Book Reviews

Blackballed

Pinckney's short history deals with basic things—Reconstruction, Ku Klux Klan terrorism, crude political machinations like Plessy v Ferguson—white people can forget.

The Young T.E. Lawrence

The pro-British kings archeologist-turned-spy-turned-colonel T.E. Lawrence helped establish in Arabia, Iraq, and Transjordan made "Arab unity" a "madman's notion."

Life After Faith

Is humanity better or worse off believing in the sacred? Kitcher has not provided new reasons for declaring the death of God, but he certainly makes it seem foolish.

Loitering

It might be tempting to call D’Ambrosio’s essays confessions. But he rejects that label. The self of his essays is “more like a perspective, an angle of vision..."

The Liberal Arts vs. Neoliberalism

Deresiewicz not only critiques the idea that college education is about learning marketable skills; he also revives the old quest for meaning, self, and soul.

Medieval Christianity

This integrative, enjoyable "book for beginners" still may hold surprises for scholars: nuns absolving sins, petitioners humiliating saints, a woman pope, and more.

Moral Agents

Mailer, Trilling, Macdonald, Kazin, Maxwell, Bellow, Auden, O'Hara—men with public moral concerns, who seized power to shape American literature. But who were they?

There's Something I Want You to Do: Stories

Baxter reads fiction to “see bad stuff happening.” He writes characters who get into serious trouble, and face their own "human wreckage" at someone else's request.

One Nation Under God

Original and convincing, Kruse claims that the association of patriotism with Christianity comes from a libertarian reaction in American business to the New Deal.

Believe It or Not

“New atheists” like Richard Dawkins have made a splash with aggressive attacks on religion. But Michael Ruse, philosopher and reflective atheist, is not impressed.

God's Bankers

Posner’s attempt to intertwine Vatican finance with a history of the papacy—"rampant corruption, pervasive nepotism, unbridled debauchery"—isn't neutral, or correct.

The World Beyond Your Head

How can we choose to have agency over our lives when we are bombarded by choices? Crawford proposes a way to reclaim your attention span and thereby reclaim yourself