F. A. Hayek’s The Road To Serfdom

The 21st century began poorly for those who care about liberty. The September 11th attacks ushered in an era of paranoia and fear marked by warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detention and a state of near-permanent war. Worse still, cynical opportunists in […]

C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity

On November 22nd, 1963, John F. Kennedy was assassinated. On that same day, Alduos Huxley and C.S. Lewis breathed their last as well, but the media storm created by a presidential assassination all but obscured the deaths of these great […]

Zadie Smith’s NW

Zadie Smith’s latest novel NW, named for the postal code of the northwest London neighborhood in which it is set, follows the lives of four children of the fictional Garvey project buildings: Leah Hanwell, Felix Cooper, Keisha (renamed Natalie) Blake and […]

Lionel Trilling’s The Liberal Imagination

Lionel Trilling was one of the 20th century’s most influential critics, in a time when criticism was not relegated to academic purgatory but enjoyed widespread esteem. Before we bemoan the age of Internet and social media, cultish consumerism and the […]

Thomas Sowell’s A Conflict Of Visions

In his book The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial Of Human Nature, Steven Pinker praised Thomas Sowell’s A Conflict Of Visions as the best overview of divergent political philosophies yet provided. It is to Pinker I owe my discovery of Sowell, and to […]

Charles Dickens’ A Tale Of Two Cities

Dickens’ A Tale Of Two Cities begins and ends with some of the most famous lines in all of literature, ensuring that scarcely anyone over the age of maturity can expect to read it without at least some premonition as to its […]

Langston Hughes’ Selected Poems

Langston Hughes remains the most beloved and well-known poet of the Harlem Renaissance, a period spanning roughly from the end of the First World War to the beginning of the Great Depression. Hughes was concerned with promoting a positive black […]

John Barth’s Lost In The Funhouse

John Barth, like Donald Barthelme, is another writer whose influence has managed to outstrip his fame. Rightly acknowledged as a master of postmodernist fiction, he remains little read by the general public, probably because of his formal difficulty. And yet Lost […]

Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass

I first read Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass in 2005, on the 150th anniversary of its publication, and I must confess that it confused me unlike any poetic work I had yet read. Shakespeare, Tennyson, Keats, Poe – these were the poets […]

David Herbert Donald’s Lincoln

David Herbert Donald’s Lincoln, a one-volume biography of America’s 16th and most celebrated president, has been deservedly praised beyond what meager tribute I could hope to offer. I will content myself by saying that this book is a labor of love, […]