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Wednesday, April 16 2014

Bruce Springsteen’s Artful Criticism of American Culture

This is an ambitious undertaking, weaving American history, popular culture, and Bruce Springsteen’s music into a cohesive narrative.


Cayenne Pepper Enemas and Other Developments in Early Medicine

From applying leeches to mapping the shape of the human skull, Erik Janik describes a drama of medical history in Marketplace of the Marvelous.


Tuesday, April 15 2014

Stuffed, Wired, and Eager to Please: ‘Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy’

Walter Potter crafted hundreds of animals, amphibians, and birds into intricately assembled Victorian dioramas for the delight of his fellow Britons.


Monday, April 14 2014

A ‘Simulacrum of Life’ in Words: Marcel Theroux’s ‘Strange Bodies’

In this thoughtful, entertaining novel, Marcel Theroux explores the ways in which we construct 'a workable self out of all the dissonant parts.'


Making Sense of Nonsense and ‘Assembling Flann O’Brien’

Given Brian O'Nolan and his sly guises, one must wonder what this erudite satirist makes of this posthumous tribute to his tetchy talents.


Friday, April 11 2014

Off Course by Michelle Huneven

If you haven't yet read a Michelle Huneven novel, what are you waiting for?


Thursday, April 10 2014

Kenneth Calhoun’s ‘Black Moon’ Will Keep You Awake

At first glance, Black Moon might appear to be just another variation of the zombie theme, but it isn't: this novel is written for adults.


Loss of Faith But Not Loss of Interest in God: ‘The Theology of Samuel Beckett’

In his publisher John Calder's view, Samuel Beckett retreats in his later texts, as did God from Genesis.


Wednesday, April 9 2014

‘Vernon Downs’ Is a Darkly Thoughtful Novel

Smart, stylish, and more than a little sad, Vernon Downs gives readers a lot to think about.


The FBI, MI5, the State Department and Paul Robeson

Paul Robeson was a powerful singer and orator whose towering intellect and strong beliefs in the dignity of all mankind may have cost him his reputation and career.


Tuesday, April 8 2014

Is There Life Beyond the Wall of Your Cubicle?

Cubed considers how lonely crowds, power elites, hidden persuaders, and organization men in gray flannel suits collude to lock up Americans in conforming cages.


On Little Feat and One of the Great Mismatches in Rock Journalism

Little Feat's place in rock 'n' roll history is undeniable, as is Ben Fong-Torres' role as a rock 'n' roll scribe.


Monday, April 7 2014

‘Reign of Error’ Attempts to Undo Some of the Most Toxic Thinking in American Education

Schools aren't failing, but we're failing at understanding them. Diane Ravitch doesn't just illuminate the problem, she provides real solutions that can be achieved.


A Mystery, a Marriage and a Fascinatingly Unreliable Narrator

Is Thomas Christopher Greene tipping his hat to the great Russian writers, particularly Dostoevsky, who combined thrillers, romance and domestic drama, too?


Friday, April 4 2014

Une Énigme Politique: ‘A Taste for Intrigue: The Many Lives of François Mitterrand’

Philip Short's book is a masterfully written, sweeping narrative of Mitterrand’s life with decisive, revealing anecdotes and a meticulous chronicling of fact that is remarkable enough to be fiction.


Thursday, April 3 2014

David Dow Is Compassionate Enough to Humanize the World’s Most Hated People

There are a plethora of memoirs and true crime stories to read, but few of them are as eloquent and passionate as Things I’ve Learned from Dying: A Book About Life.


Wednesday, April 2 2014

What Is Permissible in the Name of Science, Wartime Expediency, and National Security?

"Our Germans beat their Germans," someone quipped when Wernher von Braun's team of rocketeers put Americans on the Moon, but Operation Paperclip reveals that US involvement with ex-Nazi scientists was far deeper, and far darker.


Tuesday, April 1 2014

The Freedom to Be: Frédéric Gros’s ‘Philosophy of Walking’

You may not find yourself in lockstep with Frédéric Gros, but you will be glad you made the journey with him.


Monday, March 31 2014

Sex and Inelegance in the City

If Sex in the City had been based on reality, it would have been more like the The Harm in Asking: My Clumsy Encounters with the Human Race.


Friday, March 28 2014

The Industrial Revolution 2.0

We live in a world filled with powerful, compact, networked computers -- a world that those computers are about to transform.


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