Chronicles Magazine Books In Brief

The Broken Promise of American Cities

There is a saying used in California when the going gets tough: “At least we have the weather.” No matter how expensive, dangerous, unclean, and generally inhospitable the state’s cities become, “at least we have the weather,” Californians say,...

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    Books in Brief

    In this second volume of the Age of the French Revolution series, first published in 1978, Manceron explores the influence on Europe of both American democratic thought and politics during the American Revolution and early nationalist periods.

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    Books In Brief

    The French dislike what they call “Anglo-American economics” even more than they dislike English and American cookery; also, more recently, progressive Anglo-American views regarding the supposed identicality between the sexes.

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    Books In Brief

    It is expected of an author that he say something new and big about someone or something new and big, even should it have been so for two years already. President Trump remains something new and big, though his detractors by now appear old and...

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    Books in Brief

    Mark Atkins describes himself as a “failed Marine” who has never been in combat and who writes “with the same authority as that little boy who cried, “The Emperor has no clothes!” He is also a businessman who is fully aware that he is neither a...

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    Books in Brief

    Theodore Roosevelt always considered himself a man of letters, and indeed he was one. He began reading widely and writing at an early age, and a day never seems to have passed when he did not read and write, even in circumstances fiercely...

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    Books in Brief

    Rémi Brague, the French Catholic historian and political philosopher, made his wider reputation in the early 1990’s with his book Europe, la voie romaine, in which he attempted a sketch of what Europe should be following its reunification after...

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    Books in Brief

    George Liebmann, an attorney and historian, argues that Friedrich Hayek’s definition of the rule of law (“uniform rules laid down in advance”) has not been observed recently by federal and state governments.

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    Books in Brief

    The author of this engaging, highly interesting, and extremely well-written book is senior fellow and Hyde Park Resident Historian at the Roosevelt Institute, in addition to holding academic professorships at both Marist and Bard College.

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    Books in Brief

    This is an excellent account—part social, part military, and part political—of the Mexican-American War, fought between 1846 and 1848 and concluded by the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo in 1849 that ceded, essentially, the northern half of Mexico to...

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    Books in Brief

    Professor Lilla’s book, which appeared originally as an essay in the New York Review of Books, has received much attention (almost all of it bad) from liberals angered by its thesis that identity politics as it has developed over the past couple...

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    Books in Brief

    As readers and critics had learned everything that is important to know about Hemingway and his work decades ago, subsequent books about the novelist have concentrated on viewing and re-viewing him from various angles.

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    Books in Brief

    This book continues the arguments historians have made over the past three decades that challenge the long-received and -accepted view of the Habsburg Empire as an anachronism among European states in the 19th century.

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    Books in Brief

    This very excellent and elegantly written book by the editor of the Adams Papers between 1983 and 2001 draws on the second American President’s entire corpus of political writing, from his books and pamphlets to his letters and diary entries.

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    Books in Brief

    Messengers of the Right, the author says, “explains how conservative media became the institutional and organizational nexus of the movement, transforming audiences into activists and activists into a reliable voting base.”

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    Books in Brief

    After the first hundred pages or so, I found I had to put the book aside for a couple of days before reading on. "Somme" is, without a doubt, the most harrowing war account I have ever read, including Shelby Foote’s Civil War trilogy.

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    Books in Brief

    This well-written and highly readable biography [of John Adams], addressed to the general reader rather than to the academic historian, is nevertheless a substantial as well as a highly accessible work by a professor of foreign policy at New York...

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    Books in Brief

    This sympathetic, indeed deeply moving, biography of the ill-fated king, Louis XVI, is dramatic and mostly well written, save in certain instances where I found the presentation of particular events unclear.

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    Books in Brief

    Professor Wilson of Oxford University argues that the history of the Sanctum Imperium Romanum, despite its centrality to the history of Europe and its immense longevity, has commonly been written piecemeal, as the history of its component parts...

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    Success by Association

    Gertrude Stein may be the only official member of "The Lost Generation" who has not been disemboweled by literary analysts. Stein's circle-biographer James R. Mellow called it a "Charmed Circle" in the title of his 1974 book was not restricted to...

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    Useless Idiots

    John P. Roche, academic dean and professor of civilization and foreign affairs at Tufts University and a leading analyst of Marxist intrigue and aggression, knows why the "communists" will never take over. In The History and Impact of...

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    Foreign Fiascoes

    During the formative years of the American republic, Alexan­der Hamilton proposed that a national debt would be beneficial since it would tie the wealthy, the lenders, to the fledgling government, the debtor.

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    Required Reading

    Larkin seems to have given up writing verse these days. On the other hand, he writes essays and re­ views only under compulsion. Required Writing is an anthology of various pieces written over a period of nearly 30 years. They are as cranky and...

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    Nest of Vipers

    It may hurt, but it is useful to know that in matters of foreign translations available at our publishers and bookstores, we live in a well-guarded ghetto. There are protective turrets in the ghetto's wall, called Sartre, Beauvoir, Gunter Grass,...

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    Beyond the Norm and Back

    The Dune series is not escapist fiction. Herbert has some very sensible things to say about the abuses of politics, religion, and power; about the importance of tradition and respect; about many of the values that concern people here on Earth...

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    De-Filed

    Although Penn Kimball the citizen is the victim of a moral and legal injustice documented in this book, Penn Kimball the journalist and political liberal has been subjected to a kind of poetic justice.

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    These Foolish Things

    Liberalism, as we know it now, may be therefore, a step beyond folly — a halfway position between the conscious agent of defeat, and the foolish individual depicted by Tuchman and Shirer.

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    Curious Behavior

    Bruner's failure to develop his intellectual themes beyond a superficial level and his unwillingness to provide the full dimensions of interpersonal relations between the luminaries whose names fill this book make for singularly disappointing and...

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    Initiate Abroad

    Mark Twain was so disgusted by the superficial and sentimental nonsense in most American travel books that he said he wanted to eat "a tourist for breakfast." But instead of devouring American tourists he delightfully caricatured their bungling...

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    Myths, Visions, Passions

    Both poets sustained a remarkably passionate lyricism in their verse until the ends of their careers, and both were inspired by a mystical concept of the poetic process and of poetry as a higher truth. At this point, though, the comparison breaks...

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    Solipsism, Genius & Madness

    Once language breaks down and is no longer intended to mean, but becomes a vehicle by which people are enchanted into a state of intellectual stupor and so can be cynically manipulated and have their moral consciousness brutalized, then the noble...

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