting Odyssey by S.L. Price. Pro football's literary lessons: A look at the long shelf-life of last year's real playoff heroes—and this season's questions.

From Strange Maps, a look at the nine nations of North America; and here’s the Texan’s map of the United States. From The Washington Post Magazine, a look at destinations that offer unique insight into the cultural traditions of the United States. A review of Applebee's America: How Successful Political, Business, and Religious Leaders Connect with the New American Community by Ron Fournier, Douglas B. Sosnik, and Matthew J. Dowd. American-style sprawl is adversely affecting the outposts of our global empire: A review of America Town: Building the Outposts of Empire by Mark L. Gillem. An interview with James Carroll on American fundamentalisms. Making sense of dystopia: A review of The Braindead Megaphone by George Saunders. Can't you read the signs? Cars, guns, values, the US Constitution, like a yellow traffic light, their meaning and importance, relative to oneself, is open to interpretation. Tattoos and knitting: Both are discernible microtrends in America—and they contain powerful clues to what’s happening in society. Trending towards inanity: A review of Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes by Mark Penn, and E. Kinney Zalesne (and more and more).

Timothy S. Miller (Salisbury): Medieval Leprosy Reconsidered. A review of Medieval Obscenities. The introduction to Concealment and Revelation: Esotericism in Jewish Thought and its Philosophical Implications by Moshe Halbertal. From Esoterica, a review of Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century by Mark Sedgwick and a review of Stages of Evil: Occultism in Western Theater and Drama by Robert Lima and The Absence of Myth by Sophia Heller. A review of The Secret History of the World: As Laid Down by the Secret Societies by Jonathan Black. A review of Paranormal Claims: A Critical Analysis. A review of The Trickster and the Paranormal by George P. Hansen. An excerpt from The Gold Leaf Lady and Other Parapsychological Investigations by Stephen E. Braude. A review of Will the Vampire People Please Leave the Lobby? True Adventures in Cult Fandom by Allyson Beatrice. A review of When the Impossible Happens: Adventures in Non-Ordinary Realities by Stanislav Grof.

From The New Yorker, a paradox stems from the basic dilemma that underpins the economics of fashion: for the industry to keep growing, customers must like this year’s designs, but they must also become dissatisfied with them, so that they’ll buy next year’s. Slow fashion: Fast fashion is about greed. It’s time to slow down and consider the true cost of choosing quantity over quality. The rebirth of haute couture: Sixty years ago Christian Dior unveiled his first collection to an electrified audience. It was dubbed The New Look and it launched a golden age of design. A review of The Golden Age of Couture. Depending on who is doing the talking, fashion is bourgeois, girly, unfeminist, conformist, elitist, frivolous, anti-intellectual and a cultural stepchild barely worth the attention paid to even the most minor arts, but admit it: You love it—it matters. A look at why fashion's attempts to be taken seriously are treated with ridicule. From Vanity Fair, on the limits of self-improvement: Christopher Hitchens—58, full-figured, and ferocious in his consumption of cigarettes and scotch—gets an unlikely makeover.

From Smithsonian, a hip tradition: The age-old art of hula is still moving and shaking. A review of The Past From Above: Aerial Photographs of Archaeological Sites. A review of Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture by Leslie Simo and Trevor Kelly. Everyone's a “genius”: How is it that Albert Einstein is lumped into the same category as an NFL coach? It’s the year 2053, and the world looks very different from today. There are no more than 5 superstates left on the face of the planet. Playing by the boys’ rules: If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t use the F-word, some suggest you won’t really flourish. From Greater Good, a special issue on gratitude. Intimacy issues: It's hard to be a good citizen when the line between public and private space is blurred. Don't tell—it’s in our bones: If you Google the phrase "culture of secrecy," you'll get almost 140,000 hits: scholarly articles, enraged diatribes, books, blogs, forums. Who wears the mask? A review of Camouflage by Neil Leach. Introducing a recent public debate on humour at London’s Royal Society of Arts, Laurie Taylor discovered that laughter can be a serious business. The Hype Report: A scientific survey of the world's most overrated people, places, and things.

From TNR, Jonathan Cohn on getting HillaryCare right—finally (and an interview). A review of Lying, Cheating, and Stealing: A Moral Theory of White-Collar Crime by Stuart P. Green. A review of The Politics of Abortion by Anne Hendershott. A review of Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa’s Greatest Explorer by Tim Jeal. A review of Rome's Vestal Virgins: A Study of Rome's Vestal Priestesses in the Late Republic and Early Empire by Robin Lorsch Wildfang. From Wired, the celebrated career of gene pioneer French Anderson collapsed suddenly in July 2004 after being accused of molestation. Unionbusting Confidential: To keep out organized labor, you need the union-busting law firm Jackson Lewis. An interview with Peter Adamson on Avicenna. More on My Grandfather’s Son: A Memoir by “angry man” Clarence Thomas (and an interview). Eggheads: A look at how bird brains are shaking up science. An article on Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov, the man who saved the world by doing... nothing. Did Deborah Solomon of The New York Times break the paper’s strict code of ethics? An interview with Bob Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, on making black millionaires, booty-shaking videos, and why he's doesn't need Spike Lee.