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Nation Topics - Books and the Arts

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It is a depressing rule for students of American political discourse that the more one happens to know about a given subject, the more amazing one finds the brazen ignorance that passes for publi

The United States never held a large number of direct colonies, a fact that has prompted many political leaders to declare it the great exception to colonialism.

"This is a story about a spy," writes Millicent Dillon in Harry Gold: A Novel.

"Making Choices" at MoMA

In Me, Myself & Irene, Jim Carrey bullies a series of small children, gets into senseless fights (on the grounds that "he started it") and reverts hungrily to breast-feeding.

William Randolph Hearst is one of those people we all know was very, very famous but are never quite sure why, or what we are to think of him.

At a quarter to 3 in the afternoon on March 14, 1883, one of the world's brainiest men, Karl Marx, ceased to think. He passed away peacefully in his favorite armchair.

Chinua Achebe

A revealing question: Why has V.S. Naipaul come to be much better known in the West than the great African writer Chinua Achebe?

The first thing I need to explain about Bruno Dumont's Humanité shouldn't have to be said at all. It's that the film is not a whodunit.

The role of the public intellectual--and the moral onus, assuming that one exists--seems ever to thread the Scylla of celebrity and the Charybdis of marginality.

Blogs

In honor of Labor Day, here’s a stab at the impossible task of naming the best songs ever written about working people.

August 29, 2014

In his new book, John Dean finally offers definitive answers to the questions “What did he know, and when did he know it?”
 

August 14, 2014

The quagmire of the Vietnam War was built on a “queasy foundation of fact and myth.”

July 31, 2014

"About nothing does the mob forget so quickly as about war."

July 28, 2014

Eric on this week's concerts and Reed on the media’s coverage of climate change. 

July 21, 2014

Reflections on the meaning of the French Revolution in the shadow of Adolf Hitler.

July 14, 2014

In fact, says theater director Anne Bogart, stories can be “fascistic.”

July 14, 2014

“Have you a city that smells worse than Akron?”

July 11, 2014

These ten songs, taken together, help distill the American experience and make clear both what’s great about the US and what still needs critical attention.

July 2, 2014

On the 25th anniversity of Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing," America needs to ask itself some hard questions.

June 30, 2014