The New York Review of Books

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A Dispatch from Our Correspondent

The New York Review’s April 29, 2021 issue includes Howard W. French’s review of three recent books about the decline of American global power, “Can America Remain Preeminent?” In it, French discusses the challenges facing the Biden administration after actions that “harmed America’s moral standing and weakened its global influence” during the Trump...

Who Will Answer for the Deliberate Child Cruelty?

When Merrick Garland arrived at the Justice Department on March 11 for his first day on the job as attorney general, he came with a politically unimpeachable but vaguely defined dual mandate—to renew the department’s commitment to the rule of law and to boost morale at the department. He had ably navigated his confirmation hearing, […]


The sight of one crossing my yard—all copper-zinc— in broad daylight, is etched on my eye. It’s mostly at night, though, when they snag a hapless deer, their voices are raised on high. No sooner do they corner a woodchuck or raccoon than their cover of “Ghost Riders in the Sky” resounds from here to […]

Dividends of a Just Economy

Ever since the early twentieth century, advocates of taming capitalism in the public interest have assumed that energized citizens and activist government could counter the power of concentrated wealth. The Progressive Era, in which legislation was enacted to constrain the robber barons of the time, was cut short by World War I. But after World […]

Eclipsed by Fame

The world’s first scientist-celebrity, Isaac Newton, was entombed in Westminster Abbey with high ceremony, alongside statesmen and royalty, under a monument ornately carved in white-and-gray marble, bearing a fulsome inscription in Latin: “Mortals rejoice that there has existed so great an ornament of the human race!” His fame had spread far across...

In the Act of Living

I was once taken to an event at the New School by Barbara Epstein and she introduced me to Janet Malcolm at the drinks party afterward. “I’ll never forget what you said about Anne Stevenson’s lasagne,” I said to Malcolm. “I’m not sure I said much,” she replied. “Oh, you did,” I said, with a […]

A Praise House of Many Mansions

Worn wooden benches were filled to capacity on a Sunday morning in Georgia. Men and women sat shoulder to shoulder, slowly rocking, trying to forget the heat that turned small southern churches into potters’ kilns. Wilted children in their Sunday best knew that misbehavior was not an option and bided their time. The rhythmic movement […]

Words and Other Violence

1. In a year-end roundup of “Four Books That Deserved More Attention in 2017,” the New Yorker critic James Wood, who had placed Jenny Erpenbeck’s Go, Went, Gone at the top of that list, offhandedly referred to the moment “when Erpenbeck wins the Nobel prize in a few years.” The tension between the critic’s high […]

‘What the Hell Can I Call Myself Except British?’

On October 24, 2017, Paulette Wilson was transferred from Britain’s Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre to London’s Heathrow Airport for deportation to Jamaica. It didn’t take long to pack; she was arrested at a regularly scheduled appointment at a government immigration center, and the clothes she was wearing were confiscated. She would make this...

No More Mother-Saviors

The Soviet Union gave feminism a bad name. Women played a significant part in the revolution, which promised universal child care, easy divorce, access to contraception and abortion, freedom from the shackles of housework, and total equality between the sexes. In 1919 the Bolshevik Party formed a Women’s Department, or Zhenotdel, that elaborated a new...

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