Book Reviews

The Road to Character

Brooks thinks character is what’s missing in our self-centered society, yet has written a self-help book for an age he believes values the self much too highly.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Anne Enright's new novel suggests something simple—family, for good or ill, keeps forming us even when we try to escape it—but her prose constantly surprises.

Embryos under the Microscope

In her new book, Jane Maienschein lays out the history of embryonic science—going back to Aristotle—hoping to answer an old question: When does a human life begin?

Barney Frank: A Life in Politics

Amusing and engaging, Barney Frank's stories (from sixteen terms in Congress) tell what kinds of “inside politicking” informed the presidencies of LBJ through Obama.

An Unlikely Union

Paul Moses's history of Irish-Italian relations in 19th century New York delves into the causes for "race war" between the immigrant groups and how they overcame it.

'James Merrill: Life and Art'

Langdon Hammer's biography of poet and writer James Merrill is "wholly definitive" in scope, and threaded throughout with Merrill’s brilliant, always enlivening wit.

Our Kids

The pattern of income inequality is more than a social problem, Robert Putnam says; it's a social tragedy, most devastating in the lives of poor American children.

The Age of the Crisis of Man

Many modern American thinkers have asked, often and with anxiety, "What is man?" In his latest book, Mark Greif thinks we've outgrown this—and it's a good thing.

Why the Romantics Matter

In his final book, the late Peter Gay expands familiar notion of the Romantic rebellion against Enlightenment rationality, to the focus on artistic self-expression.

Kill Chain

Andrew Cockburn's 'Kill Chain' examines the disastrous political effects of the U.S. military's targeted assassination practices--and the true motives behind them.

Old News: The World Is Not Christian

Unlike past Eurocentric taxonomies of world religions, the latest Norton anthology aims to let six major, living, international religions speak...in their own words.

The Republic of Imagination

Iranian author Azar Nafiri defends the value of canonical American literature—its imagination and humanity—against Common Core, market analyses, and Babbitt.