A Spy for Stalin

In May 1941, Stalin was warned that the Germans were about to invade the Soviet Union. As it happens, the warning came from a man who was—how to put this fairly?—a liar and a drunkard, a philanderer and a smell-smock, a gambler and, in truth, a world-class crackpot. He was also possibly the greatest spy who ever lived, and Stalin’s refusal to believe him lasted only about a month. On June 22, the Nazis poured 14 panzer divisions across the Russian border.

One Exhibit to Rule Them All

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien’s fantasy world Middle-earth had been decades in the making before The Hobbit was published in 1937. An orphan by age 12, Tolkien cradled a pure, child-like imagination his whole life. He began creating the language of his Elves when he was a teenager, he illustrated fantasy worlds in striking watercolor paintings that would influence his vision for Middle-earth’s landscapes, and he began writing lore for the nascent world in a unique, arabesque script that closely resembled that of his deceased mother. Until May 12, these manuscripts, paintings, and other personal items of the author are on view at the Morgan Library in New York City, in its captivating exhibit “Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth.” It has drawn crowds of fans eager to see the genesis of The Lord of the Rings—last century’s most influential and beloved fantasy series described by Tolkien’s friend C.S. Lewis as “a lightning bolt from a clear sky.”

The Lucky Scammer

Paul Le Roux was basically a spammer. A guy who flooded computers with unsolicited email and shady websites offering to treat hair loss, migraine headaches, and erectile dysfunction. Tired of standing in line at pharmacies? Tired of sitting in doctors’ offices? Get the meds YOU WANT online! Online. That was the key. Jeff Bezos saw it and built Amazon. Paul Le Roux saw it and went to jail.