Search Results for: New-York-Review-of-Books

Robert B. Silvers, Editor of The New York Review of Books: 1929-2017

Robert Silvers
Robert Silvers in 2012. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

I believe in the writer—the writer, above all. That’s how we started off: admiring the writer. We organized the New York Review according to the writers we admired most: Edmund Wilson, Wystan Auden, Fred Dupee, Norman, Bill, Lizzie, Mary among them. Each of them had a confident sense of their own prose, and it meant a great deal to them—the matter of a comma, a semicolon, a word—and it does to our writers today. And so, when it comes to making a change, we should not do it without their permission. If a moment comes at some point where we see something should be improved, we don’t just scribble it in but call them up wherever they are. And that is, I think, crucial.

—Robert Silvers, co-founding editor of The New York Review of Books with Barbara Epstein, speaking with New York magazine’s Mark Danner in 2013, on the publication’s 50th anniversary. Silvers died March 20 after an illness. He was 87 years old.

NYRB announced the news on their Twitter feed today:

Shortly after I started Longreads, I was invited to visit the offices of the NYRB to meet their digital editor Matthew Howard. A man was walking toward the front of the office so I stopped him and asked if he knew where Matthew might be. He politely responded that he did know, then turned and walked back through the office to track him down. Matthew met me with a handshake, laughed, and then asked me, “You realize you just sent Robert Silvers to fetch me, right?”

From a grateful reader, thank you, Robert.

See more stories from The New York Review of Books in the Longreads archive.

'It Will Change the Way We Think About Society and the Way We Do Economics'

Paul Krugman, in the New York Review of Books, on Capital in the Twenty-First Century, the new book from Thomas Piketty, professor at the Paris School of Economics:

It therefore came as a revelation when Piketty and his colleagues showed that incomes of the now famous “one percent,” and of even narrower groups, are actually the big story in rising inequality. And this discovery came with a second revelation: talk of a second Gilded Age, which might have seemed like hyperbole, was nothing of the kind. In America in particular the share of national income going to the top one percent has followed a great U-shaped arc. Before World War I the one percent received around a fifth of total income in both Britain and the United States. By 1950 that share had been cut by more than half. But since 1980 the one percent has seen its income share surge again—and in the United States it’s back to what it was a century ago.

Still, today’s economic elite is very different from that of the nineteenth century, isn’t it? Back then, great wealth tended to be inherited; aren’t today’s economic elite people who earned their position? Well, Piketty tells us that this isn’t as true as you think, and that in any case this state of affairs may prove no more durable than the middle-class society that flourished for a generation after World War II. The big idea of Capital in the Twenty-First Century is that we haven’t just gone back to nineteenth-century levels of income inequality, we’re also on a path back to “patrimonial capitalism,” in which the commanding heights of the economy are controlled not by talented individuals but by family dynasties.

Read the full story

NYRB in the Longreads Archive

What One Woman Discovered About Health Care in the Early 20th Century

“Until then, the Health Department had sought to track down sick children and refer them to physicians, a mostly futile endeavor in the days before antibiotics and modern medicine. Baker decided that the new bureau’s mission would instead be prevention. The city had an established and efficient system of birth registration. As soon as a child was born, her name and address were reported to the Health Department. Baker reasoned that if every new mother were properly taught how to feed and care for a baby and recognize the signs of illness, the mother would have a much better chance of keeping the child alive.

“In her first year at the Bureau of Child Hygiene, Baker sent nurses to the most deadly ward on the Lower East Side. They were to visit every new mother within a day of delivery, encouraging exclusive breast-feeding, fresh air, and regular bathing, and discouraging hazardous practices such as feeding the baby beer or allowing him to play in the gutter. This advice was entirely conventional, but the results were extraordinary: that summer, 1,200 fewer children died in that district compared to the previous year; elsewhere in the city the death rate remained high.”

How Sara Josephine Baker revolutionized medical care through her work in the New York City Health Department in the early 20th Century. She chronicled her experiences in a memoir, Fighting for Life. Read more from the New York Review of Books.

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[Fiction]

“It just doesn’t make sense,” she said. “I mean, my sisters get pregnant looking at a cologne ad. They get pregnant in pollen season.”

For six months they had been trying to conceive, and still her period was as regular as the tide. She decided to see a doctor. He told her it would be a waste of money, that the fertility counselor would probably recommend treatments linked to uterine cancer. He went into obscure specifics about the effect of fertility drugs on “weak hydrogen bonds” in the DNA molecule. She listened because he was a very intelligent person who knew more than she did about most things, but in the end she arranged an appointment anyway. To her surprise, the fertility counselor told her that drugs were not necessary. Her hormone levels were fine, and her ovarian reserve was well above the baseline for her age.

“Post-Darwinian Experiments in Consciousness and Other Stories.” — Wells Tower, paintings by John Currin, The New York Review of Books

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