Adiós, Dirtbag

Fidel Castro

The death of Cuba’s former dictator Fidel Castro late Friday was met with both celebration and regret, with a number of American politicians spotlighting the violent oppression of his regime while some world leaders mourned his loss.

The City Beyond Politics

Can a city be tuned like a piano? When J.S. Bach composed “The Well-Tempered Clavier,” he demonstrated that a new process of tempering notes and playing multiple keys at once could make music more pleasing. Jonathan F.P. Rose has written The Well-Tempered City to argue that tempering, or balancing, certain qualities within cities can make urban centers more resilient, prosperous, and harmonious.

How Ambrose Bierce Went to War—and Never Came Back

Ambrose Bierce

How is war reported or summarized to the people back home, in whose name it’s usually being fought? How do they view the actions of those who fought it—or the war in its awful wholeness? These are questions haunting our day, and questions obliquely considered in a new biography of Ambrose Bierce, most of whose output after his soldiering years concerned or was influenced by the Civil War he fought in.

The State Wants to Raise Your Child

lonely child

The state’s intervention into everyday life can be worrisome, whether it’s a new tax policy, a new environmental regulation, or more government surveillance. But it’s something people can usually live with. But in her new book, No Child Left Alone, Abby W. Schachter delves into how the federal government has been meddling in the bedrock of human society: the family.

Herbert Hoover the Great

Herbert Hoover

For a generation of Americans, his name was synonymous with failure. Before the Great Depression was great, it was the “Hoover Depression.” Shantytowns built during its worst years were “Hoovervilles.” Pulled-out, empty pants pockets were “Hoover Flags.” These unhappy memories of Herbert Hoover and his presidency persisted for years after he left the White House—so much so that Mario Cuomo, in his 1984 keynote speech to the Democratic convention, could attack supply-side economics by saying: “the Republicans called it trickle-down when Hoover tried it”—and expect a knowing, visceral response from his audience.