Nikolas K. Gvosdev (NWC): The Soviet Victory That Never Was: What the United States Can Learn from the Soviet War in Afghanistan; and Jihadology: How the creation of Sovietology should guide the study of today’s threats. Thirty years ago, Soviet airborne troops parachuted into Kabul and began a fateful occupation that became Mikhail Gorbachev’s Vietnam — here’s the inside story of how it happened. Bruce Ackerman and Oona Hathaway on what Congress should do about the war in Afghanistan. From NYRB, Pankaj Mishra on Afghanistan and the forgotten conflict in Kashmir (and a response). Karzai's Cronies: Meet the unsavory characters surrounding the Afghan president and his new government. The price of peace: Avoiding failure in Afghanistan means embracing its patronage politics — bribes and all. Renouncing Islamism: A generation of British Islamists have been trained in Afghanistan to fight a global jihad, but now some of those would-be extremists have had a change of heart. Hanna Bloch reviews books on the real motives of global jihadists. Al-Qaeda’s Migrant Martyrs: As coalition forces struggle to withdraw from Iraq and stabilize Afghanistan, an interview with a would-be suicide bomber shows that the Islamist foe remains elusive, motivated, and on the move. From FP, a look at how al Qaeda dupes its followers; and here's the story of how Osama bin Laden escaped. A review of Growing Up bin Laden: Osama's Wife and Son Take Us Inside Their Secret World by Najwa bin Laden, Omar bin Laden, and Jean Sasson (and more and more and more).

From Archeology, a special section on archaeology's hoaxes, fakes, and strange sites, including "Bogus! An Introduction to Dubious Discoveries". The New York Times on the buzzwords of 2009. Seth Godin has made his latest book, What Matters Now, available as a free PDF download. Why The Simpsons no longer matters: An interview with John Ortved, author of The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History. From First Things, Michael Novak on three precisions: Social justice, common good, and personal liberty. MeiselPic: What your Facebook friends might look like if they were super-hot models. In a troubling corollary to the truism that a picture is worth 1,000 words, a new study suggests stereotypical imagery can largely negate the central point of a lengthy text. An interview with Jacqueline Leo, author of Seven: The Number for Happiness, Love, and Success. A review of xkcd: Volume 0 by Randall Munroe. A review of Molly Ivins: A Rebel Life by Bill Minutaglio and W. Michael Smith. A report calculates that American households collectively consumed 3.6 zettabytes of information in 2008. A better question for environmental design would be: "How much does your household weigh?" We don’t need Oprah Lite or Oprah 2.0, we need someone who’s a true Oprah-in-Training, and the only person who can claim that title is Kathy Griffin. An interview with Charles Cumming on books on espionage. The military-consumer complex: Military technology used to filter down to consumers — now it’s going the other way. A review of Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars by William Patry.

And please take advantage of Special Holiday Savings from Bookforum, with offers of 1 year (5 issues) for only $12.00, or 2 years (10 issues) for $24.00.

A new issue of Words Without Borders is out. From The Guardian, what we were reading: Love them or hate them, these are the 50 books that defined the decade. From The Times, here are the 100 best books of the decade. From The Telegraph, here are the 100 books that defined the noughties. From The Latin American Review of Books, a review of Happy Families by Carlos Fuentes; and novelist Cecilia Szperling mines the literary roots of her Confesionario series of reading-performances and argues that these can loosen the straitjacket of good taste imposed on Argentine writers by the ghost of Borges. What Would Jane Do? How a 19th-century spinster serves as a moral compass in today's world. A review of Ulysses and Us: The Art of Everyday Life in Joyce's Masterpiece by Declan Kiberd. This book has no ISBN: A review of Comparing Conrad: Essays on Joseph Conrad and His Implied Dialogues with Other Writers by Paul Kirschner. Not only connected: Brooke Allen reviews Concerning E. M. Forster by Frank Kermode. Thanks partly to his miserable end 40 years ago, Kerouac has lost some of his lustre as a counterculture icon, but that was never what he wanted to be. Christopher Hitchens on Stieg Larsson, the author who played with fire. A funny thing happened in the movie theater the other day: An article on Walt Whitman, denim salesman. The Savage Detectives and 2666 make literature feel like a matter of life and death; Scott McLemee interviews Marcela Valdes, a prominent Bolano-logist (and here's Alex Abramovich's review of The Savage Detectives).

David Harvey (CUNY): Organizing for the Anti-Capitalist Transition. A new issue of Turbulence is out, including an editorial: Life in limbo; and Massimo De Angelis (East London): The tragedy of the capitalist commons; what would it mean to lose? On the history of actually-existing failure; and people from across the global movement explain what they were wrong about back then (and more). From Links: International Journal of Socialist Renewal, an article on recent experiences in left regroupment and reconstruction; and a lesson from Seattle for Copenhagen: Vigorous activism can defeat the denialists. From YES!, Rebecca Solnit on the myth of activist violence during the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle; and Walden Bello on the meaning of the 1999 Seattle WTO protests (and more and more and more). From The Indypendent, from Seattle to Detroit: 10 lessons for movement building on the 10th anniversary of the WTO shutdown; and did the 1999 protests against the World Trade Organization actually make a difference? A decade later, does No Logo still matter? Leftist icon Naomi Klein reflects on the book that launched her career and the pitfalls of being a political symbol. Samir Amin on how the current crisis is neither a financial crisis nor the sum of multiple systemic crises, but the crisis of the imperialist capitalism of oligopolies. From The American, Jeffrey Friedman on how understanding what caused the financial crisis is crucial to capitalism’s future — once we see what really happened, we find a conception of capitalism different than that entertained by either its conservative defenders or its liberal critics.