From American Heritage, Thomas Fleming on American Politics at Ten Paces: Strict codes of conduct marked the relationships of early American politicians, often leading to duels, brawls, and other — sometimes fatal — violence. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: How did these words become the most important in the Declaration of Independence? The answer starts with a small band of motivated Americans. A review of The Forgotten Founding Father: Noah Webster's Obsession and the Creation of an American Culture by Joshua Kendall. Uncle Tom's Cabin changed the world, but is it worth reading now?: A review of Mightier than the Sword: Uncle Tom's Cabin and the Battle for America by David Reynolds. From NYRB, a review of books on the Civil War. Mark Thomas speaks to historian James McPherson about the US Civil War as a turning point in US history. A review of A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War by Amanda Foreman (and more). This Land Is Our Land: How a 19th-century law that "allotted" reservation lands led to the federal government’s largest-ever lawsuit settlement. A review of Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America by Richard White. A review of Dreaming of Dixie: How the South Was Created in American Popular Culture by Karen L. Cox. More on Age of Fracture by Daniel Rodgers. A review of The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways by Earl Swift. The case against "American exceptionalism": Americans have always been proud of their republic — but not too proud to learn from others. When did America begin its "decadent" decline? 4 theories. Paul Monk on the looming reality of American decline. American history, fixed: Exposing some of pop culture’s most egregious historical errors.

Christopher M. Bruner (Washington and Lee): The Changing Face of Money. Bernard E. Harcourt (Chicago): Radical Thought from Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud, Through Foucault, to the Present: Comments on Steven Lukes’ "In Defense of False Consciousness". Putting a value on human and animal life: Australian philosopher Peter Singer and Oxford theologian Nigel Biggar discuss genocide, infanticide, euthanasia, animal rights and God. The Prince Who Blew Through Billions: The Sultan of Brunei’s brother Prince Jefri Bolkiah redefines conspicuous consumption ($8 million on erotic wristwatches?), but the money may not have been his to spend. From Taki's Mag, Christie Davies on Europe’s culture war against America. Keith Ellison, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, on what progressives stand for and how they differ from liberals. 20,000 Leagues Under the State: Beneath the surface of American government lurks a system of social programs for the wealthy that is consuming the federal budget — it’s time for progressives to do battle with tax expenditures. Dan Froomkin on Cass Sunstein, the Obama administration's ambivalent regulator. David Carr on Keith Olbermann, America’s favorite talking hothead. Marvin Olasky is supposed to be a respected voice of the Christian Right — he coined the term compassionate conservatism. Synthetic drugs that use legal compounds but mimic the highs of everything from marijuana to cocaine are proliferating among do-it-yourself pharma labs across the country — bad trips and fatal side effects are increasing, too. Jeremy Stangroom on the most bad tempered preface ever written. America’s Nastiest Lender: These two men helped create the payday loan business that preys on the poorest Americans — Gary Rivlin on the outrageous lives and businesses of Jared Davis and Allan Jones.

The aesthetically pleasing game: Watching sport is an intellectual pursuit — but only if you don't mind which team wins. David M. Carter on his book Money Games: Profiting from the Convergence of Sports and Entertainment. The deepest reason that Americans will never take to soccer is that soccer is not a metaphor for life, it’s a metaphor for Catholicism. Why you've never heard of the greatest sport ever invented. With a handful of baseballs, a few bats and an air cannon, a nuclear physicist and a mechanical engineer set out to bust some of baseball’s most prolific hitting myths. Radically brilliant, absurdly ahead of its time, ridiculously poorly planned, The National changed everything about sports journalism — and torched $150 million in the process. Greg Allen on the greatest basketball team you’ve never heard of. A review of The Big Scrum: How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football by John J. Miller. A review of Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won by Tobias Moskowitz and Jon Wertheim. For the 7-foot set, professional basketball provides more than an occupation — it's a near life imperative; take all that away, and where does that leave the likes of a retired Mark Eaton? A review of A Level Playing Field: African American Athletes and the Republic of Sports by Gerald L. Early. A review of Raceball: How the Major Leagues Colonized the Black and Latin Game by Rob Ruck. Rob Eastaway and John Haigh on the maths of gold medals: Four Olympic thoughts. The physics of cheating in baseball: Corked bats and juiced balls have long plagued baseball, but do they really help a player’s game? Charles Clotfelter on his book Big-Time Sports in American Universities. Is the fastest human ever already alive? Chuck Klosterman investigates.