Pulling a Breira

Dov Waxman, a professor of political science at Northeastern University, says he has written Trouble in the Tribe to investigate the “internecine battle” waged over Israel in the American Jewish community. What emerges instead is an apologia for radical anti-Israel Jewish organizations and a distorted image of organized American Jewry as intolerant, elitist, and intent on silencing those who dare criticize Israel.

The Return of Power Politics

The conduct of U.S. foreign policy and the debate it has triggered in this presidential election year form the backdrop for Michael Mandelbaum’s timely and provocative Mission Failure.

Unlike policymakers and practitioners who are immersed in the daily process of advancing America’s interests overseas—some more successfully than others—academics such as Mandelbaum, a Johns Hopkins University professor, have the luxury of observing the policy process without having to defend it.

Double Fault

David Foster Wallace

I am not a big fan of David Foster Wallace. I can’t finish Infinite Jest, his repetitive, sprawling novel in which minutely described scenes never seem to evoke a complete image or create a connected plot, and I’m not particularly interested in his life, which he tragically ended by hanging himself from his patio in 2008.

T.S. Eliot, Poet for a Fallen Culture

Who remembers it? Who would even believe it now, when political thought, for left and right alike, lies shattered in a thousand pieces? Still, there really was a moment, from the late 1940s through the early 1960s, when all the different strands of conservative thought looked as though they might come together into a grand unified field theory—the coherent and whole answer of the West to the claims of communism. And somewhere near the center of it all stood the poetry of T.S. Eliot.

The Intoxicating War Between Science and Tradition

vineyard

What makes a good winemaker? Is it a viticulturist’s arsenal of facts and scientific techniques combined with access to the best fruit? Or is it the villager’s traditional knowledge of picking, pressing, fermenting, and bottling his grapes? It is this concern, which strikingly mirrors a conflict in politics, that divides the wine world. Two new books capture the fractured condition of 21st century winemaking: speaking for the scientific or Enlightenment left is Terroir and Other Myths of Winegrowing by viticulturist Mark A. Matthews; speaking for the romantic, traditionalist right, there is For the Love of Wine by writer Alice Feiring.