Books & the Arts

The Long and Terrifying History of the Blood Libel

A new history by Magda Teter tracks the spread of the pernicious myth and the role new technologies and communication tools played in its dissemination.

David Nirenberg

The Radical Origins of Self-Help Literature

How did the genre of self-help go from one focused on collective empowerment to one serving the class hierarchy as it stands?

Jennifer Wilson

The Liberal Establishment Is ‘a Stranger to Self-Examination’

A conversation with Pankaj Mishra about Biden’s closer-than-expected victory, the sterile state of mainstream intellectual culture, and his new book Bland Fanatics.

Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins

From the Magazine

How Did We Get Here?

Three new books by prominent liberal intellectuals—Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson’s Let Them Eat Tweets, Robert B. Reich’s The System, and Robert P. Saldin and Steven M. Teles’s Never Trump—give strikingly different answers.

Nicholas Lemann

Richard Hofstadter’s Discontents

Why did the historian come to fear the very movements he once would have celebrated?

Jeet Heer

The Supreme Court’s War on Equality

In Supreme Inequality, Adam Cohen offers a damning indictment of Supreme Court  jurisprudence, reminding us of just how political the country's highest court is. 

Randall Kennedy

Literary Criticism

Nicholson Baker’s Maddening Search for the Truth

Denied access to files about the use of biological weapons during the Cold War, the novelist transformed his new book into a study of how America keeps its secrets.

Charlie Savage

Claudia Rankine’s Dialogue With America

In Just Us, the poet offers a searing assessment of racism and loneliness in today’s America. But while she’s pessimistic about the present, she’s also hopeful about the future.

Elias Rodriques

Hari Kunzru’s Internet Thriller

Hari Kunzru’s ambitious new novel Red Pill plumbs the depth of right-wing and liberal ideas as it tracks one man’s descent into a web-induced mania. 

Kevin Lozano

History & Politics

The Inner Life of American Communism

Vivian Gornick’s and Jodi Dean’s books mine a lost history of comradeship, determination, and intimacy.

Corey Robin

Eric Posner’s Democracy for the Few

A conservative gadfly joins “the Resistance.”

Samuel Moyn

How Federal Housing Programs Failed Black America

In Race for Profit, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor shows how even those housing policies that sought to create more Black homeowners were stymied by racism and a determination to shrink the government’s presence.

Marcia Chatelain


Orlando Patterson and the Postcolonial Predicament

Out of the ruins of colonialism and empire, the sociologist insisted we could fashion a more egalitarian and liberated future.
Adom Getachew

When the socialist government of Michael Manley came to power in Jamaica in 1972, the charismatic new prime minister asked the up-and-coming Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson to become his special adviser for social policy and development. Only a decade after the country gained its independence from Britain, Jamaican voters elected… Continue Reading >

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Television and Films

The Perils of Creativity and Capitalism in ‘Tesla’

Michael Almereyda’s biopic of the eccentric inventor is a portrait of the tensions that arise when art and commerce intersect.

Vikram Murthi

The Many Lives of Catherine the Great

A new Hulu show presents the life of the Russian empress as a narrative of lean-in empowerment. But was it?

Sophie Pinkham

The Political Use and Misuse of ‘Mulan’

Each new adaptation says more about its own time and place than the story’s ancient setting.

Han Zhang


How Silicon Valley Broke the Economy

The question of how to fix the tech industry is now inseparable from the question of how to fix the system of capitalism that the late 20th century gave us.
Adrian Chen

One of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs’s most audacious marketing triumphs is rarely mentioned in the paeans to his genius that remain a staple of business content farms. In 1982, Jobs offered to donate a computer to every K–12 school in America, provided Congress pass a bill giving Apple substantial tax… Continue Reading >


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