From Reason, the contested legacy of the most controversial founding father: A review of Thomas Paine and the Promise of America by Harvey J. Kaye. A review of Liberty Tree: Ordinary People and the American Revolution. What does Lincoln stand for? Nearly anything we wish: A review of Land of Lincoln by Andrew Ferguson. Juneteenth: Was the announcement of Emancipation really a surprise? From The Atlantic Monthly, an interview with Jack Beatty, author of Age of Betrayal: The Triumph of Money in America, 1865-1900

From The New Yorker, a revisionist history of the Depression: John Updike reviews The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression by Amity Shlaes (and more and more). Bombings, shootings, and other violence were common during the labor strife of the 1930s, when two unions battled for supremacy in the central Illinois coalfields. A review of Impounded: Dorothea Lange and Censored Images of Japanese Internment. A review of FDR by Jean Edward Smith. A review of 15 stars: Eisenhower, MacArthur, Marshall Three Generals Who Saved the American Century by Stanley Weintraub and Partners in Command: George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower in War and Peace by Mark Perry. From The American Scholar, The Mystery of Ales: The argument that Alger Hiss was a WWII-era Soviet asset is flawed. New evidence points to someone else.

From Bad Subjects, a special issue on Dead Heads of State/Dead Presidents: Symbolic Death, Social Death & Bone-Rotting Death. From Time, a series of articles on The Lessons of JFK. An interview with James Piereson, author of Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism.

A review of Nixon and Mao: The Week that Changed the World by Margaret MacMillan. More on Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power by Robert Dallek. Those Weren't the Days: Nixon has been looking better lately compared to George W. Bush. But in fact he's as bad as we remember. An interview with James Reston, Jr., author of The Conviction of Richard Nixon: The Untold Story of the Frost/Nixon Interviews (and a review).

Long on detail but short on revelations: A review of The Reagan Diaries (and more). The canonization of Ronald Reagan rests crucially on one thing Reagan himself did well: forgetting the facts. It seems timely to exhume a few. A look at why less brilliant presidents do better. The Heroic and the Crass: A review on Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America, 1789-1989 by Michael Beschloss.


From Ethics & International Affairs, Yvonne Terlingen (AI): The Human Rights Council: A New Era in UN Human Rights Work? A review of Globalizing Democracy and Human Rights by Carol C. Gould. Attacks on Amnesty International and politicians show the Vatican is forcing the issue of abortion firmly back on to the agenda. For a Radical Ethics of Equality: What does it mean today to be anticapitalist? Today, left identity is an identity in crisis. The middle classes have discovered they've been duped by the super-rich: Never have so many of us appeared so well-off yet felt so poor - and we used to believe obscene wealth was victimless. The rich must be penalised: Politicians who run away from this basic principle will never have the nerve to achieve true equality. Jeffrey Owens warns of the threat that offshore tax evasion poses to sovereign governments.

From American Heritage, forgotten but true: Japan attacks the American mainland. Joseph Nye on the rise of Liberal Japan. Japan as a Global Contributor: An essay on envisioning an expanded role in a world of militarism, global warming and multipolarity. Japan has rechristened the island of Iwo Jima, site of one of World War II’s most horrific battles, with its prewar name in an attempt to rectify a misnomer proliferated for a half-century.

From TLS, Putin's list: A review of Tony Wood's Chechnya: The case for independence; Gordon M. Hahn's Russia's Islamic Threat; Timothy Phillips' Beslan: The tragedy of school no. 1; and Anna Politkovskaya's A Russian Diary. After Turkmenbashi, Tajikmanbashi: Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov died in December, but Tajikistan's president is continuing the tradition of bizarre despotism in post-Soviet Central Asia.

From Eurozine, ultra-nationalism is on the rise in Turkey. However, following the wave of protest at the murder of Hrant Dink, observers hoped prime minister Tayyip Erdogan would be forced to take action. Instead: nothing. That ought to be no surprise. After all, it is the State and not the government that runs Turkey. And what the State wants, the State gets. In Turkey, the military and the government are engaged in an all-out struggle for power. The country is deeply divided, and decidedly unstable. Turkish writer Ahmet Altan describes his country's paradoxes and warns of the potentially dire consequences. The "deprivatization" of religion has caused strains in Turkey, the most resolutely secular of nations. 

All for one and one for all? Europe is divided on how to unite. In Brussels there is irritation that Poland is playing the "history card" once again. But Germans in particular should be wary of being too quick to judge. An article on France's new foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, a French doctor to cure Trans-Atlantic ills. The French may love their bicycles, but in Paris, only a courageous minority braves traffic on two wheels. Mayor Bertrand Delanoe wants Parisians to consider looking backward. Tidal wave: A look at how Malta fears it may be swamped by migrants. A map of New Switzerland, finally in need of a Navy!


From American Heritage, why does America have such strange borders? A review of The Fabric of America: How Our Borders and Boundaries Shaped the Country and Forged Our National Identity by Andro Linklater (and more). Form Alternet, an interview with Christopher M. Finan, author of From the Palmer Raids to the Patriot Act: A History of the Fight for Free Speech in America. From The Brooklyn Rail, a review of From Welfare State to Real Estate: Regime Change in New York City, 1974 to the Present by Kim Moody. A review of The Second Gilded Age: The Great Reaction in the United States, 1973-2001 by Michael McHugh. A review of Rationing Justice: Poverty and Poor People in the Deep South by Kris Shepard.

From TNR, Benjamin Wittes on the Supreme Court's looming legitimacy crisis. Are we all Legal Realists now? Dahlia Lithwick to: Walter Dellinger debate. One-Off Offing: Why you won't see a disbarment like Mike Nifong's again. From Truthdig, an interview with Troy Duster on the forgotten War on Drugs. From Harper's, would you lobby on behalf of a bloodthirsty dictatorship? Some of DC's most prominent lobby firms wouldn't blink. Prepare to be appalled at the utterly amoral practises of DC's lobbying world as the author exposes Washington's underbelly. From The Washington Post, a series examines Dick Cheney's largely hidden and little-understood role in crafting policies for the War on Terror, the economy and the environment. The 'I' word: Why a growing grassroots movement on the left wants to impeach the president — and why Democrats in Washington don't even want to talk about it.

From National Journal, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., has taken on an increasingly visible and influential role six months into her party's new majority — one that few would have predicted when she first ran for the Senate in 1992 as "just a mom in tennis shoes." From Cracked, a look at the 5 biggest pricks in Congress. From The Ripon Society: The Conscience of the Republican Party, the search for common ground: An interview with Howard Baker; and Bob Michel on the truth about Congressional gridlock; and are Americans overtaxed? Robert Greenstein and Ernie Christian debate.

From The Boston Globe, a series on The Making of Mitt Romney. Republican Fred Thompson aims for blogger-in-chief. Navigating certain lawmakers’ websites can be like stumbling through a virtual maze. Other sites are colorful voyages into a member’s life on Capitol Hill. From TAP, long-shot Democratic candidates are the ones taking a stance on many worthy, yet unsung, policy problems. Time for the front-runners to start paying attention. EJ Dionne on how the "good ideas" that voters are demanding mostly have to do with problems that have been framed by the left, not the right. Jonathan Chait on Michael Bloomberg and the David Broderization of America. Rolling Stone political writer Matt Taibbi responds to questions.


Bronwen Morgan (Britol): Reflections on Governance from an International Perspective. Lawrence Solum (Illinois): Constitutional Texting.  Robert Mikos (UC-Davis): The Populist Safeguards of Federalism. Thomas DiLorenzo (Loyola): Can Governments Function Like Markets? Austrian Insights into Public-Choice Theory. Jacob Gersen (Chicago): Markets and Discrimination

From the Carnegie Council, a review of Law, Politics, and Morality in Judaism, ed. by Michael Walzer, a review of Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny by Amartya Sen and Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers by Kwame Anthony Appiah, and a review of Are Women Human? And Other International Dialogues by Catharine A. MacKinnon. John Gray's apocalypse: A sceptic, a wit, and a very English thinker; is John Gray also the best theorist about our troubled world today?

From Ovi, the attempt to divorce mythos (the imaginative) from logos (the rational) is as old as Plato’s Republic. The risk of that intellectual operation is that one ends up in rationalism, what Vico dubs “the barbarism of the intellect," pure reason rationalizing what ought never to be rationalized (and part 2). A review of Conventionalism: From Poincaré to Quine by Yemima Ben-Menahem. An excerpt from Thinking in Circles: An Essay on Ring Composition by Mary Douglas.

From Edge, Steven Pinker and Richard Dawkins on dangerous ideas. Animal Farm: William Saletan on the recombination of man and beast. Ready or not, here comes the post-genomic era. Here's a DIY Guide to Becoming a (Real) Cyborg. From Discover, relativity passes absolute test: Exacting research finds Einstein was exactly right. From Physics Today, the Soviet launch of Sputnik shook the confidence of Americans in the country's defense and in its science. President Eisenhower convened a meeting of scientists in the Oval Office that Hans Bethe called an "unforgettable hour". Out of This World: An article on 60 years of flying saucers

For 2,000 years, the document written by one of antiquity's greatest mathematicians was ill treated, torn apart and allowed to decay. Now, historians have decoded the Archimedes book. But is it really new? Normally a sanctuary of scholarly meditation, the Vatican Library has been the scene of unusually hectic activity lately, as word has spread that it will close in July for a three-year renovation. An article on the modern librarian, a role worth checking out. A Peculiar Responsibility: American colleges and universities grapple with their ties to slavery. Doing well or doing good? As they seek meaning in their work, MBA graduates are defecting from Wall Street to work for NGOs trying to save the world. Is there life left in the once-rebellious Iranian student body after the ruthless crackdowns of the late 1990s?


From TNR, a review of Ralph Ellison: A Biography by Arnold Rampersad. The Improbable Moralist: Leonard Michaels's fiction captured his evolution from sex-obsessed misogyny to self-identified moralism. A review of Mere Anarchy and The Insanity Defense: The Complete Prose by Woody Allen.

From Harper's, an interview with David Ignatius, author of Body of Lies, a post-9/11 thriller. A review of Tony Wheeler's Bad Lands: A Tourist on the Axis of Evil. Of war, loss and the politics of poetry: An interview with Farideh Hassanzadeh, Iranian poet, translator and freelance journalist. A review of Speaking in tongues: PEN Canada writers in exile.

From The Village Voice, Fashion Victim: Mike Gallagher claims NYU is threatening his famous vintage magazine empire. And he wants some payback. Mega-Branding For MagaBrands: Since magazines are branded to the Nth degree anyways, the next logical step is to brand that branding. How meta! A Fond Farewell: After 13 years and hard luck, Punk Planet bids adieu. The struggle for independents: The bankruptcy of a book distributor sent shock waves through the indie publishing world, leaving small presses like McSweeney's struggling to survive. Can the Internet help keep them afloat?

Indifference at 11: TV viewers are switching off their local newscasts, and ratings are tumbling. The News Counters: An effort to measure how much time news outlets devote to different stories has begun to attract a fair amount of attention itself. An excerpt from Fair and Balanced, My Ass!: An Unbridled Look at the Bizarre Reality of Fox News by Joseph Minton Amann and Tom Breuer.

From The New York Times Magazine, The Life of the Chinese Gold Farmer: How the world of online gaming spawned a multimillion dollar shadow economy measured in virtual coins, 80-hour workweeks and very real money. A review of Gamer Theory by McKenzie Wark. Next in Child Prodigies — the Gamer: Considering everything else that children do obsessively, is it bad for them to play Xbox for money? 

Thinking outside the box: A look at some of the winners in a global competition to have designers dream up alternative forms for personal computers. Steve Jobs in a Box: For all its marvels, the iPhone inaugurates a dangerous new era for the Apple boss. Has he peaked? A review of Send: The How, Why, When and When Not of Email by David Shipley and Will Schwalbe. On one hand, Wikipedia is indispensable; on the other, it's the ultimate resource on things that don't matter.


From Monthly Review, a review of Build It Now: Socialism for the Twenty-First Century by Michael A. Lebowitz, and a series of videos of Lebowitz discussing Venezuela and 21st-century socialism. A review of Cowboy in Caracas: A North American’s Memoir of Venezuela’s Democratic Revolution, by Charles Hardy (and more). From VQR, one more martyr in a dirty war: The life and death of Brad Will. A review of The Price of Fire: Resource Wars and Social Movements in Bolivia by Benjamin Dangl.

A review of Whose War Is It? How Canada Can Survive in the Post 9/11 World by J. L. Granatstein.  From Adbusters, an article on Canada as the United Sidekicks of America: The Stealthing of a Future Superstate; a look at Generation F*cked: How Britain is Eating Its Young; and an essay on Australia as Outlaw Nation: The Lucky Country is No Longer So Lucky. A review of Shakedown: Australia's grab for Timor Oil by Paul Cleary. Rosaries, ovaries and chicanery: A review of Australian Soul: Religion and Spirituality in the Twenty-first Century by Gary Bouma and Acting on Conscience: How Can We Responsibly Mix Law, Religion and Politics? by Frank Brennan.

From Human Rights & Human Welfare, a roundtable on George Soros, the "Israel Lobby" and anti-Semitism; and a roundtable on Mahmood Mamdani, genocide, and the Politics of Naming. Justice and foreign policy: Terrorism is an excuse for creating a fortress state isolated from the world. Marines are getting too comfortable at their dug-in bases in Iraq, the Corps’ top officer, Commandant Gen. James Conway, tells an audience at the Naval War College. What Rudy Giuliani's greedy decision to quit the Iraq Study Group reveals about his candidacy.

Form TNR, what business do Giuliani and Bloomberg have running for president? Michelle Cottle wants to know; and Noam Scheiber on the real reason Hillary's experience matters. From Salon, an interview with Hillary Clinton. There was one statewide race last fall—in Massachusetts—that should have blown any race-based concerns about Mr. Obama’s general-election bona fides out of the water. Will the Progressive Majority Emerge? New polling data shows that the majority of Americans are leaning liberal. How long will it take politicians and the media to get that? Another joker joins the race: Dave Barry is running for Prez!


From First Things, Richard John Neuhaus reviews with God’s Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe’s Religious Crisis by Philip Jenkins; and Grooving on Jesus: An article on the Jesus Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Religion is the nicotinate of the masses: Until the population can replace "god willing" with "people willing" we are all in big trouble. An interview with W. Bradford Wilcox, author of Religion, Race, and Relationships in Urban America. The NAACP's sad decline: The venerable advocacy group changed history with its civil rights leadership — so why does it seem to have lost its way?

From ARPA, a review of The Flight of the Creative Class: The New Global Competition for Talent by Richard Florida. From The Nation, Zyklon B on the US Border: A grim history lesson of what happened in the 1920s when fears of alien infection inflamed American eugenicists; and history is full of examples showing that policies designed to exclude immigrants are doomed to fail. From Radical Middle, an article on liberal vs. conservative vs. holistic immigration reform. The 1.8 Million Solution Jonathan Rauch on a simpler, better immigration plan. Speaking of Tongues: Bilingualism is a huge advantage in today's world. But as a policy goal, it is unrealistic.

Wealth of experience: US business is coming to terms with a world in which international know-how is increasingly important. It's one of those vast social upheavals that everyone understands but that hardly anyone notices, because it seems too ordinary: the long-predicted "cashless society" has quietly arrived. Slaves to the office: Technology promised to bring an end to the daily grind, but it has only extended the office's reach to the commuter train and the home. Now that work is supposed to be "fulfilling", it is potentially endless.

Katha Pollitt  reviews The Dangerous Book for Boys: The book does no boy a favor by resuscitating the Anglo-imperial manly ideals. And what about girls? A review of Medicalized Masculinities. Elusive, but not always unstoppable: People end their own lives for many reasons, only some of which are well understood—but governments should not simply shrug their shoulders. Can the dreaded "quarterlife crisis" be conquered? Actually — does it even exist? Flak mounts a five-day investigation into the angst of being young.

From Psychology Today, an article on The Art of Trash Talk; do young minds and civil society really crumble from four-letter words? Or does cursing play an important role in our language?; and a look at how slang helps soldiers bond and cope with the frustrations of war.


From Mute, far from being a right, British higher education in the age of top-up fees is a commodity with a hefty price tag attached. For most students, write the Committee for Radical Diplomacy, it offers a basic schooling in debt and recasts learning as a down-payment on a dubious future. On track to cause a stir: A history professor and train enthusiast Chris Harvie is now "ideas generator" for Scotland's first minister. Get Sorbonnized: Newly elected President Sarkozy recently announced plans to reform French education, beginning with the Sorbonne.

From Foreign Policy, an interview with Shaul Bakhash, husband of Haleh Esfandiari, director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, who was arrested in Iran. Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is returning to his alma mater, Princeton University, to teach courses on government health policy. Why Antioch Matters: The demise of a unique liberal arts college reflects a series of lamentable trends in higher education.

From Inside Higher Ed, the inevitability of intimacy: Moving to the tenure track means rethinking walls between professional and personal identity; liberal arts colleges are poised to sit out “beauty contest” part of rankings — while backing new way to share information, and as more college presidents drop out of U.S. News' popular rankings, hundreds of schools are helping put together a consumer-friendly alternative (and more and more). A look at how small colleges tip admissions in favor of male students.

From The Nation, the radical corporate overhaul of NYC public schools is draining the soul from education and reducing learning to a series of standardized tests and progress reports; and corrupt college administrators have sold out students and buried them in a mountain of debt. A look at how commercial banks and private firms are dictating who goes to college. Jonathan Chait on how conservative con men corrupt campus. Looking Out for Number One: American students are great at advocating for others, but do very little advocacy for themselves. 

From The Humanist, Encouraging Science: New research suggests that elimination of the "stereotype threat" can level the mathematical playing field for men and women. But does it all add up outside the experimental lab?  A look at how critical theory sucks life from pop culture classes. Education, education, entertainment: Computer games are being developed into specialised and highly sophisticated learning tools. Matters of the Mind: Want something more substantive than YouTube? Here's where to find highbrow videos on the Web


From The Hudson Review, a review of Naked in the Marketplace: The Lives of George Sand by Benita Eisler; an essay on The Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets; With Critical Observations on Their Works by Samuel Johnson; "I've been reading Schopenhauer to cheer me up": David Mason on The Poetry Circus; Street Dance could be thought of as conceptual art: once you’d read a description of it, you could imagine it or create your own street dance by making up your own score. An interview with Roger Kimball on Counterpoints: 25 Years of The New Criterion on Culture and the Arts.

From TLS, a review of The Letters of A. E. Houseman: Volume One, 1872–1928 and Volume Two, 1929–1936; and a review of Police at the Funeral, More Work for the Undertaker, and The Beckoning Lady by Margery Allingham. From Eurozine, while the Northern Irish literary tradition is closely bound up with the experience of sectarian violence, contemporary poets and prose writers defy the assumption that "the troubles" are all there is to the country's literature.

From Spiked, a review of Welcome to Everytown: a journey into the English mind by Julian Baggini; Queuing for Beginners: the story of daily life from breakfast to bedtime by Joe Moran; and Watching the English: the hidden rules of English behaviour by Kate Fox; and a review of The Angry Years: The Rise and Fall of the Angry Young Men by Colin Wilson. A review of The Voice of the Hammer: The Meaning of Work in Middle English Literature by Nicola Masciandaro. Northern soul: Manchester has always occupied a special place in British culture. Could the arts be Tony Blair's brightest legacy as he steps down as prime minister on Wednesday?

The secrets behind the faces: Rembrandt, Hals and their contemporaries on show in London. Hanno Rauterberg looks at how the Venice Biennale does battle against the Documenta in Kassel. There's a lot of hot air wafting around the Venice Biennale. But one thing is for sure: the art world can party. The Art World Goes Provincial: The once-in-a-decade Sculpture Projects is on in Münster — a laid-back show for a town still thrilled by pumpernickel bread. 

From PopMatters, a look at the 50 DVDs every film fan should own. A review of Karaoke: The Global Phenomenon by Zhou Xun and Francesca Tarocco. From Smithsonian, Global Weddings: A look at how "I do" is done around the world. A review of The First Man in My Life: Daughters Write About Their Fathers.  Growing Up With the Girl Sleuth: An article on Nancy Drew and the Mystery of the Changing Demographic. The seven deadly sins of kid culture: One dad runs interference against the worst of children's entertainment.


From Foreign Affairs, James Surowiecki reviews The Improving State of the World: Why We're Living Longer, Healthier, More Comfortable Lives on a Cleaner Planet by Indur M. Goklany. Frank Furedi takes on the twenty-first century Malthusians who think everything from poverty to terrorism is a product of too much dirty breeding. A review of Live Working or Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global by Paul Mason. How the other half live and die: A review of Planet of Slums by Mike Davis. A look at the Millennium development goals: Are we on track? Universal pensions of just $1 a day in developing countries would significantly reduce old age poverty, a United Nations report finds. Does the United Nations have a future? Suzanne Nossel wants to know.

From America, a review of The Challenge of Human Rights By Jack Mahoney. From Human Rights & Human Welfare, a review of Guantánamo: The War on Human Rights by David Rose; a review of The Humanitarians: The International Committee of the Red Cross by David P. Forsythe; a review of Truth Commissions and Procedural Fairness by Mark Freeman; a review of Understanding Poverty; a review of Human Security and the UN: A Critical History by S. Neil MacFarlane and Yuen Foong Khong; a review of The Economic Life of Refugees by Karen Jacobsen; a review of Spatial Disparities in Human Development: Perspectives from Asia; and a review of Challenges to Peacebuilding: Managing Spoilers During Conflict Resolution. The Numbers Guy on ranking the world’s most peaceful nations.

Victor Kattan (BIICL): The Use and Abuse of Self-Defence in International Law: The Israel-Hezbollah Conflict as a Case Study. Could this be the way the Middle East conflict ends, not with a mushroom cloud or a peace deal but with the slow disappearance of the Jewish state? Peter Hitchens wants to know. A review of Preliminaries, S. Yizhar's landmark novel about coming of age in Israel. Girls with guns: In any western country, Maxim's pictures of female soldiers in their smalls wouldn't raise an eyebrow. They shouldn't shock us in Israel either.

From TAP, recent violence in the Palestinian territories means that the goal of a truly independent Palestinian state has became more remote than at any time since the second intifada. The Enemy of My Enemy: Gaza shows that Islamists are as pragmatic as any of us. Suicide bombers are not mentally ill or unhinged, but acting rationally in pursuit of the benefits they perceive from being part of a strict and close-knit religious enterprise. Efraim Halevy on why the Bush administration needs a backup plan for dealing with Hamas. When Democracy Disappoints: Does promoting peace in the Middle East mean defying the will of the people?

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