Lit Crit

Caste Aspersions

You might think that Isabel Wilkerson’s best-selling book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents might be timely because Kamala Harris is descended both from a high-caste Brahmin mother and a Jamaican father from that island’s ...

Greenwich Village, NY

Lit Crit

666,666,666 Immigrants

Center-left Vox pundit Matthew Yglesias’ new book One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger is actually two contradictory polemics. The book is both a sensible call for making family formation more affordable for younger ...

Oliver Stone, 1987

Lit Crit

‘Chasing the Light’: Mild Stone

While increasingly forgotten today, writer-director Oliver Stone might have been the most talked-about figure in American popular culture from 1986 through 1992, when the press suddenly went to war against him over his JFK ...

Lit Crit

Deaths of Despair

In 2017, 158,000 Americans died from what we call deaths of despair: suicide, overdoses, and alcoholic liver disease and cirrhosis. This is the equivalent of three full 737 MAXs falling out of the sky every day, with no survivors. The ...

Lit Crit

Secession Studies

Frank H. Buckley’s highbrow yet quick and lively new book American Secession comes with the foreboding subtitle The Looming Threat of a National Breakup, but the conservative George Mason U. law professor and Trump family adviser is ...

Lit Crit

Occam’s Butter Knife

In contrast to Angela Saini’s acclaimed but dismal 2019 work of science denialism, Superior: The Return of Race Science, Adam Rutherford’s 2020 book How to Argue With a Racist: History, Science, Race and Reality benefits from ...

Lit Crit

The Anti–Larry David

The energetic media tycoon Ezra Klein has a book out titled Why We’re Polarized. Spoiler alert: One reason is because too many people watch Fox News instead of reading Klein’s properties like Vox. Another cause is because somebody ...

Lit Crit

Forming a More Perfect Union

In the middle of August 1982, I was unemployed and looking for a job in New York City. A friend from MBA school called to say he could get me an interview at his Wall Street firm, J.P. Morgan. But Wall Street work was not a gold mine ...

Lit Crit

Charles Murray Goes Meta

Social scientists tend to be leftists, but the bulk of their findings have long tended to support rightists. Charles Murray, a rare man of the right in the social sciences, has been pointing out this paradox since his 1984 book Losing ...

Lit Crit

Civil Rights Gone Wrong

A couple of heavyweight conservative thinkers, Charles Murray and Christopher Caldwell, have important new books out this month: Murray’s upcoming Human Diversity: The Biology of Gender, Race, and Class and Caldwell’s The Age of ...

Lit Crit

‘Serotonin’: A Love Letter to Protectionism

French reactionary writer Michel Houellebecq became world-famous on Jan. 7, 2015, when a caricature of him appeared on the cover of Charlie Hebdo to promote his new novel Submission about the future Islamification of France just as ...

Harold Bloom

Lit Crit

The Cultural Levelers Lose a Formidable Foe

The cultural levelers lost a formidable foe this week, the literary critic Harold Bloom dying on Monday at 89 years old. Bloom was still teaching at Yale, where he had spent a distinguished half-century. His was not, however, an ...

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