Books & the Arts

Barry Jenkins’s American Saga

In The Underground Railroad, Jenkins focuses how people survived slavery rather than on its brutality.

Stephen Kearse

Where Would We Be Without the New Deal?

A new history charts the forgotten ways the social politics of the Roosevelt years transformed the United States.

Michael Kazin

What Happened to Andrew Cuomo?

Ross Barkan’s The Prince tracks how the son of a progressive New York governor transformed into one focused on one thing above all else: power.

Raina Lipsitz

From the Magazine

Why Do We Eat Bad Food?

Why Do We Eat Bad Food?

Mark Bittman’s new history looks at the economy and politics of junk food.

Bill McKibben
Brandon Taylor’s Potlucks and Parties

Brandon Taylor’s Potlucks and Parties

In his new collection of short stories, the Booker-Prize nominated novelist explores the desires and discontents of people living in small university towns. 

Jennifer Wilson
The Movement President

The Movement President

Did Ronald Reagan help launch a movement—or did a set of movements help launch him? 

Thomas Meaney

B&A Newsletter

Best of Books & the Arts

Mondays. A bi-weekly collection of the best of The Nation’s Books & the Arts section.

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Literary Criticism

Richard Wright’s Lost Novel

Richard Wright’s Lost Novel

In The Man Who Lived Underground, Wright offers a gothic tale of police violence and urban surrealism.

Elias Rodriques
Graham Greene’s God

Graham Greene’s God

As a new biography shows, the British novelist was always haunted by, and uncertain about, his own faith.

John Banville
Diane Johnson’s Homecoming

Diane Johnson’s Homecoming

In her new novel, the novelist returns to the United States to offer a self-conscious story of American fragmentation.

Becca Rothfeld

History & Politics

Ami Ayalon’s Political Journey

Ami Ayalon’s Political Journey

In Friendly Fire, the former Shin Bet director offers two narratives—one of the story that Israel tells the world, the other of the story Israel tries not to tell the world.

Raja Shehadeh
The Gilded Age’s Democratic Contradictions

The Gilded Age’s Democratic Contradictions

A new history examines how the late 19th century’s raucous party system gave way to a more sedate and exclusionary political culture that erected more and more barriers to participation.

Eric Foner
Telling the Story of Undocumented America

Telling the Story of Undocumented America

Using both journalism and visionary vignettes, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio examines undocumented life in contemporary United States.

Gaiutra Bahadur


The Burning of the Château d’Eau at the Palais-Royal

The Untold History of Freedom

A new book charts the tension between individual and collective notions of liberty.
Tyler Stovall

One of the more contentious issues to emerge during America’s Covid-19 crisis concerns the wearing of face masks. Heralded by public health experts as a vital way to halt the spread of the disease, masks have also been attacked by conservatives as unwarranted restrictions on personal freedom. Donald Trump, who… Continue Reading >

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Television and Films

The Surreal Pleasures of ‘The Masked Singer’

The Surreal Pleasures of ‘The Masked Singer’

By discarding all the tropes of standard reality TV, this singing competition allows viewers to revel in pure weirdness.

Erin Schwartz
Aziz Ansari

The Unfinished Evolution of Aziz Ansari

With the latest season of Master of None, the comedian and director’s attempt at a reboot of his creative approach reveals the limits of his perspective.

Vikram Murthi
Celine and Julie Go Boating

The Triumph of ‘Céline and Julie Go Boating’

Why Jacques Rivette’s 1974 film of female friendship and surrealism remains a masterpiece.

Kristen Yoonsoo Kim


Jhumpa Lahiri’s Quietly Bracing New Novel

Jhumpa Lahiri’s Quietly Bracing New Novel

How writing in Italian gave Lahiri a new sense of creative freedom.
Jennifer Wilson

The protagonist of Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Interpreter of Maladies,” the title story in her 1999 debut short story collection, is a multilingual tour guide named Mr. Kapasi who speaks, to varying degrees, English, French, Russian, Portuguese, Hindi, Bengali, Oriya, Gujarati, and Italian. One day, he drives a young Indian American couple… Continue Reading >


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