Chronicles Magazine Biography

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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  • REVIEWS

    Spying on the American Remnant

    As a boy, your author lived in a working-class neighborhood just outside Houston’s city limits. My parents were the children of rural people who had come to Houston looking for work during the Great Depression. They lived in frame houses sitting...

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  • REVIEWS

    The War of Nihilisms

    The first English translation of Ernst Jünger’s journals from the Second World War is a cause for celebration. The journals were like treasures stashed away in an old castle, behind a door that could be unlocked only if one learned to read...

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  • REVIEWS

    The Long Apocalypse

    Today, a century after the close of the “war to end all wars,” the prospect of achieving what the U.N. and other such garrulous bodies call “global peace” seems ever more remote.

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  • REVIEWS

    Chief of Men

    Of the making of books about Churchill there is no end. The latest is the best to date. Andrew Roberts reduces Churchill’s epic life to some 1,100 pages, offering a précis of the great events in which he was involved while drawing on 40 new...

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  • The Music Column

    Chopin’s Life and Times

    Alan Walker has insisted, at the very beginning of his massive new biography of Chopin, that the composer has today a unique global reputation and appeal. And when we consider the evidence that justifies his claims, we must admit that this...

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  • The Music Column

    A Tour of Overtures

    We somehow owe it to ourselves to contemplate the useful word sinfonia, one that once denoted the overture to an opera and suggested a pleasing combination of sounds. So yes—the term that denotes the tradition of symphony is derived from another...

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  • REVIEWS

    A View From Across the Pond

    If ever there was a democratic election in a giant modern nation-state, it was Donald J. Trump’s victory in 2016. And I’ve closely watched every presidential election since I was nine in 1964, when Lyndon Johnson lied his way to a landslide...

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  • The Music Column

    The Pavarotti Effect

    I have been told that there is something called the “Pavarotti Effect,” and that this phenomenon is observable and definable. Perhaps sometimes the Pavarotti Effect was an affect, or perhaps it was subsumed by the “Superstar Effect,” as Sherwin...

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  • REVIEWS

    The Truth About Hungary

    I met Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbàn in May of last year. With a few others, we shared breakfast before the opening session of the second Budapest Demographic Forum. He was every bit the “footballer” I had been told to expect.

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  • REVIEWS

    Law and Liberty

    Let’s say that a state passed a statute proscribing teachers from teaching reading in a language other than English until the student had passed the eighth grade. Violation of the statute was a misdemeanor.

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  • The Music Column

    Simon Pure and Impure

    The other day I came across the pianist Simon Barere on YouTube, and I was glad to see him there—the recognition he has received is certainly deserved, though it is hard to know what would be the appropriate reward to a performer who never got...

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  • REVIEWS

    The Camelot-Chequers Axis

    At the kernel of this story is the at times ambivalent relationship between JFK and his bluntly outspoken father, whose appointment in 1938 as ambassador to the Court of St. James seemed inexplicable even at the time.

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  • REVIEWS

    Choose Your Side

    The first thought that occurred to me upon receiving a review copy of David Garrow’s hefty biography of our former president was, besides its weight (four pounds), how the jacket photograph perfectly expresses what is revealed in 1,084 pages of...

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  • The Music Column

    The Romantic Revival

    The first thing to say about the Romantic Revival is that the phrase itself is a bit ambiguous, though I haven’t meant to be misleading. Romanticism originally had an aspect of revival of the medieval, as in the Gothic revival and the revival of...

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  • REVIEWS

    Churchill’s Home Front

    It is strange that a major biography of Clementine—a charismatic, clever, and strong-minded person who, as Sonia Purnell demonstrates, exerted a salutary and at times world-altering influence over her husband—should not have been written sooner.

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  • REVIEWS

    Churchill in Africa

    “Half-alien and wholly undesirable” was Lady Astor’s assessment of Winston Churchill. For Winston’s father, Randolph Churchill, had taken an American wife, “a dollar princess,” as many cash-strapped members of the English aristocracy did in the...

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  • REVIEWS

    An American In Great Britain

    George Goodwin’s new book on Benjamin Franklin explores the 18 years Franklin spent in England working as a printer (1726-28) and as an agent representing the Pennsylvania assembly and other American colonies (1757-62, 1766-75).

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  • Sins of Omission

    Butch O’Hare

    For years I taught a course on the history of World War II. I liked to ask the students if any of them had ever flown into Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Invariably, one or more in each class had.

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  • REVIEWS

    The Romantic Tory

    David Cesarani’s new biography of Disraeli does not surpass Blake’s book. It focuses on the Jewish aspect of Benjamin Disraeli as part of the Jewish Lives series at Yale University Press.

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  • REVIEWS

    Dealing With Hitler

    "Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning" has received exceptional attention and nearly universal praise. Prof. Timothy Snyder’s knowledge of the holocaust is almost encyclopedic.

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  • REVIEWS

    Iron Lady on Her Mettle

    Margaret Thatcher remains the only Conservative prime minister who has become an ism, and her rule will always be remembered for deregulation, the selling off of state assets from telephones and airlines to council housing, and the radical Stock...

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  • REVIEWS

    A Christian Humanist

    Having access to personal correspondence and other private papers is every biographer’s dream, a potential difference between a decent biography and a great biography. In the case of Russell Kirk, the advantage was huge.

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  • REVIEWS

    Kidnapped

    Aldersey-Williams is obsessed, he says, with Browne, a fascinating combination of writer and protoscientist who, he believes, is “insufficiently known and unjustly neglected” by literary people and scientists alike.

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  • The Music Column

    Come Into the Garden, Maud

    A year after the American debut of Jascha Heifetz in 1917, James Huneker wrote an interesting sentence in the New York Times: “Much has been said of Heifetz and his musical gifts compared with great violinists of the time—Ysayë, Kreisler, Elman,...

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  • REVIEWS

    Remembering Moynihan

    Daniel Patrick Moynihan was the most substantial intellectual to reach high political office in the United States since Woodrow Wilson. Thus his life, writings, policy deliberations, and political efforts, and the effects of these, deserve the...

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  • REVIEWS

    Truth in Poetry

    Elizabeth Bishop (1911-79) is considered to be among the most important American poets of the 20th century. She was a U.S. Poet Laureate and won a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, and the Neustadt International Prize.

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Revisiting Brideshead

    Waugh’s Christian faith found expression in the novels published in the years following his conversion, especially in A Handful of Dust, which took its title from a line in The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot, whose own conversion to...

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  • REVIEWS

    Manual Control

    Russian political analyst Vladimir Pastukhov once wrote that state power, or vlast, and not law “holds a sacred status in Russia.” Russians, according to Pastukhov, experience state power as a “mystical entity,” a “life giving substance,” a...

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  • REVIEWS

    The Great American Disintegration

    When a former colleague sent me a snippet from The New Yorker of September 22, 2014—a piece called “As Big As the Ritz,” by Adam Gopnik—the attention therein given to two recent books on F. Scott Fitzgerald caught my eye, not only...

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  • REVIEWS

    The Patsy

    In general I am not a fan of conspiracy theories. A good historian learns that, in regard to controversial events, the simplest explanation is the one most likely to be accurate.

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  • REVIEWS

    Waitin’ for The Robert E. Lee

    The life of Lee having been “done,” redone, and perhaps even undone by revisionist treatment, the present weighty phenomenon requires some contextual examination. We might first and simply ask the question, What is the purpose of this book?

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  • REVIEWS

    An Interwar Odyssey

    In 2011, Patrick Leigh Fermor became Patrick Leigh Former, and hundreds of thousands of devotees were doubly bereft. The first loss was the man himself, at 96 an antique in his own right, one of the last links to what feels increasingly like an...

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  • VIEWS

    The Long Sadness

    William Ball was just shy of 19 and living in the town of Souris on the prairies of Canada when war erupted in Europe in August 1914. The region was still something of a frontier, devoted to trapping and trading with Indians, and inhabited by...

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  • REVIEWS

    His Land, His People

    “Dickinson was, in truth,” writes William Murchison, "as much philosopher as writer, a man to whom God had imparted the gifts not merely of expression but also of examination and reflection. Among the large fraternity active in the cause of...

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Jimmy Rowles

    Given his devil-may-care nature, it’s easy to overlook Jimmy Rowles’ status as one of the most gifted and technically versatile pianists of his generation. His initial inspirations were Tatum, Mary Lou Williams, and Teddy Wilson, and he once...

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Herman Foster

    Late in 1961 the pop-jazz singer Gloria Lynne was booked into one of New York City’s top jazz supper clubs, Basin Street East, on Manhattan’s East 48th Street, where she was to record her first live album.

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  • REVIEWS

    The Pike

    The French wordsmith Romain Rolland, himself no slouch at being derivative as a thinker, likened his Italian contemporary Gabriele d’Annunzio to a pike, the freshwater predator famous for lying still and snapping at whatever comes.

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  • REVIEWS

    Anarch's Journey

    Ernst Jünger was 20th-century Germany’s most prolific writer. Throughout his long life—he lived to age 102—he chronicled the upheavals of that most violent century. Despite his talent and output, Jünger remains virtually unknown in America.

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  • REVIEWS

    A Yanqui Doodle Dandy

    Henry Adams published his eponymous autobiography in the early years of the last century. Now, just about a hundred years after The Education of Henry Adams, we have The Education of Héctor Villa. America is center stage in both, but they are...

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  • REVIEWS

    Mr. Eliot's Double Life

    These two massive volumes—the first published originally in 1988, the second now joining it with much fanfare—chronicle the period during which T.S. Eliot developed from the scion of a prosperous Midwestern family to the poet of The Waste Land...

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  • REVIEWS

    Institutionalizing Compassion

    Writing in the mid-1980’s, Forrest McDonald observed that America’s founders would have recognized their handiwork as late as the early 1960’s, but not after. Despite technological changes, the Civil War, the Progressive Era, the New Deal, and...

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  • REVIEWS

    What Was Not Lost

    The name of this book’s subject doesn’t appear in the text proper until page 14, and then as that of an adult attending the opening in London’s Bloomsbury of the Poetry Bookshop on January 8, 1913.

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  • REVIEWS

    A Giant Maligned

    The “Great Men” of history were mostly mad or bad, and often both. To be driven by pride, vanity, and ruthless ambition is common and unremarkable. That drive is not sufficient to leave a lasting mark on the affairs of mankind, of course, but...

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  • REVIEWS

    An Epic Bogosity

    The standard histories of English literature give Edmund Spenser top-drawer ranking with Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton, and there is no denying the power of his idiosyncratic style at its best or his appeal to other poets with epic ambitions. ...

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  • REVIEWS

    Little Jimmy Rides Again

    Books that refer in their titles to “the making of America” should generally be avoided. The phrase is meaningless, except in the realm of nationalistic mysticism. “America” was not made—she grew.

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  • REVIEWS

    What Have They Wrought?

    In spring 2005, President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were beginning their second term in office. They were expending some “political capital,” as Bush put it, advancing their Social Security reform plan.

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  • REVIEWS

    A Cardinal in Full

    In his Testament politique, Armand-Jean du Plessis, Cardinal Duc de Richelieu, wrote, “A capable prince represents a great treasure in a state. A skillful counsel . . . is no less a treasure.” Surely Richelieu had himself in mind, as...

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  • REVIEWS

    A Warring Visionary

    British scholar Timothy Stanley has produced the first significant biography of Patrick J. Buchanan, describing his life from his boyhood in Washington, D.C., up to the present. Stanley’s book is written in a breezy, informal manner—Buchanan...

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  • REVIEWS

    Limited Hangout

    Donald Rumsfeld has produced, four years after his departure from government, a memoir of no stylistic distinction. It contains few if any interesting revelations, save, perhaps, those relating to President Nixon’s choice of vice presidents.

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  • REVIEWS

    Thunderbolt Kid

    Bill Bryson’s most salient quality is his humor, which ranges from sarcasm to wordplay but doesn’t seem to traffic much in zippy one-liners, else Richert might cite a few of them.

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  • REVIEWS

    The Robot's Focus

    By the time Tony Blair stood down as prime minister to give his rival Gordon Brown the opportunity to lose office ignominiously, he had become as unpopular on the left as he had always been on the right.

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  • REVIEWS

    A Unifier at Number Ten

    Harold Macmillan’s prescription in 1933 was an apparatus of state-sanctioned codes for each industry that would bear a considerable resemblance to Roosevelt’s National Recovery Administration, subject to various forms of public review.

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  • REVIEWS

    Truth in Memory

    Carlos Eire has an hilarious sense of humor and continues to paint unforgettable scenes of boyhood awkwardness or hell-raising that appear to spring from a limitless font of poignant examples.

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  • REVIEWS

    A Life Rediscovered

    ISI Books, the publishing arm of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, is doing a great service by putting out the Lives of the Founders series, emphasizing “important but unjustly neglected figures of the American Founding.”

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  • Sins of Omission

    Jumpin' Jim Gavin

    Like most kids I loved reading about Americans who rose from nothing to greatness. When I got to college and encountered my first left-wing history professor, I learned that Horatio Alger characters were pure myth—except I had already read and...

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  • REVIEWS

    Happy Warriors

    Readers of The War Lovers, a fascinating account of the dawn of America’s imperial age by Newsweek reporter Evan Thomas, are bound to feel a twinge of déjà vu as they put down the book.

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  • REVIEWS

    Stumbling Past the Tree

    This is a solid and sensible biography, but it is not a scintillating one. I have the impression that Adam Sisman is a little wary of his subject; he indicates respect for Hugh Trevor-Roper, but not affection. Yet without personal warmth to...

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  • REVIEWS

    Always Something to Say

    There are very few neoconservatives, people disagree on who they are, and they have no popular following or definite organizational structure. Even so, they have deeply affected American public life for 40 years.

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  • REVIEWS

    The Creaturely Myth

    There is—there must be–all the difference in the world between an autobiography and a novel written in the first person. Are we clear? Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Living History, for example, has much in common with Charles Dickens’ David...

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  • REVIEWS

    Great Cooptations

    Two politicians get conservative fundraisers’ juices flowing like no others. One, the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, was surely mourned as much by ambitious Richard Viguerie imitators as by teary-eyed, Camelot-addled liberals. The other, former...

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  • REVIEWS

    Prometheus Unbound

    This volume, belonging to the Iowa Whitman Series, is identified as “the 150th Anniversary Facsimile Edition” of Leaves of Grass, third edition (1860). Originally issued in 1855, at the author’s expense, the collection was revised and...

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  • REVIEWS

    At the Crossroads

    Up until now, Ayn Rand hasn’t had a biographer worthy of the name: only the memoirs of embittered ex-followers, or hagiographies written by devotees. Anne Heller’s Ayn Rand and the World She Made remedies that lack.

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan, like many of those in the lively arts, frequently urges us to admire his present work rather than to dwell on his past triumphs, although he has been known to make an exception to the rule when it comes time to release his latest...

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  • REVIEWS

    An American Prophet

    A half-dozen biographical essays or theses have now been written on George Kennan, including John Lukacs’s recent and compelling George Kennan: A Study of Character (2007). This latest endeavor, by Lee Congdon, is an effort to assess...

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  • REVIEWS

    Wallow in the Mire

    One of the less appreciated perils of literary fame is the risk a writer runs every hundred years as the anniversary of his birthday approaches. This year marks the 200th birthday not only of Darwin but of Lincoln, a completely irrelevant...

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Bruce Springsteen

    For the life of me, I can’t see why anyone under the age of, say, 55 would want to listen to Bruce Springsteen, never mind revere him as a deep and important artist, or pay upward of $200 to be crammed into a football stadium to attend one of his...

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  • REVIEWS

    “The One”

    Barack Obama has risen to the highest office in the land on a thin résumé—a pair of Ivy League degrees, some time spent as a “community organizer,” and short periods in the Illinois legislature and the U.S. Senate. And then there are the books.

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  • REVIEWS

    Once More With Feeling

    This volume has provoked in this correspondent a number of Yogi Berra moments—it’s been déjà vu all over again, and for more than one reason. Why, then, am I seized with such a pleasant vertigo? Let me count the ways!

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  • REVIEWS

    Infelix Culpa?

    Kingsley Amis called him “Grim Grin,” an apt name for a novelist who aggressively insisted that the path to God runs through the wilderness of lust, degradation, deceit, and betrayal.

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  • REVIEWS

    Homage To a Friend

    Years ago, when a Vanderbilt graduate-school party was careening toward promiscuity, a quiet young woman, an English major, suddenly shocked everyone by saying, “Tell you what let’s do: Let’s all name the books we’ve never read.”

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  • REVIEWS

    Caesar on His Own

    “The Republic is nothing, a mere name without form or substance,” Julius Caesar allegedly stated. The sentiment, certainly, was validated by the end of Caesar’s life, which marked the transition from an imperial republic to an empire eclipsing...

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  • Sins of Omission

    Lieutenant Ramsey’s War

    Ed Ramsey never aspired to be a hero. He was only 12 years old when his father committed suicide. He was a natural-born hell-raiser; bootleg whiskey and fighting were his passions. His mother thought the Oklahoma Military Academy might salvage...

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  • REVIEWS

    Blood on the Keys

    The Technicolor splatter of blood on the keys in the corny movie A Song to Remember (1945) is a vulgar incarnation of a romantic image of obsessed genius. That image has perhaps more authenticity than a few might suppose, for in the shot,...

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  • REVIEWS

    The Kingfish of Caracas

    Venezuela, once the beauty queen of Latin American democracies, has lost her good looks. Today, the oil-rich country is more often compared with communist Cuba than with democratic Costa Rica.

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    James Stewart

    James Stewart was born 100 years ago, on May 20, 1908, the same week that Constantin Stanislavski published his “grammar” of acting at the Moscow Arts Theatre, essentially an effort to formulate a codified, systematic approach by which the actor...

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  • REVIEWS

    Mann of the West

    An established authority on film, Professor Basinger has updated her monograph on the films of Anthony Mann for good reason. Not only has her original edition of 1979 long been out of print, it has been in much demand.

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  • REVIEWS

    The Hollow Men

    Debby Applegate’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher, treats a wide range of subjects: religion, politics, social upheaval, war, and clerical sex scandals.

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    True Grit

    A remark one often hears from the current crop of film critics is that John Wayne might indeed merit the iconographic status conferred on him by tens of millions of ordinary cinemagoers around the world, were it not for the troubling matter of...

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  • REVIEWS

    Right Deserves Might

    The world could use a few more volumes devoted to Grover Cleveland; it has little need for more books about Theodore Roosevelt. But if more there must be, at least the two under consideration here explore terrain not yet strip-mined.

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  • REVIEWS

    3:00 A.M. in America

    In Decade of Nightmares, Philip Jenkins considers how the progressive and “forward-looking” decade of free love, drugs, and cultural revolution led to the reactionary “counterrevolution” of the 1980’s, personified by Ronald Reagan.

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  • REVIEWS

    Civis Americanus Sum

    In the spring of 1963, my sister and I were invited, along with my parents, to a dinner party given by White Russian friends at their penthouse apartment in Manhattan, whose tall mahogany-framed windows overlooked lower Central Park.

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  • REVIEWS

    The Virginian

    To be published by a university press, one must demonstrate originality of scholarship. In a forgetful age, that is not hard to do. It is easier still when a constant rewriting of history is required to meet the ever-changing dictates of empire.

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  • Sins of Omission

    Foss's Flying Circus

    In the early 1960's, I was introduced to a fellow motorcycle rider by the name of Steve Foss. Before I could say anything, he quickly offered, "No relation to Joe Foss." He had anticipated my question and that of nearly everyone he had met for...

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  • REVIEWS

    Roll On, Beethoven

    The fate of the famous in this postmodern and even campy time is problematical. The multicultural agenda is not considerate of the distinguished or of distinctions, and "diversity" imposes quotas on what we may be permitted to admire, to enjoy,...

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  • REVIEWS

    The Lavender Baboon

    I first heard about “brain freeze” from an amiable fellow who was vending Italian ices. He pointed out that, if the ices were not consumed carefully, the freeze would penetrate the palate into the brain.

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  • REVIEWS

    An Afternoon Man

    Anthony Powell has been variously called “the English Proust” and “a master of wit, paradox and social delineation”; Kingsley Amis said, “I would rather read Mr. Powell than any English novelist now writing.”

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  • REVIEWS

    The True Fire Within

    Henry Timrod died in 1867 at the age of 39 from tuberculosis—his end aggravated and hastened by inadequate food and the rigors of eking out a living amidst the charred ruins of South Carolina’s capital city.

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  • REVIEWS

    My Favorite Justice

    Most Americans probably know Scalia as the justice liberals and their media acolytes recently disparaged for going duck hunting with his pal Dick Cheney while a case involving the Vice President was pending before his Court.

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  • REVIEWS

    Beautiful Terror

    The face is familiar, but not the gray hair. To some few, it may be so from Our Gang shorts from the late 30’s and early 40’s, known by the moniker of Mickey Gubitosi.

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  • REVIEWS

    Ghosts on the Stairs

    Octogenarian knight Sir Peregrine Worsthorne is famous in Britain for several things. He was the editor of the Sunday Telegraph and a political columnist for that paper for 30 years.

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  • REVIEWS

    The Big Bore of Arkansas

    Now, the first book I want to mention, which is also the best book I scanned, has merits beyond its own intrinsic and immediate appeal. Ric Flair’s To Be the Man tells the story of a boy from Memphis (just across the Big Muddy from...

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  • REVIEWS

    Red Star at Morning

    This book, the work of a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, is an attempt to fathom the Alger Hiss phenomenon by a man whose father-in-law was among Hiss’s defense lawyers from 1948 to 1950 and who remained for years a quiet...

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  • REVIEWS

    Dropping the Masks

    The 1997 movie Wilde opens with a shot of Oscar Wilde (played by Stephen Fry) being lowered by bucket into a Colorado silver mine, where he recites his poetry and chats with shirtless, sweaty miners, who are obviously thrilled at a visit...

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  • REVIEWS

    A League of Bushes

    Old habits die hard, especially where the use of moral terminology is concerned. In the 1850’s, James Smith Bush, George W.’s great-great-grandfather, graduated from Yale and became an Episcopal minister in New York.

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  • REVIEWS

    Fire the Nanny

    Even under a “conservative” President, government entitlements continue to grow. President George W. Bush’s expansion of Medicare to include prescription drugs will add billions to the already overinflated budget.

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  • REVIEWS

    Till Earth Was

    Poet John Clare (1793-1864) seems to have grown from the soil. His last name derives from the word clayer—someone who manures and enriches clay. As a farm laborer, he drew sustenance from the earth.

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  • REVIEWS

    Deep as Dante

    Brenda Wineapple’s new biography of the most brilliant flower of the New England Renaissance reminded me that it was time to reread Hawthorne. She delineated the man very well, got his politics almost right, but barely did justice to his work.

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  • REVIEWS

    Custom and Ceremony

    The first volume of R.F. Foster’s acclaimed biography of William Butler Yeats (The Apprentice Mage) appeared in 1997. Yeats’ son and daughter (now in their 70’s) chose him to be their father’s official biographer after their previous...

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  • REVIEWS

    A Fig From Smyrna

    Jan Chryzostom Cardinal Korec, S.J., was an eyewitness to the 20th century’s most important event: the defeat of Marxism-Leninism in Eastern Europe by the Church established by Jesus Christ.

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  • REVIEWS

    A Faithful Life

    In 1994, Lois Lindstrom, an American, moved to Stockholm. There she befriended Karin Wiking, then in her early 70’s, and from their regular conversations grew this very personal book about Mrs. Wiking’s life and experiences.

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  • REVIEWS

    Some Things You Have to Face Alone

    Fall 2000 already seems like a long time ago, and it actually is. Perhaps I remember in a haze of nostalgia for that period, a brief entertainment of hope for the American polity, one which was soon snuffed in a blizzard of dimpled chads and a...

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  • REVIEWS

    Flawed Genius

    Vladimir Nabokov—like Hemingway, Lorca, and Borges—was born in 1899, began life in the stable Victorian era, lived through the horrors of the Great War, and came to artistic maturity in the 1920’s.

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  • REVIEWS

    Return of Capital

    One of the great ironies of the late-1990’s stock-market bubble is that more Americans followed the advice of Wall Street scam artists than that of Omaha billionaire Warren E. Buffett, the best money manager in the second half of the 20th century.

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  • REVIEWS

    Agonies of Intrigue

    Lord Byron was the most fascinating literary figure of the 19th century. Fiona MacCarthy’s solid and competent biography covers the ground in great detail (the deformed foot, the scandalous exile, the endless wandering, the early death in...

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  • REVIEWS

    Tame Monster

    Randall Jarrell was born in Nashville in 1914 and grew up in Tennessee and Southern California. He studied under poet and critic John Crowe Ransom at Vanderbilt University and followed him to Kenyon College, where he lived in Ransom’s attic with...

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  • REVIEWS

    Two Skeptics

    H.L. Mencken has been given a fairly free ride by his various biographers. That ride is now officially over. It might have ended even sooner, had Terry Teachout been able to make up his mind about his subject.

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  • Breaking Glass

    FDR: The Moral Reckoning

    Attached please find the proposal for my latest book, Franklin Roosevelt: The Anti-christ Unmasked. While I know some people will dismiss my thesis as foolish (or even “crazy”), the wave of recent books published by major presses like...

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  • REVIEWS

    Making Energy

    The lives of great men are largely unconstrained, which may explain why there are so few great men today. All men are, of course, constrained by their personal limitations as well as by the limitations their age imposes on them, but it is in the...

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  • REVIEWS

    Palm and Pine

    David Gilmour’s witty and elegant, original and useful book chronicles “Kipling’s political life, his early role as apostle of the Empire, the embodiment of imperial aspiration, and his later one as the prophet of national decline.”

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  • REVIEWS

    The Point of War

    The U.S. government continues its slow but relentless buildup of military forces in the Middle East, preparing to unleash “Fourth-Generation” warfare against the eighth reincarnation of Adolf Hitler.

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  • REVIEWS

    A Man for Our Century

    Wilhelm Roepke (1899-1966) is one of the most original, yet least recognized, economic thinkers of the 20th century. One of the reasons for his relative obscurity is that he does not fit well into the prevailing capitalist/socialist dichotomy.

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  • REVIEWS

    The Church Militant

    This is a difficult time to be a Catholic. The moral scandals in the Church, which should have provided an occasion for constructive change and for replacing the leftist American hierarchy with bishops of strong faith, pure morals, and sound...

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  • REVIEWS

    Wicked Ways

    Years ago, when Parker Tyler memorably instructed us in the magic and myth of the movies, he indicated something about the archetypal power of film and the status of the stars as our own popular pantheon.

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  • REVIEWS

    Burnham Agonistes

    Born in Chicago in 1905 to a well-off railroad executive, James Burnham was educated at Princeton and Oxford and, by his 20’s, had sprouted into a leading figure in literary criticism and philosophy among the New York cognoscenti.

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  • REVIEWS

    Royal Teddy

    Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., was the first of our Northeastern rich-boy presidents, blazing a trail for his kinsman Franklin, John F. Kennedy, and the two Bushes. Even Nelson Rockefeller, who had no abilities and no popularity that was not bought...

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  • REVIEWS

    Sic Semper Tyrannis

    Abraham Lincoln remains the central historical figure in modern America; the only others who can compete with him in their influence on the present and the degree of adulation accorded them are Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Rev. “Dr.” Martin...

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  • REVIEWS

    Against the Horticulturalists

    Dwight Macdonald died in December 1982, almost 20 years ago. I went up to New York for his funeral. There were few New York intellectuals, prominent or not, at that gathering—which, properly and decently, had something like a family atmosphere.

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  • REVIEWS

    The Puzzler

    Lord Keynes’ biographer Robert Ski-delsky described Keynes’ principal rival in the 1930’s, Friedrich A. Hayek (1899-1992), as “the dominant intellectual influence of the last quarter of the twentieth century.”

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  • REVIEWS

    World Without End, Amen

    Every night before bed, Eleanor Roosevelt—first lady, feminist, and the spirit Hillary Clinton most wants to contact in the Great Beyond—knelt beside her bed and prayed her improvised prayer.

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  • REVIEWS

    Hold the Gush

    Like Virginia Woolf and Mary McCarthy, Rupert Brooke and Bruce Chatwin, Edna St. Vincent Millay’s striking appearance greatly enhanced her literary reputation. Readers were drawn to her poetry by her good looks and notorious sexual behavior.

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  • REVIEWS

    Happenstance Phenomena

    Patricia Highsmith is a peculiar taste, nasty and unpalatable to many. Readers who like her, however, tend to like her enormously. She was born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1921, the unwanted daughter of a graphic artist who attempted to abort her...

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Hollywood and the Convent

    Biographers do much of their work in the study and the library, but they also get to some out-of-the-way places. I’ve interviewed people in bars, nursing homes, and insane asylums, chased down wealthy informants in country houses and elegant...

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  • REVIEWS

    Clark's Tale

    Alan Clark, who died in 1999 at the age of 71, was one of the Conservative Party's most iconoclastic, amusing, and controversial—yet thoughtful—figures.

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  • REVIEWS

    Cast-iron Man

    John C. Calhoun is perhaps the most hated historical figure in modern America. There may be others who offer more succinct and intuitive criticisms of America's institutional decay; many have led stronger movements for reform and challenged the...

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  • REVIEWS

    One of the Lucky Ones

    Priscilla Buckley has long been well known to readers of conservative journalism. For nearly three decades, she was managing editor of National Review, a constant font of editing skill, institutional knowledge, good humor, and courtesy.

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  • REVIEWS

    The Study of Wisdom

    The second half of the life of Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) is not nearly as interesting as the first, when Russell did his major work in philosophy and mathematics and, through close contacts with the Bloomsbury Group, knew all the major writers...

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  • REVIEWS

    The Whippoorwill

    The go-to-hell attitude, unique features, and deceptive talent by which we know Robert Mitchum (1917-1997) were the product of his heredity and experience. His father was a Scotch-Irish South Carolinian with some Amerindian blood—he died young in...

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  • REVIEWS

    Dirty for Dirty

    It is not known if the late, unlamented Timothy J. McVeigh ever saw Dalton Trumbo's chest-thumping war movie that blatantly propagandizes on behalf of blowing the filthy little Japs to smithereens.

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  • REVIEWS

    Fighting the Big War

    "What did you do in the big war?" his grandchildren asked. Ralph Walker Willis has answered them in My Life as a Jarhead: USMC 1941-45, a valuable book for anyone interested in the subjects of history and heroism.

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  • REVIEWS

    Two Between the Ribs

    How does he get away with it? Ever since Bonfire of the Vanities, I have wondered at Tom Wolfe's success. The success itself is well deserved: Wolfe is a dazzling writer, without peer as an observer of contemporary American life.

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  • REVIEWS

    Hugging Himself

    James Boswell (1740-95), whose frank and revealing London Journal sold are than a million copies, is the most "modern" and widely read 18th-century author. His circle of friends—Johnson, Burke, Gibbon, Reynolds, Hume, Goldsmith, Garrick, and...

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  • REVIEWS

    Flannery Flummery

    Professor Gordon provokes—she certainly does not evoke—memories of days in Milledgeville, Georgia, four decades ago and more, when Flannery O'Connor was a presence in that notable town, formerly the capital of the Peach State.

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  • REVIEWS

    An American Original

    In the world of blue bloods and blue books, where nicknames like "Oatsie," "Tootsie," "Bunny," and "Babe" abound, being called "Sister" isn't particularly unusual. Even in her professional life.

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  • REVIEWS

    Military Messiah

    Orde Wingate, the most eccentric and innovative commander in World War II, was remarkably like his distant cousin Lawrence of Arabia. Both came from a guilt-ridden fundamentalist background and grew up in an atmosphere of religious gloom and...

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  • REVIEWS

    The Sacred Garden

    While Russell Kirk (1918-1994) has been widely recognized as a formative figure in the postwar conservative revival, his reputation has undergone dramatic changes since the publication of his magisterial The Conservative Mind in 1953.

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  • REVIEWS

    Best of British Conservatism

    British conservative circles are awash with books at the moment. Apart from the usual think-tank reports and surveys, we have seen recently John Major's and Norman Lamont's memoirs, John Redwood's Death of Britain, and the latest...

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  • REVIEWS

    Shifting Ground

    Kenneth Miller has produced a beautifully written work. His book is intended to refute every objection to the more or less universally accepted doctrine of evolution, to discredit its opponents, and to assert the compatibility of strict...

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  • REVIEWS

    Professing

    Emeritus professor of English at the University of Washington in Seattle, Robert B. Heilman has been publishing for over 60 years and has done distinguished work on drama and fiction.

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  • REVIEWS

    Waugh Stories

    Two vignettes illustrate Evelyn Waugh's character. One has to do with art; the other, protocol. In 1951, Evelyn Waugh commissioned a painting depicting the interior of a plane's cabin.

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  • REVIEWS

    In Defense of Gravity

    John T. Flynn had the distinction of being singled out by Franklin D. Roosevelt as a writer who "should be barred hereafter from the columns of any presentable daily paper, monthly magazine, or national quarterly."

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  • VIEWS

    The Other Lindbergh

    Charles Augustus Lindbergh was the son of Swedish homesteaders who hacked a farm out of the Minnesota wilderness. Both the perils and the virtues of that life are dramatized in the story of a run-in that C.A.'s mother, Louisa, had with some...

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  • REVIEWS

    In Our Own Image

    The greatest value of Charlotte Allen's book is the question it leaves eloquently unspoken. In the full etymological sense of the word, it is a crucial one; Are we here to find Jesus in ourselves, or to find ourselves in Jesus?

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  • REVIEWS

    A Beautiful Friendship

    The story of their first meeting has been told so many times that it has become part of the folklore of modern Southern literature. One day, during the fall of 1924, Robert Penn Warren stopped by Kissam Hall on the Vanderbilt campus to visit his...

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  • REVIEWS

    A Rainbow Bridge

    "What is there to say about someone who did nothing all his life but sit on his bottom and write reviews?" Thus the subject of this biography, who saw himself as a modern Sainte-Beuve, once excoriated Sainte-Beuve in a private letter.

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  • VIEWS

    Dwight Macdonald

    A Rebel in Defense of Tradition is the title of Michael Wreszin's 1994 biography of Dwight Macdonald (1906- 1982). It is a very good title, by which I mean something more than a "handle"; it is a precise phrase, a summary properly affixed to the...

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  • VIEWS

    The Lion of Idaho

    The latest fad among leftist historians, according to the New York Times, is the study of the conservative movement. "By marrying social and political history," the Times announced, "this new wave of scholarship is revising the history of...

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  • REVIEWS

    Genius in the Making

    Laura Ingalls Wilder was already in her 60's when she began to write the novelistic memoirs that made her famous; she was not quite 44 when, invited to speak on chicken-raising, she wrote out her speech to be read at an agricultural meeting...

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  • VIEWS

    The Managerial Mob

    The history of the Mob, the mainly Italian and Sicilian organized crime syndicate that came to typify gangsters in the 1930's, is in fact the history of American corporate business and of American society in the first part of the 20th century.

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  • REVIEWS

    Waugh After Waugh

    When, after a stint in the British Army which left him crippled for life, Auberon Waugh went up to Oxford in 1959, by his own admission he knew nothing of the place apart from what he had read in his father's novel, Brideshead Revisited,...

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  • REVIEWS

    Greatheart!

    In the foreword to Brother to Dragons , Robert Penn Warren writes "historical sense and poetic sense should not, in the end, be contradictory, for if poetry is the little myth we make, history is the big myth we live, and in our living,...

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  • REVIEWS

    The Leading Man

    On June 16,1956, Ted Hughes married Sylvia Plath in London. He was a recent graduate of Cambridge University, working for the J. Arthur Rank Organization; she, a Smith College graduate at Cambridge on a Fulbright scholarship.

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  • REVIEWS

    Pace, Pace Mio Dio

    The outpouring of emotion caused by the recent death of Frank Sinatra may remind us of the power of music, and the particular power of the voice, to get under our skin. Sinatra hypnotized three generations with his smoothness, his rhythm, and his...

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  • REVIEWS

    The Kennedy Legacy

    More than three decades after his assassination, John Fitzgerald Kennedy's reputation continues to preserve its saintly luster, resisting the tarnish of time and truth. Those of us alive in 1963 will carry to our graves the shock of a young...

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  • REVIEWS

    The Criminal State

    The stereotype of the British journalist—and stereotypes are usually true—has an arrogant Brit arriving in Washington, rewriting the Washington Post and the New York Times for his dispatches, and spending the rest of his time in fancy bars, where...

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  • REVIEWS

    A Labor of Hate

    The paucity of biographical material on McCormick is perhaps due to the previous unavailability of his personal papers, which are in the possession of the Robert R. McCormick-Tribune Foundation, which inherited the bulk of the Colonel's estate.

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  • REVIEWS

    The Habit of Making

    In October 1986, I heard Robert Penn Warren read a selection of his poems at an LSU conference marking the 50th anniversary of the Southern Review. He was 81 years old, exceeding frail, and suffering from cancer.

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  • REVIEWS

    The Condottiere

    We live in an age when biography flourishes, contrary to earlier expectations. The reason for this is the decline of the novel and the rise of popular interest in all kinds of history, and biography belongs within history.

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  • REVIEWS

    A Prophet's Reward

    What is now known as the Hiss case exploded across the front pages of the nation's newspapers on August 4,1948. The day before, Whittaker Chambers had taken the stand before the House Un-American Activities Committee to testify that a number of...

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  • REVIEWS

    Why They Hate Jefferson

    What a marathon of Jefferson-bashing we have had in the last few years. This book by the "global statesman" O'Brien follows several other critical biographies, all of which have been highlighted in the fashionable reviews.

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  • REVIEWS

    In Hoc Signo Vinces

    Tactical strengths and strategic weaknesses mark John D. McKenzie's reassessment of Robert E. Lee's generalship. The strengths of this book are many. The weaknesses, however, undercut the very point that the author attempts to make; namely, that...

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  • REVIEWS

    Getting to Know the General

    The rise to political prominence of former Airborne Forces General Aleksandr Lebed, and especially his emphasis on law and order as the only real basis for proceeding with reforms, has raised the specter in the Russian mind of the proverbial Man...

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  • REVIEWS

    Slouching Toward Empire

    The tragic fate of the Cherokee tribe is well documented. What is less widely known, and probably less researched, is the fairly rapid destruction of the Creeks, and the role played by Andrew Jackson in their demise.

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  • REVIEWS

    Bring Me a Grape

    What a peculiar, in some respects downright weird little world this fascinating biography introduces us to. Imagine a very clever, very plain, very spoiled little boy, born at the turn of the century into the intensely competitive upper-middle or...

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  • REVIEWS

    Free at Last

    The criminal trial of the former football great O.J. Simpson on the charge of murder, a trial that overshadows the Gulf War as the media event of the 1990's, has been over for more than a year.

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  • REVIEWS

    The Well Wrought Life

    This book is certainly a book—the book—for those interested in its subject, but I believe that it is a book, too, for those who have no particular interest in Cleanth Brooks (1906-1994), or in criticism.

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  • REVIEWS

    The Spirit of Atlantic

    Although writing a biography of a historian can be tricky business (the dramatic potential of "he approached the card catalogue gingerly" is limited), theirs is a superb study of the genesis of an American radical and a proprietary patriot.

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  • REVIEWS

    Visions of Disorder

    Richard Weaver once wrote that it was difficult to perceive the decline of civilization because one of the characteristics of decline was a dulling of the perception of value, and thus of the capacity to judge the comparative worth of times.

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  • VITAL SIGNS

    Old Progressives Don't Die

    Surprisingly enough, in many ways journalist and commentator John T. Flynn was a typical progressive. Long a figure of prominence on the American right, he was not politically active in the time of Woodrow Wilson, whose domestic policies he much...

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  • REVIEWS

    The Long Hello

    Though Raymond Chandler himself saw to it that he exploited his power in the movies and on radio and television, he knew very well that his appeal rested on a literary achievement.

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  • REVIEWS

    Lone Star Rising

    In 1972, Bradford rallied to the cause of George Wallace, only to see this last important example of Democratic populism halted by a bullet in the Alabama governor's spine.

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  • REVIEWS

    Freedom of Access

    Though the "opening" of the Russian archives is supposed to be a blessing for historians, there are plenty of reasons for skepticism. To begin with, "open" is an inaccurate term. What is available is selective, for so much remains closed, many...

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  • VIEWS

    A Free-Minded

    Douglas Young was a tall man, six feet six inches; with his beard he looked like a Calvinist Jehovah. At St. Andrews, he acquired the nickname "God" by eavesdropping on a political discussion about the Balkans.

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  • REVIEWS

    Rising From the Dead

    All three of these books are, each in its own way, dedicated to the proposition that the past is alive and deserves to be preserved and protected against the forces of barbaric ignorance and indifference.

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  • REVIEWS

    The Fixer

    This new biography of one of the great "fixers" in American political life, James F. Byrnes, creates the impression of an American Ozymandias, proclaiming by example the ephemerality of human greatness.

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  • REVIEWS

    The Future Belongs To Us

    We used to talk, in those days, about Regis Debray, the young Frenchman who went from school in Paris to Cuba and fought with Che Guevara in Bolivia. He was captured when Che was killed in 1967, and French President Charles de Gaulle telegraphed...

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  • REVIEWS

    Brief Mentions I

    "She was 'The Woman' the press whispered about, with Dr. Martin Luther King on that last tragic trip to Memphis," reads the back-cover blurb in oversize type. No, not Irene Adler, but the "first black woman senator from Kentucky."

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  • REVIEWS

    Brief Mentions II

    This volume is the last substantial legacy provided by the author's will which, operating on the principle of time-release, has already resulted in the publication of the Diary of H.L. Mencken and the availability of many useful letters and papers.

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  • REVIEWS

    Stainless Steel

    This book seems to be a coffee-table job for golfers, and no doubt there are many who will enjoy it that way. Some may even fancy that they will learn something about golf from it, but I think that something will be limited.

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  • REVIEWS

    Cherished Void

    Gene Roddenberry was a hustling ex-cop who wanted to strike it rich in television, and he did, with a series called Star Trek, which he once described (before his slide into self-mythicizing and lucrative licensing deals) as "Wagon Train To the...

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  • REVIEWS

    Brief Mentions

    "Harry's gone mad," yelled Mrs. Barnes. "I just saw him running around the side of the house with a gun, muttering something about the plumbers." Young Robert ran outside, and there found his dad, distinguished historian and man of letters, lying...

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  • REVIEWS

    All Post-Keynesians Now

    For connoisseurs of biography, Robert Skidelsky's projected three-volume work, John Maynard Keynes, will rank with the best of the genre. The first volume appeared over a decade ago under the subtitle Hopes Betrayed. The second volume, under...

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  • REVIEWS

    Augie Old: The Last Man

    Saul Bellow's It All Adds Up is his first (and given his age probably his last) collection of nonfiction. Mr. Bellow is close to 80. His introduction suggests a mood of self-reformation, not solemn but tending toward testament. He is said to be...

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  • REVIEWS

    Seven Years

    In the past 23 years, enough material has been released from the sealed deposit left by H.L. Mencken at his death in 1956 to superannuate the late Carl Bode's Mencken, published a quarter-century ago and a pedestrian job in any event.

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  • REVIEWS

    The Missionary's Son

    Henry Luce both created and dominated a new form of national journalism between 1930 and 1960. Founder and editor-in-chief of Time, Life, and Fortune, he is best remembered for his 1941 Life essay "The American Century," a robust call for the...

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  • REVIEWS

    Almost an Idol

    Why does the South adore Stonewall Jackson? He was not a particularly lovable man. And he was certainly not a romantic, dashing cavalier, like Jeb Stewart; a stainless aristocrat calmly daring all the odds, like Robert E. Lee; or even a wizard of...

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  • REVIEWS

    Frontier Fantasies

    Folklore is not history, and mythmakers hate complications. Finally we have a reliable life of Boone through the considerable efforts of John Mack Faragher, a professor of history at Mount Holyoke College whose earlier book Women and Men on the...

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  • REVIEWS

    More Than a Statue

    At the height of his career, William Gilmore Simms was ranked with the best writers produced by the United States. In the Northeast, his novels were considered inferior only to Cooper's, and there were many in the South who would have put him higher.

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  • REVIEWS

    La Prima Donna

    Undoubtedly the greatest singer in the world in her time and since, Maria Callas (1923-1977) needs no introduction. What she does need is the highly intelligent and discriminating attention that Michael Scott has devoted to her. It is Mr. Scott...

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  • REVIEWS

    Watergate: The Continuing Story

    One of the problems with treating an event like Watergate as history is that, for most of us, it isn't. The "third-rate" burglary that became a constitutional crisis leading to the only resignation of a sitting President in our history may be two...

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  • REVIEWS

    Golden Days of Yore

    Richard Harding Davis exemplified the all-American ideal of Anglo-Saxon manhood—a chivalrous adventurer of spotless character and intentions, sporting, always in favor of the underdog, not too intellectual, and never without a clean starched...

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  • REVIEWS

    Acts of Life

    The nearly lifelong friendship of Henry Adams and Henry James, both now accepted as writers of towening stature, was one of the most engaging yet contrary relationships in our literary history.

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  • REVIEWS

    At Arm's Length

    The disgruntled professor who equates academic integrity with paucity of book sales and who is thereby convinced that the masses who follow the writings of C.S. Lewis must be a cult of sorts, will take a perverse delight in the publication of his...

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  • REVIEWS

    A Houdini of Time

    After seven years on public and private payrolls as senior editor of the King Papers Project, Clayborne Carson has finally produced the first volume of MLK's papers. The project began in 1984, and since 1986 has received a half-million dollars of...

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  • REVIEWS

    Wild About Harry—Again

    I was born in 1946, right in the middle of Harry Truman's accidental and tumultuous first term as President. I have no memory of the man until one early November morning in 1952, when my mother and grandmother were discussing the election of...

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  • REVIEWS

    Appalled by History

    For us to love our country, Burke somewhere wrote, our country must be beautiful. The sheer aesthetic ugliness of modern capitalistic civilization has been as much a reason for the revulsion against it on the part of poets, artists, and social...

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  • REVIEWS

    A Wilson for Our Times

    John Lukacs has observed that our century's two most significant revolutionaries were Lenin and Wilson. Of the two, according to Lukacs, the internationalist Lenin had less destructive influence in the long run than the democratic moralist but...

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  • REVIEWS

    Sinclair Lewis

    To the end, [Sinclair] Lewis stayed true to his time and his locality. He insisted, despite the naysaying of the folks who run things in this country, on the romance of the "Average Citizens of the United States."

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  • REVIEWS

    A Writer for All Seasons

    E.B. White described Henry David Thoreau, that thorny individualist, as a regular hair shirt of a man; and no matter how much we may like the Thoreau of Walden and his other writing, few of us could bear having him as a neighbor.

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  • REVIEWS

    A Very Private Person

    When Albert Jay Nock died in 1945, American civilization had known saner times. Having just conquered the world through the Final Deal of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the new colossus had a growing appetite, undaunted-by expanse or expense.

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  • REVIEWS

    Up From the Ashes

    He was unknown and disregarded during the whole of his short life and for years thereafter. But fortune relented. Gerard Manley Hopkins, dead for 30 years, was provided with an editor who had known, admired, and loved him and who had preserved...

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  • REVIEWS

    Miller's Tales

    There are any number of nasty diseases afoot to remind us of the consequences of the love-without-care platitudes Henry Miller committed to print and history. Anyone who still adheres to these ideas clearly has not been keeping up with the...

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  • REVIEWS

    Speaking of JFK

    That Presidents—chief magistrates of the nation—ought to possess solid character was taken for granted in the early Republic and for a long time thereafter. No longer is this the case.

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  • REVIEWS

    Something Amis

    There is nothing else like the careening prose of Sir Kingsley Amis. Somehow his syntax, his diction, and his tone have a way of collapsing in sync, so that the reader is left lurching in an air pocket of laughter.

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  • REVIEWS

    Moi, le Déluge

    "He was just five years old when Mattie Barry, seeking a fresh start in life, moved north with her son and two older daughters to Memphis. . . . Her husband had been killed a year earlier in Itta Bena.

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  • REVIEWS

    Divided Loyalties

    Graham Greene died this year at 86, a ripe old age that was no small accomplishment for a man who at 19 played Russian roulette on the Berkhamsted common until he grew bored with even the possibility of his own death.

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  • REVIEWS

    Visions and Revisions

    In his latest book, John Lukacs returns to some of the same territory that he covered in one of his finest works, The Last European War. Here he has concentrated on the critical period in which the Nazis conquered Western Europe and in which the...

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  • REVIEWS

    Cleaning Up

    This autobiography pretty much confirms the impression left by an occasional reading of Carl Rowan's columns over the years: a decent enough fellow, earnest but smug, amiable at times but given to portentous and endless scoldings about "hidden...

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  • REVIEWS

    Red Talk

    Robert Penn Warren (1905-1989) was, in the old expression, a man of parts, a complex intellectual who spent much of his adult life in northern universities, a Kentucky farm boy with the heart and soul of a Confederate gentleman.

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  • REVIEWS

    The Pathetic Individual

    Perfection of the life or perfection of the art? The imperatives of art being what they are, Yeats thought that the writer could not have both. With the completion of Richard R. Lingeman's two-volume biography of Theodore Dreiser, it seems...

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  • REVIEWS

    The Man Who Would Be King

    He called himself an "amateur barbarian," but his comrades in arms called him "that devil Burton" or, more often, "the white nigger." None of the epithets mattered much to their subject, for Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890), junior officer in...

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  • REVIEWS

    Only the Boring

    Generally speaking, fans of early rock and roll fall into two categories: those who want to hear Roy Orbison's "Only the Lonely" more than once a year, and those who don't—and I belong to the latter group.

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  • REVIEWS

    On the Road to Somewhere

    This book is mistitled, in the sense that Richard Nixon is the least interesting of the multivarious subjects covered herein. The author, of course, is not to blame for that fact; and perhaps it was modesty that kept him from perceiving where the...

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  • REVIEWS

    Death in Disguise

    The 1950's were the high point of D.H. Lawrence's critical reputation. In those days university English professors were keen teachers of Lawrence's message of "life" and emotional honesty, and he was a popular subject for undergraduate theses.

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  • REVIEWS

    A Musical Colossus

    Herbert von Karajan's sixty years of conducting have left their mark not only in the memories of generations of concertgoers, but in the holdings of record collectors all over the world.

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  • REVIEWS

    Homme Sérieux

    Kipling should be a fascinating subject for literary history. He was enormously gifted and successful, the child of a modest, nonconformist Anglo-Scot family that, besides producing him, also produced his cousin, the conservative prime minister...

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  • REVIEWS

    Poisoned at the Source

    When on January 3, 1949, Lyndon Baines Johnson of Texas was sworn in as a United States senator, an era in the politics of his state had come to an end, a period that had begun when Reconstruction concluded.

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  • REVIEWS

    The Age of Nixon

    This temperate and thorough book commences with a detailed description of President Nixon's activities on May 8 and 9, 1970, when thousands of young people had poured into Washington to protest the American expedition into Cambodia.

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  • REVIEWS

    Another Life of C.S. Lewis

    In 1949 Chad Walsh, at that time an obscure poet and literary critic at Beloit College in Wisconsin, published the first book on C.S. Lewis. Entitled C.S. Lewis: Apostle to the Sceptics, this long out-of-print volume is still one of the best...

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  • REVIEWS

    Hope Amid the Ruins

    It may possibly be a virtue to maintain a diary, and probably it is no sin to publish one. In the first case, the virtue is enhanced, in the second the potential for sin mitigated, by the diarist having been a regular and faithful one; and in...

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  • REVIEWS

    Nothing Out of Something

    Moving by fits and starts, this biography of the Southern novelist and wife of Allen Tate lacks focus and—ultimately—purpose. Veronica Makowsky's is a dull account of an inherently interesting subject.

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  • REVIEWS

    Pire qu'un Crime . . .

    The Pollard treason case is so unusual that I want to start my review of this book with a review of the reviews. I do this because the first-hand story by the Washington correspondent of The Jerusalem Post and the book's equivocal subtitle...

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  • REVIEWS

    Beyond All This

    Philip Larkin, who died in 1985 at the age of 63, has been commonly regarded as the finest English poet of his time. His reputation is founded not merely on the opinion of professional critics but on his remarkable popularity with readers,...

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  • REVIEWS

    Understand Me Completely

    Ordinary people, we are told, ordinarily speak in cliches, bromides, and dotty banalities, and it is the task of the literary artist, of the playwright in particular, to give them expressive and convincing words.

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  • REVIEWS

    All For Love

    With the publication of the first volume of an expanded edition of her letters in 1980, and now this biography, Mary Shelley's reputation is being reconsidered. This renewed attention is not due to the perennial interest in her husband, Percy...

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  • REVIEWS

    Good as Goldwyn

    The life of Schmuel Gelbfisz of Warsaw, Poland, who became Samuel Goldfish in Birmingham, England, and finally, in America, the one and only Samuel Goldwyn, can justly be taken as an old-fashioned fairy tale of magical transformation—sow's ear...

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  • REVIEWS

    The 31st President

    George Nash, though still in his early 40's, has become one of our most prolific American historians. His output consists of a seminal study of the postwar American Right, numerous essays on American conservatism, and since 1975 a multivolume...

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  • REVIEWS

    Catching the Wry

    According to Leon Edel, the art of biography is a "noble" endeavor. But in our celebrity-crazed era, when prurient interests have supplanted respect for artistic accomplishment, the most popular biographies are those emphasizing lurid details.

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  • REVIEWS

    Holding the Fort

    John Cardinal O'Connor, the distinguished and controversial head of the archdiocese of New York, has played an important role in affecting American politics, both inside and outside the Catholic Church.

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  • REVIEWS

    Old Possum in his Letters

    "I think one's letters ought to be X about oneself (I live up to this theory!)—what else is there to talk about? Letters should be indiscretions—otherwise they are simply official bulletins." So T.S. Eliot remarked to his Harvard classmate, the...

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  • REVIEWS

    Madness in Great Ones

    The American poet and man of letters John Berryman created in his half-memoir, half-short story "The Imaginary Jew" what is very likely the most powerfully compressed vision of vulgar, visceral racism in our literature.

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  • REVIEWS

    Intellectual Operator

    It is a distinct possibility that we leave to posterity writers and works from which the future curious will conclude that this century was the stupidest, most verbose and obscene, altogether the worst in the historical record.

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  • REVIEWS

    A Literary Proctology

    "My goal from the beginning," states Caldwell, "was to be a writer of fiction that revealed . . . the inner spirit of men and women as they responded to the joys of life and reacted to the sorrows of existence."

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  • REVIEWS

    Interpreting Burke

    Father Francis P. Canavan, S.J., with the publication of this his second book on Edmund Burke, clearly establishes himself as one of the most—if not the most—able interpreter of Burke's political philosophy.

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  • REVIEWS

    Saint William

    Saint William? A canonization has occurred without prior beatification. A still living and breathing William F. Buckley Jr. has been elevated to sainthood. And by whom? Not by the pope and not by Buckley's own flock, but by a man of the left.

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  • REVIEWS

    Play It Again, Alger

    After 40 years, Alger Hiss is still hard at it. Recollections of a Life, his second book, combines a pale, noncommittal account of Hiss's pre-1948 career as itinerant paperpusher (Justice Holmes, the New Deal, Yalta, the Carnegie Endowment) with...

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  • REVIEWS

    No Water in the Wine

    Stanley Jaki, a Catholic priest and a prolific historian of science, has produced a series of scholarly, at times plodding, essays derived from lectures he delivered at Notre Dame. It purports to be the first full treatment of Chesterton and...

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  • REVIEWS

    Revenge of the Nerd

    Shortly before Christmas 1984, Bernhard Hugo Goetz shot and seriously wounded four young men, passengers on a New York City subway train. Before he disappeared into the winter evening, Goetz told the conductor that the four had been trying to rob...

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  • REVIEWS

    Marilyn and Gloria

    One day in the early 70's, I read a magazine article in which Gloria Steinem was reported to have said that she would have no problem continuing her work as a writer should she ever have a baby—she'd do her writing when the baby napped.

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  • REVIEWS

    Journalists and Other Turncoats

    America's journalists enjoyed their finest hour during Vietnam—indulging in reporting that overwhelmed all objective presentation of American military action. A recent book about Robert Garwood by two former reporters for the Washington Star...

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  • Imported

    Jorge Luis Borges

    On September 27, 1983, the jury of The Ingersoll Foundation awarded the T. S. Eliot Award for Creative Writing To Jorge Luis Borges. The prize will be presented to Mr. Borges on December 8 at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Chicago, Illinois.

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  • Imported

    James Burnham

    On September 27, 1983, the jury of The Ingersoll Foundation awarded the Richard M. Weaver Award for Scholarly Letters to James Burnham. The prize will be presented to Mr. Burnham on December 8 at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Chicago, Illinois.

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