Michael Oakeshott’s Rationalism In Politics

I came to Michael Oakeshott by way of Ross Douthat, the New York Times‘ resident conservative writer, whose blog I admire and read regularly. The overwhelming reaction, of friends and family, upon learning that I have been reading Oakeshott, has […]

John O’Hara’s Appointment In Samarra

John O’Hara wrote Appointment In Samarra, his first novel, when he was my age now, 28 years old, completing it in a few short months, and though he would go on to be a prolific novelist and short story writer […]

Dylan Thomas’ Collected Poems

I had not realized, before I started research for this blog post, the extent to which Dylan Thomas influenced modern rock music. A longstanding rumour, both supported and denied by Bob Dylan, has it that the rocker took his adopted […]

Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost

Midway through his narrative history of the Belgian colonization of the Congo, King Leopold’s Ghost, author Adam Hochschild includes a series of black-and-white photos, taken by Christian missionaries, that live frighteningly in the mind. One shows a father, seated with slumped shoulders, […]

Ibn Warraq’s Why I Am Not A Muslim

The catalyst for the writing of Ibn Warraq’s dissident critique, Why I Am Not A Muslim, came in 1988, when Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for the death of British novelist Salman Rushdie. What has since euphemistically become […]

Bernard Malamud’s The Natural

There are, to my knowledge, two good indicators of the enduring legacy of Bernard Malamud’s first novel, The Natural. The first came in 1984, when it was adapted into a Hollywood film starring Robert Redford that still ranks among the […]

Merle Miller’s Plain Speaking: An Oral Biography Of Harry S. Truman

We are once again approaching the close of an American election season, distinguished for the utter disdain and distrust the citizenry have for both candidates. One applicant is thought to lie with every breath; the other is said to have […]

Adam Gopnik’s Paris To The Moon

In the fall of 1995, Adam Gopnik and his wife arrived in Paris, new-born son in tow, eager to explore one of the world’s most famous and romanticized cities. Gopnik, a New Yorker staff writer since the mid-’80s, succeeded in doing […]

Raymond Aron’s The Opium Of The Intellectuals

France in the aftermath of the Second World War was in ruins, both spiritually and physically. Nearly half a million buildings had been destroyed, with a greater number severely damaged; agricultural output was a fraction of what it had been […]

Roger Angell’s This Old Man

In a few short weeks, Roger Angell will turn 96. He no longer works as the fiction editor for the New Yorker, a position he held for the better part of a half-century, but he will forever be associated with […]