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Reviews

Wednesday, April 9 2014

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.


Thursday, March 27 2014

Hearing Isn’t the Only Thing Lost When One Goes Deaf

Writer Katherine Bouton was 30 years old when hearing in her left ear lessened. She did what most people would: she ignored it.


Wednesday, March 26 2014

The Essays in ‘Sex Scene’ Are as Vivid and Provocative as One Would Hope

Sex Scene offers a new angle for examining the "longest revolution", and demonstrates the profound ability of the media to influence how we think, and what we think about.


‘Army of Lovers’ Tells the Tale of a Fearless Love of Community

This innovative and heartfelt 'community history'-style biography reveals what made artist, DJ and community organizer Will Munro into one of Canada's queer icons.


Tuesday, March 25 2014

In Blake Bailey’s ‘The Splendid Things We Planned’, a Family Resembles a Den of Lions

Have you ever wondered why biographer Blake Bailey has chosen to write at length about three notably disturbed men of letters?


Shigeru Mizuki’s ‘Showa’ Is a Melting Pot of Manga, Photo Realism, Memoir & Narrative History

A Japanese period of heightened tension, military marches, and personal discovery.


Monday, March 24 2014

Mavis Staples and Her Pops Helped Get Us There

I'll Take You There is really the biography of a musical family, centering on not one but two life stories: Mavis Staples’, and that of her biggest influence, dear ol' dad.


‘Empress Dowager Cixi’ Makes an Excellent Case for Historical Re-Evaluation

Jung Chang pays tribute to a complex ruler at the crossroads of change, and dispels the rigid caricature that has been portrayed for so long.


Friday, March 21 2014

Is Humankind the New Planet and Species-Destroying Asteroid?

After fighting so long as a Cassandra of the coming ecological catastrophe, Elizabeth Kolbert's latest, The Sixth Extinction, embraces the long view of disaster.


Thursday, March 20 2014

How Critics Misunderstood and Misused a Powerful Idea

Elizabeth Lunbeck's The Americanization of Narcissism describes how this misunderstood concept has been inextricably woven into the fabric of American culture for decades.


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