Joshua Alvarez

  • politics January 24, 2017

    Two Days Down: A Dispatch from the Inauguration and Women’s March in DC

    If the Republican National Convention—with its blood-chilling chants of “Lock her up!” reverberating off stadium ceilings, and vendors selling shirts reading “Trump That Bitch!” like hotcakes—was a revivalist megachurch concert from hell, Inauguration Day had the feeling of a quiet, solemn Easter Sunday. There were no chants, no celebratory posters. Trump supporters walked to the National Mall in small groups, speaking in almost hushed voices, as if they were heading to mass. Hawkers selling inauguration memorabilia at times seemed reluctant to shout out their prices, for fear of disturbing

  • culture December 09, 2016

    Toussaint Louverture: A Revolutionary Life by Philippe Girard

    In 1840, soon after Napoleon Bonaparte's spectacular rise and fall, the always-provocative Scottish historian Thomas Carlyle declared, "The History of the world is but the Biography of great men": Individual heroes who changed the world through sheer willpower, charisma, or exceptional virtue. Carlyle's pantheon included Napoleon, as well as Luther, Shakespeare, Cromwell, and others. The "Great Man" theory of history launched a public debate, one Carlyle would ultimately lose to Herbert Spencer and his enduring thesis that even "great men" must be understood as products of their society.

    In

  • politics July 22, 2016

    Off-Camera at the RNC

    This year’s Republican National Convention, perhaps more than any previous one, brought incongruous segments of American society into close quarters. I didn't have much in common with most of the people I met, but I did have one thing in common with the folks below: All of us were, in our own ways, outsiders.

    On the last day of the RNC, just outside “the perimeter” of the Quicken Loans Arena, inside a mall next to the Residence Inn, I met Danny, fifty, from Illinois and Mike, fifty-three, from Wisconsin. They were trying out different insults for “lyin,’ cryin’ Ted" Cruz. Both had been avid