JERUSALEM—Warning of Egypt’s possible collapse under economic pressures and the threat of rampant terror, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi called on the United States over the weekend to resume military aid that has been partially frozen because of the political coup that brought Sisi to power and because of alleged human rights violations.
Kazuo Ishiguro is the author of seven novels that are distinguished both by their charm and by the nastiness of their subject matter. His stories are sympathetic portraits of neglectful mothers (A Pale View of Hills), aging fascists (An Artist of the Floating World), Nazi sympathizers (The Remains of the Day), and clones marked for organ harvesting and death (Never Let Me Go). They circle around unpleasant revelations and buried memories: In When We Were Orphans, the hero, Christopher Banks, a grown-up boy detective, discovers that his whole life has been made possible because his mother has been kept in sexual slavery. It makes you sick, when you read it. Then you set the book down, and you think, “What a charming read.”
This moving biography begins with its subject riding on a horse-drawn sled through the frozen beauty of the Ottawa Valley, where his father was the pastor of a small Lutheran church who baptized him in the kitchen sink when his seven siblings were quarantined with measles. It ends with him dying of cancer at the age of 72, with a mixed-race couple whose marriage he had defiantly celebrated decades earlier standing by, the woman crying, “Oh, Father Richard!”
Benjamin Schwartz deserves much credit. Annihilating the claim that terrorism isn’t an existential threat to America, Schwartz’s new book, Right of Boom, forces us to consider what just one atomic explosion might mean for humanity’s future. Even better for a book about public policy, he writes with accessibility for serious readers, neither talking down to us nor assuming that we have technical expertise in his field.