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Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2008

John Updike and the world

On page 10 of Due Considerations: Essays and Criticism (Knopf), John Updike makes it clear that he’s reluctant to be “a subject of extended biographical treatment,” wherein “some callow inquisitor interprets his life.” At age 75, the elegantly reserved Pennsylvania Dutchman says that “a fiction writer’s . . .
Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008

(National Geographic), by Jean-Pierre Isbouts

Civilization first stirred in the Fertile Crescent. It was also the birthplace of three of the world’s major religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Biblical World: An Illustrated Atlas may be a slightly misleading title. It includes maps but is no atlas and . . .
Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008

Germany on the brink

You could almost suppose that Germany had no past before 1933, so massively does the Third Reich overwhelm popular thought and historical writing about the country. But it does, and one of the most interesting periods is the one immediately preceding . . .
Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008

Book Preview

Despite the discouraging consensus that the hand of fate is heavy and immovable, how many of us daydream about what we may have done differently if we could go back in time?
Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2008

Book Preview

One can hardly say the words “hippie commune” without a hazy fog of associations clouding up one’s judgment. Woodstock, Haight-Ashbury and the Summer of Love are a few of the luminaries swirling around in that tripped-out constellation.
Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2008

Book Review

Between the saber-rattling “liberalism” of Thomas Friedman, the gas-guzzling “conservatism” of Billy Kristol and the smug, self-righteousness of George W. Bush’s favorite atheist, Christopher Hitchens, intellectual discourse in the public sphere is in a sorry state nowadays.

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