Paul Rahe uniquely combines the chops of a professional historian with a masterly grasp of political philosophy. He is also a shrewd analyst of human character. These talents came together in his splendid studies of Anglo-American republicanism.
Joel Whitney opens his Finks: How the CIA Tricked the World’s Best Writers with a telling anecdote. It’s 1966. A paranoid Harold Humes, co-founder of The Paris Review, is living alone in London.
Amid the cacophony of the past year, one paean to improvised order emerged from the pen of music critic Ted Gioia. That book, How to Listen to Jazz, deserves your undivided engagement. Ultimately, Gioia tells you not only how to listen to jazz, but why.
In a despairing age, Cohen also makes a case for optimism about the United States’s economic, academic, demographic, and, military prospects.
It was just over twenty years ago that the physicist Alan Sokal pulled off his famous hoax—writing a mock paper on how the physical universe is just a social construct and sending it to Social Text, a hipster academic journal. Social Text, of course, published the absurd thing.
Nicholas Carr’s newest anti-Internet book, after his Pulitzer Prize finalist The Shallows, is a contradiction in terms.
As a teenager, David Hajdu owned a large collection of “nearly unplayable” 45s that his mother acquired for him from the jukebox at the diner where she was a waitress. One of his favorites was Tommy James and the Shonells’ “Hanky Panky,” which he “treasured as the filthiest thing I had ever encountered.” Working as a music journalist three decades later, he had the chance to interview Romano Mussolini, the jazz pianist and son of Benito, who, he said, “had a standing order for Blackshirt troops to confiscate any 78 rpm records that they found in enemy encampments.” Il Duce “didn’t care for” the American swing music his troops were pilfering on his son’s behalf, but he was happy to pass the records along because “he knew they would give me happiness.”
If you’re male and 18 and waiting anxiously for what you hope will be your acceptance at a prestigious coastal liberal arts college or university, the authors of “The Campus Rape Frenzy” would undoubtedly have two words for you if you do get in: Don’t go.
One of the most fundamental philosophical questions in the past few hundred years is whether our rights exist naturally or whether they are granted to us by the state.
The cathedrals scattered across the countryside “remain what they were a thousand years ago,” writes Simon Jenkins: “the closest England has come to the sublime.”