Confucius said, “Study the past if you would define the future.” A good place to start is this newly translated biography of Hitler.
The history of swearing is more than just an evolution of social mores — it’s also a politically charged narrative at the “intersection of anger and gaiety.”
Bill McKibben’s review of the new David Sax book, The Revenge of Analog, is itself a great read on the virtues and affectations newly-hip analog items — Moleskins, Scrabble boards, vinyl records.
“No one will be safe until many, many more have died.” In a dispatch from Manila, James Fenton describes the current war on drugs in the Philippines and two types of killings: “buy-bust” operations and EJKs, or extrajudicial killings.
Diane Ravitch on the future of charter schools and public schools under President-Elect Trump.
Russian emigree Masha Gessen, author of The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin, offers sobering pointers on how to survive under—and stand in uncompromising resistance to—the rule of a totalitarian autocrat.
As big a musical figure as James Brown is, it’s hard for some of us to appreciate how much Brown defined the 1960s while avoiding being contained by them. A non-traditional book eschews standard biography in order to make sense of the complex, contradictory, lingering genius of the Godfather of Soul ─ Mr. Dynamite himself ─ without expecting all the answers.
“When everyone’s building a fence, isn’t it a true fool who lives out in the open?” Zadie Smith reflects on post-Brexit Britain.
Ours is an era of anxiety: fear of terrorism, fear of climate change, fear of gun violence and police shootings and mass shootings and the current high stakes presidential election. Add to that the extreme risk even a small scale nuclear attack poses to our society, and the historical paranoia, politics and economics that got us here.
“Virginia Woolf’s serious joke that “on or about December 1910 human character changed” was a hundred years premature. Human character changed on or about December 2010, when everyone, it seemed, started carrying a smartphone.”