Tom Sleigh’s Space Walk

Tom Sleigh is an American poet, playwright, journalist and academic, the recipient of a Guggenheim grant, two National Endowment for the Arts grants, a John Updike Award, the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and the prestigious Shelley Award from the American […]

David McCullough’s John Adams

The historian David McCullough, famous for his opinion-shifting biography of Harry Truman, began the book that would become John Adams believing that he would write about both Adams and Thomas Jefferson, and was concerned that such a work would be doomed to […]

Mark Lilla’s The Shipwrecked Mind

If you wanted to find a modern moment that encapsulated the worst possible political future for the Western world, you could not do better than the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a group of neo-Nazis and white […]

Richard Wright’s Black Boy

Richard Wright was born in 1908 on a plantation in Mississippi, the grandson of two black Civil War veterans who fought for, and won, their freedom. By 1945, the year of the publication of his memoir Black Boy, the young Southern […]

Mark Lilla’s The Reckless Mind

In the wake of Donald Trump’s surprise election victory last year, when much of the nation was in a state of shell-shock, a Columbia University professor of history and political philosophy wrote a scathing indictment of contemporary liberalism in, of […]

Gore Vidal’s The Last Empire, Essays 1992-2000

For more than 50 years, Gore Vidal was the preeminent gadfly of the American left, operating across disciplines: as a novelist, essayist, playwright, actor, screenwriter and politician. Today he is perhaps most famous as a public intellectual whose various debates […]

Colm Tóibín’s Nora Webster

We all of us construct nightmare futures for ourselves, built of the fears that keep us up at night, and though these are no doubt highly personal, illustrative of who we are as individuals, surely one of the most common […]

Irving Layton’s A Wild Peculiar Joy

Irving Layton, perhaps Canada’s most acclaimed poet, was born Israel Pincu Lazarovitch, in Romania, to Jewish parents. Within a year of his birth, however, the entire family migrated to Montreal, in Catholic Quebec, creating the identity crisis that would shape him […]

Joby Warrick’s Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS

There is a wonderfully human moment recounted in the early pages of Joby Warrick’s Black Flags, a history of the terrorist group ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria): a would-be jihadist, sent into an adult movie theatre by his […]

Kenneth Slawenski’s J.D. Salinger: A Life

There is an Internet axiom known as the Streisand effect, which states that any attempt to hide, censor or prevent the spread of information or ideas inevitably ends up drawing greater attention to the subject in question. The tragedy of […]